Webroot's Tomeo Takes Channel Chief Role

SaaS security firm Webroot likely has a bit more direction after naming Charles Tomeo as vice president of worldwide channels and technical sales, heralding a rejuvenated channel focus for the year ahead.

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SaaS security firm Webroot Inc. is revving for a possible product expansion and new channel direction after appointing Charles Tomeo as vice president of worldwide channels and technical sales. Tomeo will be tasked with  driving strategy and execution for worldwide channels in the company's business segment.

But it’s a double role for Tomeo, who is maintaining his current position managing the worldwide systems engineering team, training and services across the firm's business, consumer and strategy alliance market segments. Executives, however, say his tenure at the company gives him a natural advantage because of familiarity and channel relations experience.

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"As one of Webroot's longest tenured employees, he is intimately familiar with the technical and business nuances of our offering portfolio and how best to position our solutions with customers and partners, which will prove invaluable as we build our channel," said Dick Williams, Webroot CEO. "Charles is recognized within the company as one of our strongest managers and leaders – all of which are showcased through the quality of the teams he has developed over the years."

Tomeo brings to his new role around 20 years of experience -- eight of which were gained at Webroot -- and extensive knowledge of endpoint and Web systems as well as experience engaging partners and end-customers from pre-sale to post-sale endeavors.

Prior to helming channels for Webroot, Tomeo served as senior director of worldwide systems engineers, professional services and training.Before coming on board Webroot, Tomeo held the position as senior systems engineer at Web security firm Finjan Software, acquired by M86 Security in 2009. He also worked as an assistant vice president of IT in the private client group at Merrill Lynch.

Now, in his new role, some of his first priorities will be to build out the firm’s enterprise and business offerings while catering to rising market demand for more comprehensive security intelligence-based solutions.

While Webroot has previously made its mark in threat intelligence arenas, it faces stiff competition from Trend Micro Inc.,  Websense Inc. and even PC manufacturer Dell  -- larger firms that have all wagered bets in the burgeoning threat intelligence market.

But new product investments will also likely extend to the mobile space. Webroot paved the way last week by partnering with enterprise mobility firm SOTI, which raised the security firm’s profile and gave it greater traction in mobility markets.

Meanwhile, in recent months the firm had been slowly putting its foot on the accelerator with a renewed channel focus. In December Webroot expanded its endpoint channel program to include MSPs, a move clearly made in an effort to bolster managed service business and further gain credibility in related markets.

The security firm contends that it has captured the number two position in the retail security software market, holding the lion's share at 31 percent. But in enterprise circles, Webroot remains a smaller player, often dwarfed by larger firms such as Trend Micro and Kaspersky Lab ZAO that have retained their status amid the top five global endpoint security firms. Trend Micro, in particular, was able to achieve a strong competitive advantage by jumping on board cloud and service offerings early on, leaving others – including Webroot – to play catch up.

But starting out the New Year with revised programs and refreshed channel leadership indicates that the company is serious about ramping up its presence, which will give it more leverage when going up against larger industry competitors in the intelligence space. Going forward, that means channel partners will want to keep an eye on future channel investments with interest in the year to come.

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