Last week Netskope was awarded the “Cloud Services Vendor Of The Year” trophy at the UK’s CRN Awards. It is the second award we have won for our efforts in the UK channel this year – earlier in the summer we took home CRN’s “Technology Innovation” gong as well.
Now that the dust has settled—and before we get on with doing the work that earns us this sort of recognition—I wanted to pause and capture what the awards set out to acknowledge, and why we won.
First up; why this category? I was asked this a lot during the course of the awards evening. There was, after all, also a category for Security Vendor Of The Year. I like to think we would have competed hard in that category too, had we thrown our hat into the ring, but we took a different approach. Yes, we are absolutely focused on securing our customers’ data, and security is in our DNA. We work closely with CISOs and enterprise security teams, providing best-in-class security products to address exactly these needs. But we also work with CIOs and network and infrastructure teams, and for our customers, the work they do with us goes far beyond clearly defined security projects. Boldly, we chose to enter a broader category, seeking recognition for the support we give to partners and customers in broad cloud, data, security and networking transformation projects.
A decade ago, Netskope was founded with a recognition that cloud would take hold in the enterprise a lot faster than most people thought. The average enterprise now has more than 1,000 cloud apps in use across the business. We also knew that cloud adoption on this scale would mean that it wasn’t being driven entirely by the IT team, and our data shows that today, more than 95% of cloud apps are “shadow” or business IT. So the first milestone in our technical vision was to help organisations to secure that cloud estate.
We wanted to secure the cloud.
But we also knew that if the applications and data were going to move into the cloud, then services that were traditionally delivered via appliances sitting in data centres (web proxies, firewalls, and VPNs) would become a networking liability. Hairpinning and backhauling cloud traffic to a data centre just to perform security functions would make no sense (and cost a lot). Enterprises needed to re-architect security to move it, too, into the cloud.
We wanted security to go cloud native.
And to deliver these cloud native security services, we needed to invest significantly in our own global private cloud infrastructure. This would ensure that the new cloud-native security would not add to the perennial trade offs between user experience and security. A powerful private cloud would actually improve user experience, reducing latency with direct peering connections to all the major cloud services.
We wanted to improve the cloud.
And yet still we planned more. The moment you acknowledge the importance of building private cloud infrastructure to deliver cloud security, you immediately see that it is also important to optimise access to that infrastructure. This is when we realised that helping organisations connect their people to the cloud—wherever they are—needed to be part of what we did. SD-WAN had to be part of the Netskope picture.
We wanted to integrate cloud access and security.
And so here we are today. Somewhere along the way, Gartner coined a term for what we were up to; Secure access service edge (SASE). It would be made up of security service edge (SSE) plus SD-WAN, perfectly matching what we were building. Gartner’s first SSE Magic Quadrant put us firmly in the leaders box, and since we have added Borderless SD-WAN to our platform we were also recently featured in the analyst’s first single-vendor SASE Market Guide.
So that’s why we aimed to be crowned the Cloud Services Vendor Of The Year.
And why did we win? Well the judges said we submitted…
“An entry that not only answered every question the judges had, but was packed with stats, testimonials and personality by the bucketload. A highly entered category, but there is only one standout winner. The winner of cloud services vendor of the year is….NETSKOPE!”
And here are just a couple of examples of the kinds of things our partners say about us.
Gerard Allison, SVP, Exclusive Networks; “We have seen significant demand for Netskope from our partner community across the region. It’s rare for a vendor’s vision and technology to drive the market, but analysts at 650 Group forecast that the SASE market will grow by 500 per cent between 2020 and 2025, and Netskope has the most complete SASE and zero trust platform in the market. This growth opportunity is exactly what our partners want us to help them capitalise on.”
Paul Richards, Co-Founder, EveryCloud commented; “Gartner’s predictions for the evolution of the security market in the coming years have a significant impact on our business, shaking up revenue streams and predicting new expectations from our customers. Our customers have all embraced the cloud and need to protect their data regardless of location. We agree with Gartner’s predictions and have a significant head start in being able to capitalise from these industry changes because we work with Netskope who has been building its market leading SSE solution since long before Gartner started predicting the trend and launching the acronym.”
So, all that is left for me to say is a huge thank you; to our partners, and to all my colleagues. Now, enough of the basking in glory—better get on with making sure we continue to strive for the best!