Earlier this year Armissupplier of cybersecurity specialized in Asset Intelligence, has announced its entry into the Italian market with a direct subsidiary, entrusted to Nicola Altavilla in the role of Country Manager Italy (in the picture).
Founded in 2015, Armis defines itself as a solution provider with complete visibility, vulnerability detection and risk management functions for enterprise IT, medical (IoMT), and industrial (OT, ICS, IoT and IIoT) devices. Proposed solutions such as cloud services through an indirect channel of certified partners.
Altavilla has over thirty years of experience in IT with previous positions in SentinelOne, Juniper Networks, Cisco, Telecom Italia and IBM. We talked with him about Armis’ strategies to develop the Italian market and the partner channel.
How does Armis differ in the cybersecurity market?
Armis is a very young company, born in 2015 in Tel Aviv but for financial reasons – we are not yet listed on the stock exchange and we are backed by American funds – the headquarters are in Silicon Valley, in Palo Alto.
The cybersecurity market is very large and includes very crowded segments, such as endpoint security and EDR. But the one in which Armis operates – asset intelligence – does not have many active players. Sometimes we are confused with vendors that do network detection, or network access and control. But in reality, our main competitors are two: one that does industrial asset inventory and one that does medical device asset inventory. They are extremely focused on their respective fields and offer mainly on-premise solutions.
Armis, on the other hand, has a 100% cloud based solution, with a database of 3 billion devices surveyed on the cloud, rapidly growing: since I joined the company in December 2021, it has tripled. This helps us in many negotiations, because when we start an asset inventory we are practically sure that we already have the affected devices in the database, and the detection of anomalous behavior of the devices is easier.
Another strong point is that our solution is agent-less, non-invasive on the customer’s network. This allows complete coverage both on the IoT enterprise part – IP phones, servers, PCs – therefore “managed” systems, and on the whole industrial and medical part, therefore sensors, medical devices, on which no software can be put without compromising certifications.
How is Armis organized in Italy?
We already have a well-organized structure, which covers all the main functions necessary to oversee the market: the technical and commercial part, channel management, sales support, business development. And we are continuing to seek and hire. Taking into account that we have only been open for eight months, we are growing significantly, also from the point of view of the number of customers won, and this has been appreciated by the corporate that is investing in Italy.
At what point is the structuring of the channel in Italy?
Arms’ technology has aroused a lot of interest in the channel. We have a distributor, Icos, which is very lean and specializes in the cybersecurity sector. A distributor for our business model is more than enough. And then we have nearly 30 partners, obviously some very active and autonomous, others less so. We didn’t struggle to find them, in some cases it was they who looked for us, in others it was enough to contact them to have a chance to learn more. It is essential that in our segment – asset inventory – the partner only offers Armis, and that it is autonomous.CopyAMP code.
L’autonomy of the partner it is very important. At the beginning he has to offer Armis to the customers he already has: for us it is entering a prospect, for the partner it is upselling, and it is an investment that then has a return. In fact, when it is certified, it will begin to receive opportunities from us: in our indirect business model we have teams that work precisely on this. And in this activity we favor the most autonomous partners, because in this way the process proceeds in the most fluid way and does not come back on us creating bottlenecks.
Italy has an extremely fragmented and dispersed fabric of user companies throughout the territory, so we are looking for two types: partners with a sales structure that covers the entire national territory, and partners focused on one or two regions. The recruitment activity is still in progress, there are partners who immediately embrace technology and are commercially autonomous, and others with a more tactical and opportunistic approach, and then we have territories not covered at best.
What is your target in Italy?
We work on medium and large companies and on public administration, generally not on very small companies. Our licensing is based on the number of end users, or even on the number of sites, and we are available to partialize the solution. For example, in a hospital we can limit the asset inventory to the clinical part without involving the enterprise one.
We work on all vertical sectors. The need for asset inventory is transversal to all sectors: the national cybersecurity framework requires all companies and public bodies to have a continuously updated asset inventory system, both for security reasons but also to make purchases of IT assets.
Another strong point is integration with the systems of many vendorsr, for example the main vendors of firewalls, EDR systems, SIEM, SOAR, digital workflow, for which the detections of our solutions can trigger automatic actions in customer systems.
Can you give references in Italy?
I cannot name Italian clients because I have not yet had the relevant permits. I can say that after only eight months of work we already have references in every vertical sector, including the PA. I can add that in our commercial proposition the POCs, Proof of Concept, are a fundamental element, and when we manage to carry out a POC the success rate is 80%. It is an expensive step for us, but often a winning one.