Websense Hires RSA Executive To Run Global Channels


Websense, a San Diego-based maker of Web security gateways, hired away a veteran channel executive from RSA, the security division of EMC, to run its global channel operations.

Websense said Wednesday that it named Shawn Pearson as its new vice president of worldwide channel sales. Pearson has served as senior director of Americas inside sales and channels at RSA for the past three years.

Overall, Pearson spent 17 years at EMC, having served as head of global channel productivity and director of distribution and national accounts. He launched EMC's Velocity partner program in 2000 and its accreditation program, which was adopted by more than 1,000 partners globally.

[Related: Black Hat 2013: 14 Security Firms That Piqued Hackers' Interest]

Pearson moved from EMC to its RSA security division in 2010, serving as senior director of Americas channel and inside sales. He oversaw the SecurWorld partner program for both North and Latin America.

RSA channel chief William Taylor, who worked with Pearson for nearly 20 years, called him a "solid guy," who was always looking for the next big challenge. He transitioned to RSA from EMC because he was seeking more responsibility and an opportunity to bolster channel sales, Taylor said.

"It's all about fundamentals and mechanics and he does extremely well," Taylor told CRN. "I'm sure he will be wildly successful and we wish him well."

In a statement, Websense CEO John McCormack said Pearson would help drive Websense's global channel sales and enhance adoption of Websense's Triton security gateway. Triton brings together the company's flagship Web Security Gateway for content filtering and antimalware protection with its data leakage prevention suite and email security. The company has been pushing its new line of appliances and its cloud-based Web security gateway.

"His proven track record of channel transformation and partner success makes him a valuable asset to our growing channel team," McCormack said. "I look forward to working with him to expand our global partner base across verticals and drive incremental revenue throughout the channel."

Websense was acquired in May by Austin, Texas-based private equity firm Vista Equity Partners. Since the acquisition, the company has retained its senior management and is continuing to run its operations from its headquarters in San Diego.

Websense has strong market penetration with its Web content filtering technology, but it has been struggling to compete in the DLP market, say security analysts, because many businesses have been evaluating lower-cost alternatives from Symantec, McAfee, Sophos and Dell-owned Credant Technologies.

The company also has been under pressure from the growing interest in next-generation firewall appliances and intrusion prevention systems that provide some of the same functionality, said Steven Cohen, president of Toronto-based SentryMetrics, a Websense partner. Cohen said that despite Websense's strong technology, he has watched longtime Websense customers transition to lower-cost alternatives or get similar functionality out of other security appliances.

"They found Websense very costly and just aren't getting value for that cost," Cohen said. "One option may be for Websense to stop being the lone vendor and embed the technology with other partner organizations."

PUBLISHED AUG. 7, 2013