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How to work on working together: Barracuda and Microsoft put the effort in to make the most out of their partnership

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The evolution of modern security

During the early days of cloud computing, organizations harbored concerns about the security and reliability of their data. The flexibilities and innovations cloud computing provided came with new security risks, concerns, and questions. Where is my data going? What is my provider doing to secure my data? Customers needed to be confident that their cloud provider cared as deeply about the security of their data and the reliability of their workloads as they cared themselves. Barracuda modeled their security solutions with Azure in mind.

“We started early with Azure and have worked with it since it was in incubation. Even back then, from a security perspective, it was about the shared responsibility model. Customers ensure the security of their applications in the cloud while Microsoft addressed the security of the cloud.

“With 22 datacenters now online in 30 different regions, the reliability and security of the Azure cloud is constantly improving. With that, however, security concerns shift to the applications developed in the cloud—the customer side of the shared responsibility security model.”—Nicole Napiltonia, VP of Alliances at Barracuda.

Barracuda anticipated the need for application security during the early stages of Azure adoption. Acquiring and perfecting two enterprise-class firewall solutions positioned them as an ideal partner who, when paired with the innate security functionality within Azure, could extend security and control to applications customers were developing in their Azure environments.

When Barracuda is involved in an engagement, they shift the narrative around shared security responsibility—the customer leverages Barracuda’s solutions to quickly and simply handle security in the cloud, while Microsoft effectively handles the security of the cloud itself.

The concern has shifted to security surrounding applications developed in the cloud – the customer side of the shared responsibility security model.

- Nicole Napiltonia, Barracuda

This approach, while particularly important to customers operating in spaces with data security concerns such as healthcare and government, is not unique to any one vertical.

“With anything you lay on top of Azure you are going to need a web-facing firewall and that is where we plug in for our customers.

For our public sector customers, we can help drive compliance with the regulations that industry demands, but we can come in and add value for any customer deploying applications in the cloud.”—Nicole Napiltonia, VP of Alliances at Barracuda

Barracuda, with a background working intimately with smaller customers, designs its security solutions to be deployed quickly and managed simply. In doing so, they eliminate significant management overhead for customers just getting their feet wet deploying Azure applications in the cloud—regardless of their size.

Customer acquisition and the power of partnering with Microsoft

When healthcare customer Mt. Sinai began developing mobile applications to collect patient data, they knew that security was of paramount importance. When dealing with patient data, and complying with HIPAA regulations and guidelines, there is an extra layer of security to consider, which required a firewall implemented by a partner. Mt. Sinai didn’t reach out right to Barracuda right away—first they tried another vendor with whom they had a prior relationship.

The complexity of the engagement was heightened since Mt. Sinai had just begun moving data and workloads to Azure. While their first partner attempted to implement a web application firewall in one of their physical datacenters, they struggled in the implementation and the ultimate solution required significant management overhead.

Finding that there was significant administrative overhead and complications to deploying the firewall, Mt. Sinai never fully implemented the solution. Instead, they looked to move the application to Azure, and went to Barracuda for help—on the strength of a glowing recommendation from Microsoft. The result: a successful and fully compliant application secured by Barracuda’s firewall while maintaining high performance.

Unlocking the value of Azure for customers

For Azure customers, Barracuda’s solutions are a gateway for unlocking the true value of customer’s Azure subscriptions. Customers are looking to make the next step in developing applications within and delivered with Azure, and application delivery forms a key component to this story. Barracuda’s experience with small, nimble deployments plugs right in with enterprise customers looking to cautiously expand the role Azure plays within their organizations.

“We have found with our larger customers developing applications on Azure, that they are hesitant to make big jumps into Azure all at once. They start small—working on a single application, which works great for our organization and theirs given our background working with smaller customers. Once they have started deploying applications in Azure secured with Barracuda’s firewall, we find that the engagements start to have a mushroom effect [where Azure consumption increases very rapidly across the organization].

Once the customer starts using Azure and taking advantage of the value it offers them, the rest is magical.” – Nicole Napiltonia, VP of Alliances at Barracuda

By dealing with the security aspect of deploying applications in Azure, Barracuda unlocks new value for customer’s Azure subscriptions, driving consumption and precipitating further engagement.

The value of Gold and getting the most from your Microsoft partnership

“Our status as a Gold partner and as a partner of the year award winner just adds to our credibility with our customers.” – Nicole Napiltonia, VP of Alliances at Barracuda

Barracuda derives real value from their Microsoft partnership—and this is no accident. Both their Gold competency status and Partner of the Year recognitions are summations of the work the organization puts into their Microsoft partnership.

Barracuda understands that for customers looking to develop and secure applications in Azure, a Microsoft platform, it pays to turn to a partner Microsoft trusts and celebrates.

“When working with security, customers want to know that they are working with a respected and trusted partner who knows the product—being a Microsoft Gold Partner and Partner of the Year award winner tells customers that we can be trusted, that we are aligned with Microsoft’s security message, and that they can be confident their application deployment security will be handled with the same care as their data.” – Nicole Napiltonia, VP of Alliances at Barracuda These accolades don’t come easily—nor should they.

When asked how Barracuda has remained so aligned with Microsoft’s technology and GTM strategies over the years, Napiltonia implied that there are no shortcuts, saying that “partners need to be willing to put the work in to see the benefits a strong partnership with Microsoft can provide. The magic happens in the heavy lifting and you can’t skip any steps.

Our status as a Gold partner and as a partner of the year award winner just adds to our credibility with our customers.

- Nicole Napiltonia, Barracuda

“You need your people engaged hand-in-hand alongside the field. You need to attend the large events—every year we go to WPC, MGX, S4 and S7 as well as all of the regional kick-offs. We sponsor events whenever we can. We have been to over 40 events in North America in 2016 alone and that number is even higher in EMEA."

Become solution experts

While events provide opportunities to align your organization’s messaging and GTM strategy with Microsoft’s key priorities, the value of partnering waxes full when extended to the individuals within the organization—with resources who know the product, know the environment, better than anyone.

“Part of what makes our partnership with Microsoft so strong is what some Microsoft sellers refer to as the Barracuda effect. MS sellers know they can get great turnaround when they bring us in on engagements.

“Many of these engagements are partner led—so for Microsoft sellers, trust is important, there is nothing worse than ceding control to a partner to lead an engagement only to have them drop the ball.

“We have a cloud specialist team that overlays the rest of our organization and knows Azure better or as well as anyone else—along with expansive security and networking background.”—Nicole Napiltonia, VP of Alliances at Barracuda

With a dedicated team committed to understanding Azure engagements inside and out, Barracuda positions itself as a trusted advisor with both the customer and Microsoft resources—instilling confidence in the customer that their applications and data are protected and secure, and confidence in Microsoft that the customer’s needs will be addressed quickly and effectively—and will likely precipitate more work in the future.

The work Barracuda does to drive Azure consumption, encouraging customers to maximize the value Azure brings to their organization takes the story of Microsoft’s and Barracuda’s partnership full circle, with Barracuda greasing the wheels on future deals, further encouraging the Microsoft sales team to involve them in engagements and allowing both companies to flourish while providing tremendous value for the customer.

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