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Interview: Q&A with Delinea Chief Marketing Officer, Chris Smith


In this conversation, we hear from Chris Smith, Chief Marketing Officer of Delinea, about the company’s recent rebranding, how marketing and IT can partner effectively, and the challenges of a changing privileged access management (PAM) industry. Chris shares a behind-the-scenes perspective on bringing Thycotic and Centrify together and insights into what customers can expect from Delinea.   

Q: You’ve just completed a major milestone in the merger of Thycotic and Centrify: rebranding as Delinea, with a new website, logo, and all the rest. Why was it so important to rename the company?   

A: Both the Thycotic and Centrify names were known and respected. But, we wanted to signify that bringing these companies together wasn’t just collecting a bunch of different products and people that operate independently. We wanted to underscore that the new company is operating as one integrated organization and solution suite. Also, let’s face it: “ThycoticCentrify” didn’t exactly roll off the tongue. We wanted a name that is memorable and unique, one that sets us apart in a market where too often vendors sound the same. 

Q: What's the meaning behind the name "Delinea"?   

A: Delinea comes from the word “delineate.” Delinea helps you create a border or a boundary around your most sensitive, critical systems to protect them. While the old world of the firewall, the network perimeter, has gone away, we still need ways to delineate between trusted users and systems, and those that shouldn’t be trusted. More specifically, we need to define appropriate levels of privileged access to reduce risk.   

We still need ways to delineate between trusted users and systems

Q: How does the new brand reflect the culture and personality of Delinea?   

A: In addition to the new name, we spent a lot of time in the rebranding process thinking about this question. We wanted the new brand to reflect the type of values and behaviors the people who work here share. When you ask employees what it’s like to work here, or you ask Delinea customers and partners about what it’s like to interact with us, three things come up:   

Nimble: This place moves fast. Even as we get larger, we stay agile, because customer needs are always changing and cyberattackers are getting smarter and faster as well. People are empowered to make decisions that help the customer and seize new opportunities to innovate.   

Spirited: There’s an energy at Delinea, even with a team that’s distributed all over the world. People are passionate about what they do and the impact they make.   

Transparent: Cybersecurity can get extremely complex. Stakeholders want as much information as possible, but too much information can be overwhelming. We work very hard to communicate clearly and honestly, so customers can make decisions and take control of their own journey. Internally, anyone at any time can see where the team is in their progress. This keeps our status honest and ensures we can course-correct quickly when needed.   

Q: You started working with Thycotic back in 2018. Since that time, how have you seen the customer decision-making process change?    

A: Absolutely. Companies are much more aware of the need for PAM than they were four or five years ago. Those that were just starting to adopt password management back then are now using much more sophisticated strategies, layering defenses, and incorporating more granular, just-in-time controls. 

The pandemic has been a major driver of remote access solutions. Ransomware is top of mind for all types of organizations now. As a result, companies are making decisions to adopt PAM much more quickly than they were years ago. 

Customers are prioritizing cloud-ready PAM

Also, because IT environments have moved rapidly to hybrid cloud, customers are prioritizing cloud-ready PAM. They are more likely to prefer PAM-as-a-service to protect systems that reside in the cloud.   

Q: Based on those changes, how have your marketing strategies changed?   

A: We’re spending less time building awareness of the need for PAM. People now get it. Branding is actually a small percentage of what we do. We see our role as helping customers make the best possible decisions to meet their goals. Most of our resources are dedicated to creating content to help our customers solve problems, use our solutions most effectively, and communicate their success.   

Q: Marketing teams increasingly hold the purse strings for technology purchases. How do you think IT and security teams should work with marketing to reduce risk?  

A: Teamwork between marketing, IT, and security is very important to reduce risk. The vast majority of MarTech systems are SaaS-based and often are chosen, bought, and paid for by the marketing team without any IT oversight. Sprawl is a big issue. Many marketing shops are shocked to find out how many tools they have. 

Solutions like application control provide protections because they check apps against lists of known threats. Also, having single sign-on with our PAM tools lets my marketing team log into systems easily while it automatically checks their credentials and confirms their level of access against policies. Just as IT is keeping pace with developers and other fast-moving teams with security controls, it’s critical to enable marketers to do their jobs effectively and securely. 

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