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Hash It Out: Google Cloud Partner of the Year - Reflecting on Virtru & Google’s Journey

Air Date: May 7, 2024

In this episode of Hash It Out - Google's Vince Scheivert and Virtru's Matt Sack dive into Google's public sector initiatives, highlighting the strategic partnership with Virtru. Vince shares his journey from CIO/CTO roles to cybersecurity at Google Public Sector, an entity dedicated to US public sector needs. They discuss the evolution and importance of ISV partnerships, Google Cloud Marketplace innovations, and the significance of recent FedRAMP and impact level accreditations. Vince offers insights into navigating the ecosystem of ISVs, emphasizing the collaborative mission to enhance security and efficiency in the public sector. Tune in for an engaging conversation on tech, partnerships, and public sector advancements.

[SACK] Welcome to Hash It Out, everybody. Vince, how you doing?

[SCHEIVERT] I'm doing awesome, Matt. How are you, my guy?

[SACK] I'm doing great. I've been wanting to have this conversation with you for a while. You know, a lot of moving parts here with Virtru's Google partnership, and no better person, I think, to comment on that from the Google side, especially when it comes to public sector. So I really appreciate you joining here today, and I think it might be helpful for anyone else tuning in just to hear a little bit about your background and your current role at Google and where you're focused.

[SCHEIVERT] Yeah. So awesome. Kind of like on a second career here. Started out, put about fifteen years, maybe twenty years in as a school division CIO, CTO, across the mid Atlantic, PA, Virginia, etc. Transitioned out into cybersecurity in and around the, in and around the pandemic, and have since kinda moved over here to Google. At Google, I actually worked for, Google public sector. So if you're not aware, Google public sector is its own entity inside of Alphabet, that's specifically dedicated to the US public sector groups.

[SCHEIVERT] There are all kinds of legalities of how you have to be able to be who can work, who cannot work, who can be part of, from an engineering, sales, etcetera, perspective. So Google made a decision about two years ago to actually create this new company. So Google public sector, an entity unto itself. Our big brother is the Google Cloud company, and we work closely with them. But for this perspective, what I do over here at Google is I support awesome ISVs like Virtru who wanna be able to go to market and make an impact inside of the public sector.

[SACK] Awesome. So you joined Google Public Sector, I guess, right, when it was starting up.

[SCHEIVERT] Yeah. So our CEO, Karen DeHutt, refers to us all as founders. So we've kind of been here now for about a year and a half. We have probably grown by almost a thousand people in that time. So we were about two years old, and I've been here about a year and a half now.

[SACK] That is awesome. What, you know, I think we've definitely seen you guys grow just as an ISV partner. I think it'd be helpful too just to hear you articulate a bit, like, what the partner strategy is with regards to public sector and where you guys are focused now.

[SCHEIVERT] Yeah. You know, we internally, we describe it as one of the most well funded startups. And what we're continuing to see is a maturing of how Google supports the public sector. Where we are right now, is we see ISVs as absolutely critical to our overall success moving forward. We also are extremely dedicated to the mission of public sector. And that mission could be a locality in Michigan that just wants to do better for helping people get to the voting machines all the way up through our DOD customers who wanna keep the nation safe and the world safe. Whatever their mission is, that's our mission. And we see ISV partners like you helping to be able to keep information and data safe and secure.

[SACK] Yeah. I think one of the many things we love about partnering with Google is that focus you guys have when it comes to public sector. We have, as you know, a few thousand customers in that vertical and there definitely are some very unique things about how those companies do business, how they buy software. And so I think it's helped strengthen our partnership seeing that focus from Google. We as you know, thanks to you all, as you saw, we won two partner of the year awards, and they were both in public sector, one for government, one for education. Obviously, always love to bring up the fact that we've won awards, but would love to hear you just talk a bit about those partner of the year awards more broadly, kind of what you thought about in partners, you know, why you chose Virtru and maybe, you know, some advice out there for other partners who are starting their Google public sector journey or thinking about it and kind of what what you see as, made our partnership so successful.

[SCHEIVERT] Yeah. So we'll kinda back it up. I'll tell you why I nominated Virtru, and then I'll tell you, why.

[SACK] I thought it was just because you like us, but I You know what? Would love the real answer.

[SCHEIVERT] Thousand percent, like, hey. But, yeah, you're making an impact in an area to where we need it most. Google, forever and a day, Google Cloud has had Workspace. And we have had Workspace, and Workspace has evolved ridiculously over the last twenty years. Right? So today, we're serving Workspace serves, I think they said, like, three billion people a day. It's massive inside the EDU environment, and now it's making an ever growing presence inside of, state, local, and federal as an actual enterprise productivity suite. And that's been the biggest evolution of Workspace. So in order to be able to do that, Google's had gaps. We've had gaps with service side encryption, different pieces, and endpoint encryption. And that's really where you all were significant in helping fill gaps and reduce barriers for people being able to implement them. So we've had some very critical wins that we've been able to jointly have and Google's been able to secure, all primarily due to the help and support that you have provided from your protection capabilities.

[SACK] Awesome. Yeah. I mean, I think for us, it's a joy working with Google because we really feel the commitment you guys have when it comes to security and privacy. And we always tell our customers, we're like, Workspace is the most secure collaboration suite out there. So I think that the story really resonates here. And curious, like, so you've you came. You were on the customer side before. Right? I don't even know if I knew that.

[SCHEIVERT] I, I have had, more colleagues of mine who had been selling me technologies than ever before. So it's kind of funny to come full circle, especially now that I've tried to sell them goods and services to move their products over or help and support. But it's been a great cycle for sure.

[SACK] Yeah. I mean, it makes sense to me now that you have a lot of experience being on that buyer side because I think one area in which our procurement sales side has been made a lot more effective because of our Google partnership has been because of the Google Cloud Marketplace, GC Marketplace. And so I'd love to hear you talk a little bit more about that from your perspective, and I can share our experiences on the Virtru side because it's really been a game changer for us.

[SCHEIVERT] Google Marketplace has gone through an amazing transformation over the last twelve months. Prior to, prior to the changes, and we have a big announcement coming in a month from now. But prior to that, it would have been difficult for somebody that didn't already have a cloud commit to be able to buy, and it was almost impossible for people to buy when they needed stuff, based on state and local procurement laws. Google's first change that they made was in and around vendor agency. So Google previously had been the vendor of record if you were gonna buy something from marketplace. We made that switch because procurement offices saw that as a secondary buy. Meaning, if they had been buying from you and they wanted to buy from marketplace, then they had to buy you from marketplace.

[SACK] Right.

[SCHEIVERT] Which was Google. We've eliminated that. So essentially, in some ways, Google has the ability to act as a deployment capability or a fulfillment processor, but the agreement still stays between you and the entity.Or now it stays between you and your reseller and the entity. So as our localities and our states and our federal agencies have federal contracts that you've competitively bid and were bid by resellers like maybe Thundercat. They now have the ability to resell you through marketplace as well, where Google just helps with the fulfillment of you and your product until an end customer wants to be able to have a commit or sees the desire to have a commit. And at that point, they unlock all the benefits to being able to procure ISVs that way as well.

[SACK] Yeah. I mean, we're seeing the benefits for sure. I mean, it's making its just easier for us from a procurement standpoint to have those transactions go through Google Cloud Marketplace. And also our customers love it. Like, we're also I mean, we're a Google Cloud customer. We as you know well, we finished our migration in the end of last year. And we love Marketplace because we can buy the ISVs that we use to run our business through Marketplace and count that toward our own commit. So it's awesome to see it, and it's been fun to see how it's catching on in public sector.

[SCHEIVERT] Well and so the cool part that you're realizing is based on your commit with Google, you've negotiated or prenegotiated discounts on that commit that theoretically now carry over because they're the same dollars.

[SACK] Yeah.

[SCHEIVERT] They carry over to it. So not only are you drawing down in your commit, you're also picking up extra discount that you weren't previously. So that's the power of being able to leverage your commit. But, yeah, we've taken a lot of the friction out of it, and we're excited by the direction it's moving, and we plan to continue to make changes. The Google Marketplace team has been amazing, and just seeing the way they've been able to adapt and change, especially to the way our buyers buy. Right? In Google public sector, our buyers like local value added resellers to be part of the mix. They're looking for, you know, the Thundercats, the CDWs of the world to be able to provide that end goal service, and, and we now can, we now can enable it.

[SACK] Yeah. It's been really amazing to see. And I think, you know, another thing we've experienced as a customer and we see it from our customers is that the more folks start spending on Google Cloud and the more they start using it, typically what we're seeing is they start to realize a lot of things they didn't realize were capable on that platform. So even for us, it's a good entry point for customers and for us. So just really, you know, big props to you and the team for getting the product to where it is. I know we're running up on time. I know you're a busy guy. One last thing I'd love to hear your perspective on is just a lot of customers, I think it's hard for them to navigate the ecosystem of ISVs out there. And any kind of advice for folks who are looking to make the most out of Google Cloud and Workspace, trying to figure out which ISVs to plug in, and how to kind of evaluate that journey?


[SACK] Wanted to end with a really easy straightforward

[SCHEIVERT] You know, thanks for, like, a yes or no question.

[SACK] Yeah. You can just say yes. Yeah.

[SCHEIVERT] Yeah. So talk to your local resellers. If you don't know who your Google FSR is, whether it's commercial or public sec, ask and find out because they can help you navigate even if you end up not buying necessarily from Google or through Google or with Google, they could still help you make the most out of your overall environment. And sometimes we say that, you know, sometimes some of our best deals and most satisfied customers don't actually happen with us, because we didn't match up with their mission or their capability. Now, we would argue that we more than likely have a better service, but it doesn't necessarily always translate that way. But we have a massive ecosystem now. It's growing exponentially. Our entry into the old cloud market has happened dramatically. So as we look at our FedRAMP and our statuses and our impact level statuses, awesome that Google I'll just throw this plug out there.

[SCHEIVERT] It's awesome that Google received its secret and top secret accreditation.We're for those that know, it's impact level six accreditation probably about two weeks ago, and we're really excited about that. So we are continuously unlocking doors for both end customers as well as our ISV partners to really achieve the mission of any department agency, etc.

[SACK] Yeah. And I can add there with another plug that I think a misconception a lot of vendors have out there is that they cannot meet a lot of their FedRAMP requirements running on GCP, and Virtru is living proof that's not the case. So we have some pretty strict FedRAMP requirements as you can imagine, and we're satisfying all those on GCP. So just can echo the work you guys have done on the compliance front. So, yeah, excited for the journey ahead. Any last, you know, parting notes before we end this thing?

[SCHEIVERT] No. Just, wish everybody a great close of the year as it's kinda coming up, at least in the public sector. End of year close is happening. And let us know how we can help. We're here to help.

[SACK] Awesome. Well, thanks for the time, Vince. Thanks to you and your team for the partnership, and look forward to continuing on this journey together. You got it. I will. See you.

Enjoy a coffee on Virtru!

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