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Hash It Out - Virtru's Migration to Google Cloud: A GTM Strategy Focused on Customer Value

Air Date: March 14, 2024


In this engaging episode of Hash It Out, Virtru’s Matt Sack, Business Development Manager and Google's Austin McCracken, Account Executive, Google Cloud dive into the partnership between Virtru and Google Cloud. McCracken shares insights on Google's mission to become the default cloud for founders and startups across all stages. He highlights Google's embrace of open source, customer choice, and multi-cloud operability as core tenets aligning with Virtru's data-centric approach to data privacy. Together, Sack and McCracken discuss the benefits of Virtru migrating to Google Cloud, from engineering advantages like containerization and AI/ML capabilities, to go-to-market wins through the Google Cloud Marketplace. They discuss how marketplace integration streamlines procurement and burndown commitments, and unlocks co-selling opportunities. Grab a cup of coffee (on Virtru!) and listen to how Virtru and Google have strengthened their partnership.

Welcome to Hash It Out, everybody.Thank you for joining us today. I am Matt Sack, our Google partnership lead here at Virtru. Joined by good friend Austin McCracken from Google, and we're gonna have a casual chat today about some of the work that our companies have been doing together, and where this partnership's going. So Austin, good to see you, man. Happy Pie Day, by the way. I feel like we should be eating pie or something.

Hey, Matt. Oh, definitely.Yeah. Good to have you here.Yeah. Thanks for having me. Super excited to talk about everything we're doing with our partnership. And, most importantly, happy pie day. He just mentioned there's gonna be a pizza party in the Virtru office. I need to get over there as soon as this ends. Get some of that.

You know you're always welcome there. And, it's awesome that I'm excited that we're having this conversation just because our Google partnership has been really, like, ten plus years in the making, and it's been, from my end, really exciting to watch Google's growth.As we at Virtru have grown our company as well.

So excited to dive in a bit more into what we've done together with our recent migration from AWS over to Google Cloud, but thought it'd be helpful to start just by hearing a little bit more about your background. I know you've been at Google for a while, and where you're focused on currently because that played a big part, that strategy that I think you're really familiar with and have been building that's a big reason why we made that migration. So we'd love to just hear a little bit more background from you to start things off.

Yeah. Absolutely. So I've been at Google for coming up on five years now, just shy. And to your point, Matt, all five years that I've been in Google Cloud has been focused in the part of our business. That's our startup segment.

So hyper focused on early to late late stage startups and trying to be, you know, more than just a point solution vendor or or or just that vendor relationship, really trying to get deep in the business, partner with founders, and Google has made some massive investments in this startup ecosystem, particularly in the last year or two since our our leader Darren Morey has come on board. And his mission has been very clear. Right?

We want Google Cloud to be the default cloud for every founder and every startup regardless of stage. So it's been really exciting to work with startups like yourself, like Virtru, who, you know, you guys have an incredible story, incredible background with Google, which I know we'll get into. But, yeah, from my focus and what our team does, hyper focused on startups, partnering on both the technical business go to market, lens end to end and really trying to make them be successful via Google cloud technologies.

Yeah. I mean, that makes a lot of sense to me that you're targeting these startups. I guess the idea is that as they start to grow, they then become these hyperscalers, these much bigger organizations who are spending a lot on Google Cloud Services. I would imagine on the workspace side, like, we think we're kind of interesting because when we started our company at Virtru, I mean, we were using Workspace from day one. We've always been a Workspace customer.

But as you know, we started building our backend on AWS. Are you seeing most of these startups? Are they following similar path with regards to Workspace or what's it what's it kinda look like there? Because I would think nowadays, in particular, if you're starting a company I would assume you're using some form of Google Cloud, whether it's Workspace or not, but what do you typically see with most startups or most growth stage companies at this point?

Yeah. So it's funny you mentioned that, Matt. We all know, right, AWS had a first to market, huge at first mover advantage. Right?

And So we definitely saw a pattern previously where a lot of startups who love to start up on the quickness and lightweight and agility of Google work space and the collaboration tooling there. We always found that startups love starting up quickly in that workspace environment, but weren't super familiar with what is this kind of black hidden box of Google Cloud? Is it something Google's taking seriously? Not many people had really heard much about it.And AWS was kind of that default landing zone for many startups.

So to your point, Matt, we see a common pattern where a lot of startups, you know, five, even three years ago, we're starting on workspace with Google, but using AWS as kind of that default hyperscaler for infrastructure, AI, data analytics, etcetera.

Obviously, part of our vision is to double down and make sure that when these startups are are getting into the Google ecosystem with Workspace, making sure that first of all, we're there to help guide them and and make sure they're successful on that onboarding, but also educate them of the advantages and the integration and the interoperability between data and Google Workspace and everything that integrates into the broader Google Cloud platform. So it's certainly a trend that we're seeing more startups kinda go all in with Google and Google Cloud once they hop on with Workspace, but certainly, was not the trend in the past, and, obviously, AWS is a, is a behemoth, and they're they have an incredible business, and and we're really strategic about that first market advantage they had.

Yeah. Well, it's funny because we I think what you just described, that's literally exactly the path we followed. I think Right. Like when we first started building our software, I don't think we were you know, I'm careful not to speak too strongly for engineers, but what I know, we were not you know, we're paying attention to Google Cloud, but we were building totally in AWS. And I think that was the focus. And I think it's as we've seen, first off, the strides you all have made product wise in Google Cloud over the last ten years. It's amazing.

And so I think that's one thing that got our engineers to start paying attention. The other thing, you know, from my vantage point as a business guy over here, seeing what you all were doing across the Google Cloud org from a go to market perspective to help ISVs like us.

I think like our migration from AWS, I look at it in two buckets. There were the engineering benefits and there were the go to market benefits. Right. The engineering benefits, again, I, you know, an engineer in our team can dive a lot more deeply into those benefits. But what I do know that appealed to us from the get go you know, containerization, like the ability for us to run managed containers on Google Cloud, all the advantages that you get from Kubernetes and other tools there. That was one thing that jumped out to us. I don't know if you've heard about GenAI.

What's that?

Yeah. Yeah. It's a new thing.No one's talking about it at all. But, obviously, the GenAI investments you are making, you know, across the board and in Google Cloud, that's something I know our team is really interested in and help you know, convince us to make this migration. But one of the biggest things, and this dovetails really nicely to how we are building on top of Google Cloud, in our the products that we're selling to our customers, the open source community you all built and just the open source nature of Kubernetes, Google's embracement of open source tools and how that's enabled a lot of choice for your customers.

That was really, really good for us to see because as a privacy company, we're all about enabling choice for our customers. Right. And that manifests itself in our actual product, and how we let customers choose where they want their keys to be stored, choose, which applications they wanna be adding protection to, whether it's SAS apps, like Looker or Confluence or Salesforce, whether it or Zendesk, whether it's via Google Drive or other email file sharing tools, whether it's in Gmail, sharing emails, choice is really important for us.

And that brings us to the kinda second bucket of reasons why we moved from AWS to Google and it's about the go to market benefits. And one of the biggest things, and I'd love for you to elaborate on this a bit more, but the ability for us to sell our products in Google Cloud Marketplace. Yep. We love that for many reasons, but one of the big ones is it gives our customers more choice.

Yep. It makes it much easier for them to procure products like ours, it makes it much easier for them to deploy them to manage their subscriptions. So that has been something that we've been really pleased with. We have a lot of customers who are jumping to Viber around the marketplace.

So I'd love to just hear you talk a bit more about how you see those go to market benefits, both with regards to Google Cloud marketplace, and more broadly about how you are now co selling together with companies like Virtru whose back ends are running on Google Cloud.

Yeah. Absolutely, Matt, And to quickly go back to your original point, because I think this all ties together with open source and customer choice and multi cloud operability for customers to run the best workloads in the best environment.

That's been core to our business. Google Cloud reach recently, made an announcement of free egress fees. We were the first cloud to enable free egress for any customer that wants to migrate data and move out of Google to another hyperscaler. So It's core to everything we do. You mentioned Kubernetes, a major open source project that Google was a top contributor that we open sourced and provided to the community.

Tensorflow. There's a number of them. A lot of Google's managed services today are built on open source projects that Google started internally. So open choice, open platform.It's core to what we do, and I know very similar to Virtru's business model and why the partnership made sense.

I would say moving into more of, like, ways we partner outside of technology to your point about the go to market benefits, leveraging the Google marketplace and and being more than, again, just, like, technology vendor partner. We think it's a huge way to partner and differentiate with our customer experience. So to, again, to your point with marketplace, what we're doing with Virtru is the ability to have our field sellers, all of Google Cloud's field sellers be incentivized and compensated on positioning Virtru in the field with our end customers.

We see it just makes a lot of sense, especially with all the synergies we have between workspace and now you guys are running your infrastructure on GCP. It just was kind of that final piece of the puzzle that we needed. Right? So we're super excited to be going to market together with you. And marketplace is kinda that lynchpin that allows us to really execute on those motions. And, you know, Matt I know we've been on a couple calls already from customers that were already interested in procuring through the marketplace and they're interested in burning down on their GCT commitments by purchasing virtru through the marketplace. So we just kinda think it's that perfect parity and that perfect balance between incentive for Google, Virtru, and the end customer, and really tangible benefits for all when we collaborate in the field together.

Yeah. And I mean, we're seeing it too. I mean, we've had a really collaborative partnership with Google, even when we were running on AWS, But it it was always a little weird because it's like we are helping, you know, as most people know, a lot of our products are built on top of Google Workspace. We're adding additional layers of protection for Workspace.

We're doing that via key management in conjunction with Google Workspace client side encryption. You know, some customers out there maybe just want a third party like us to help manage the keys protecting their Workspace data. And we're also more broadly helping customers who wanna focus on sharing that data outside of their org, outside of the Google ecosystem. We're doing that in our native browser extensions, Drive and Gmail.

But so we've always been doing that, but it's still been a little weird where it's like, okay. Well, we're selling to these customers who are leveraging Workspace who are brought into Google Cloud, but yet our own back end is running on AWS.


And so it's it's it's a much I think we have even better alignment right now. And it's really, really cool to see how much easier that makes our customers' lives. You know, like the first time when we were considering our move to GC to Google Cloud, I remember our CFO is, like, found out about marketplace. And the first thing he asked is, what vendors are we using today that we can now buy through marketplace? Right. Because that's gonna make it a lot easier for us to consolidate budgets. Right.

It makes it easier for our IT team to figure out what new solutions they wanna buy.

So it's been really fun and awesome, and I know you've promised us hundreds of new customers so we're on record with that. But, I guess what do you think it is from your end? Like, when you talk to customers, about marketplace? What is it that gets them most excited? And are you seeing kind of changes in the way they think about purchasing vendors once they themselves migrate to these Google Cloud and have that incentive. What I mean, what do the conversations look like from your end with a customer? Around.

Yeah. Absolutely. And it's funny, Matt, that you just mentioned. Like, when you sat down and had that conversation with your CFO, you literally had the lens of our end customers who we pitch to to why purchase Virtru via the marketplace.

Right? So it's all about that vendor consolidation. It makes it easier from a procurement standpoint, but also financially and the benefits from there. It counts towards, you know, you get one bill from Google and basically all of your ISV and mark place spend are just gonna show up as individual line items and help burn down towards the broader Google Cloud commitment.

And I guess maybe to to take a step back and speak to that right some of our most of our more strategic customers and customers that we have sort of a long term vision of growth together, we enter in some sort of commercial partnership where they make a commitment to spending a certain amount of consumption on Google Cloud over a certain period of time. So to an end customer, when they purchase Virtru through the marketplace, they're actually able to take that contract value and burn down towards that overall Google spend commit, which is huge value add to Finance, Procurement, etcetera.

And it also, you know, from your perspective, Matt, it gives you guys the ability to move customers from a direct relationship with Virtru through the marketplace from a procurement perspective, which also in turns helps our partnership and our together as well as growing your footprint on GCP. So that's kind of the double edge win win that we see in it.

As far as broader advantages that our customers see of place outside of just a pure financial procurement perspective. I think Matt, to your earlier point, you know, customer introductions, being able to get our partners in front of and and relationship with customers that we might have strong ties with at Google Cloud, but the end customer may not. And also vice versa. Right?

Sometimes we often see that our partners like Virtru and others have really strong relationships with customers that the Google Cloud team would love to get a chance to talk to. So I think it's that always anchoring on kind of that two way street. But I know for us, Matt, like, we have a long target list of customers that, you know, Google has relationships with or their existing workspace or whatever it may be, There's some sort of opportunity for us to to get in there and partner together to to benefit both. And I think that's really the core value add we see of our partners and some of the advantages of the joint to market we can do through marketplace?

Oh, no. It's been huge. And I just think, like, I love the fact that, you know, you're our kinda point person with our own Google account at Virtru, you're also helping us go to market. You know, you're also making introductions to your customers. You have customers of yours who are coming to you and saying, "Hey, how do I protect sensitive information that is leaving workspace?" And you can then come bring that to us. So it's just a pretty beautiful thing. So I think as a channel guy, I love that.

I love that alignment, and I also know that our engineers love the product. So You know, I think you are, it's great what you're doing, and we're really excited to grow. And the other thing I'll mention here too that's fun is, like, it's very symbiotic. The more that we sell, the more back end infrastructure we're gonna need, the more GCP we consume, so it's just a really nice relationship.

And I think, you know, as we're wrapping things up here, I know, like, for the past decade or so, like, Virtru has been growing. Google has been growing. We've been working closely together. I feel like now more than ever, we are really growing together.

As Google grows, Virtru's gonna grow as Virtru grows, Google's gonna grow. So I, just very excited for what's ahead and appreciate what you and Darren and Alexander and the whole team have done. And, you know, as we wrap up here, any kinda last words out there for anyone who's watching this, either a customer who's thinking about migrating their back end to Google Cloud or an ISP like us who maybe is on AWS and thinking about what the advantages might be to come over to the good side.

Yeah. Absolutely. Before I give my little plug here, I just wanna say, Matt, back at you, you know, appreciate the partnership. It's been incredible to work with you and your team.

I know our leadership has been aligned. We're in the office all the time together. So really appreciate just you guys leaning in and fully embracing. I know This was not a small or easy feat for you all to migrate your entire cloud infrastructure from AWS to Google Cloud. So you know, you have my full commitment to make this effort worth it and and for us to really, give it 110% on the joint go to market effort, and we wanna make this a valuable investment for you all because we know it is an investment. Right? We know that this is valuable time and resources that you guys are investing to make this change.

So First off, I wanted to just thank you on that. And then I think from a closing note, yeah, for any customers or ISVs that are thinking about different ways that they can partner with their hyperscaler, would love to, you know, always foster an introduction with Google Cloud. Feel free to reach out to me, anyone on our team at any time. And We'd love to talk through some of the advantages both on the technical side. You know, Mat, you mentioned this little thing called GenAI.

We don't think it's a fad. We think it's the future. We're taking a platform approach.

So that's really a core investment area and data analytics moving forward. So, whether it's a technology conversation on that front or more, how can Google, how can our company partner with Google, grow our business, grow our market share, get in front of new customers that we haven't been able to get in front of before. We'd love to have those conversations and partner as well. So that's kinda what I'll end on there.

Awesome. And also anyone watching out there, just remember, you can If you wanna look for a way to, you know, justify a high spend on Google Cloud, you can just buy some Virtru through Google Cloud.

Exactly. Yep. Quick burned down.

Thanks for taking the time. Again, happy Pi Day. I know there's a pizza party at the Virtru office in DC.I gotta get going. I'm going to the Virtru office. Yeah.

Yeah. Appreciate the time Austin. Appreciate everything you guys do and look forward to building this thing together.

Thank you, Matt. Appreciate you.

Enjoy a coffee on Virtru!

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