Certificate management vendor Venafi has axed one in four of its staff globally as it re-aligns the company to focus more resources on R&D.
CRN understands that just over 60 of the Utah-based vendor's staff - most of whom work in sales and marketing - have been shown the door this week.
Founded in 2004, Venafi provides software to manage, protect and secure encryption keys and digital certificates.
The privately held firm has aggressively expanded headcount in the last 18 months on the back of swelling demand for its technology, which was talked up in the wake of last year's Flame malware attack - which evaded traditional anti-virus techniques.
It counts Foundation Capital, Pelion Venture Partners and Orion Partners among its backers.
Talking to CRN, Gregory Webb, vice president of marketing at Venafi, would not confirm numbers but claimed the number of R&D staff the vendor is hiring at its new development centres in Finland, Russia and Silicon Valley will exceed recent staff reductions.
"Our plan is to grow R&D and engineering resource by 25 per cent," he said.
Webb said Venafi had taken on 11 new customer logos in the last three month as more Global 2000 firms "wake up to the fact that keys and certificates have become the new attack vector of choice for cybercriminals".
"Flame was a blueprint for how to take advantage of these new vulnerabilities," he said, adding that the re-alignment is designed to "better meet customer needs".
Its EMEA operations, which are based out of the UK, have been heavily impacted by the cutbacks, according to channel sources.
David Hobson, managing director of Venafi partner MTI's security practice, said that news of the cuts had come as a shock but that MTI is holding judgement rather than reviewing the partnership.
"It may have good business reasons for doing this," he said.
Grahame Smee, managing director of Cohort Technologies (pictured), which was appointed as Venafi's first UK distributor in 2011, said he remained fully engaged with the vendor.
"We are aware of the changes and are committed to Venafi. We are working on a very healthy pipeline going forward," he said.
The move to cut sales and marketing headcount could ironically benefit channel partners as Venafi focuses more on R&D, leaving partners to do the selling, one channel onlooker commented.
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