ChannelLife Australia logo
Industry insider news for Australia's technology resellers
Story image

EXCLUSIVE: Behind the scenes with Webroot MD

By Ashton Young
Fri 4 Mar 2016
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Robbie Upcroft is the Webroot managing director of Asia Pacific (APAC).

To get to where he is now has been a long and enlightening road that actually started in marketing - which he says helped him understand what it means for a customer to come on board.

Following his foray into marketing, Upcroft began his career in IT working for a small Sydney reseller back in 1995 before moving onto Tech Pacific: “If you can remember Tech Pacific than you’re old enough,” Upcroft says.

Tech Pacific was bought by Ingram Micro so Upcroft essentially moved from reseller to distributor, before transferring to Microsoft where he spent the better part of 11 years in a variety of SMB and channel-based roles.

“That’s my DNA – more channel rather than enterprises or anything like that,” Upcroft says.

Following management roles at both Mcafee and Arrow Distribution, one day, out of the blue, he got a tap on the shoulder about an opportunity that he wasn’t exactly looking for, but found enticing.

“It was, I guess, to reboot Webroot in APAC,” Upcroft says. “We had gone through an internal restructure which led to the departure of my predecessor, plus we were very much of the opinion that we could increase our sales by applying a greater focus on ANZ rather than trying to spread our wings too far across APAC.”

In terms of what has helped him get to where he is today, Upcroft identified two factors. The first is empathy.

“I really – and without sounding facetious – feel that I have the ability to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes,” Upcroft says. “And the reason being is, I’ve been a reseller, I’ve been a distributor and I’ve been with vendors.”

Particularly in the IT industry, having worked at all three parts of the stack, Upcroft finds that he can talk to resellers and distributors in their own language, as there are a lot of people who don’t necessarily understand what it means to be a small business trying to survive while dealing with competing pressures.

Backed with that, is a natural curiosity.

“Having the wherewithal to ask people questions,” Upcroft says. “One of the questions that I always like to ask resellers is, ‘what’s your exit strategy?’ It’s amazing how many resellers don’t have one.”

“For me having an eye on what it is they’re actually trying to do, whether they’re growing for sale, acquisition, to leave something for their kids or just basically to have a lifestyle business gives you a lot of understanding about what the reseller is trying to do,” Upcroft says.

In terms of the future of the industry, Upcroft sees a bright future. However, it is very much a case of ‘get on the train or be left behind’, as the cloud has revolutionised the industry.

“Some of the resellers have been weeded out, I guess through natural growth or contraction as it will be in the market,” Upcroft says. “But resellers who embraced the cloud have absolutely continued to grow, and the reason being is that it opens up so much opportunity for the customer.”

Upcroft admits that it does mean that resellers need to change their focus, because, for example, they’re no longer installing exchange servers on sites as it is all provided.

“When I look across the industry, I see a lot of opportunity for those resellers who are willing to embrace change,” Upcroft says.

Upcroft affirms the same can be said for the security market.

“If you think where we were even just 3-4 years ago, we pretty much knew where the threats were coming from, as they’d essentially walk in the front door through a virus and you’d have a traditional signature-based protection and if you’re on that signature, great, you’re protected,” Upcroft says. “Now though, the sheer volume and sophistication of the threats means that you need a different approach and this is where Webroot has really come to the fore.”

Upcroft states it’s an arms-race with the bad guys, trying to stay one step ahead of them means you will need to start taking a look at things differently.

“Our approach – which is very much based on behavioural analysis and heuristics – means that we’re able to respond almost instantaneously to the previously-unknown threats,” Upcroft says. “Those resellers that are willing to embrace change and look at some of the next generation technology, I think will be very successful.”

Upcroft spends a lot of his time with his three year old son who has Cerebral Palsy.

“He’s absolutely very mentally bright, but physically challenged so he’s not walking and talking as other children that age would do,” Upcroft says. “So I spend a lot of time working with him, which is good, but I’ve got no doubt that he will live a full and independent life - just for the time being he needs a lot of support.”

Upcroft also likes to concentrate on his fitness, running in particular, as he has done marathons and half-marathons around the world.

“This fitness regime can be a challenge sometimes, especially when you have an Italian wife of 25 years who is a fantastic cook! Hence, my life is all about finding that balance,” Upcroft concludes.

All the best with finding that balance between delicious Italian cuisine and painful running Robbie – I know what one I would go for.

Related stories
Top stories
Story image
Cloud Security
Organisations struggling to secure new cloud environments
“In the wake of COVID-19, organisations substantially accelerated their digital transformation initiatives to accommodate a remote workforce."
Story image
Record number of Australians shopped online over last year
Pattern has released new research showing that in the last twelve months, a record number of Australians made a purchase online, spending AUD $62.3 billion.
Story image
Hands-on review: Samsung Galaxy Z Fold 4 smartphone
With its new range of foldable phones, Samsung has definitely brought a vibrant new energy to the smartphone market.
Story image
Endpoint Management
Somerville celebrates 40 years of serving customers in Australia
End-to-end technology service provider Somerville says it's riding a wave of strong year-on-year growth as it celebrates its 40th anniversary.
Story image
SAS awards Zencos as the 2022 A/NZ Partner of the Year
SAS has recognised US-based financial crimes and data consulting firm Zencos with the 2022 Australia and New Zealand Partner of the Year award.
Story image
ValueFlow and FLI announce capital alliance for enhanced channel outcomes
ValueFlow and Founder Led Investments (FLI) have announced that they have entered into a capital alliance, which looks to expand ValueFlows business in Australia and Asia Pacific.
Story image
10 misconceptions about Techday and how it operates
Even with 17 years in the tech news space, Techday still finds that there are a range of things people misunderstand about how we operate.
Story image
Microsoft announces Pax8 as indirect CSP distributor in A/NZ
Microsoft has recently announced Pax8 as a Cloud Solution Provider (CSP) indirect distributor in the A/NZ region.
Story image
Data Protection
Zero Trust, but verify - finding the OT in ZerO Trust
The move to remote and cloud-based technologies has shifted the goalposts for cybersecurity. It now needs to cover multiple people, devices, platforms, and networks.
Story image
Australian IT security concerns higher than before pandemic
Australian organisations are more concerned about cyberattacks than they were prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new survey.
Story image
Hybrid Cloud
The essential guide to digital transformation by SolarWinds
Digital transformation is a buzzword thrown around all the time by companies, but what does it actually mean and why is it important? SolarWinds breaks it down.
Story image
Tech job moves
Tech job moves - Fastly, INX, Kinly, SmartBear & Vectra AI
We round up all job appointments from July 29 - August 12, 2022, in one place to keep you updated with the latest from across the tech industries.
Story image
Cloudera launches all-in-one data lakehouse cloud service
CDP One makes it faster, easier and less risky for businesses to move to the cloud and migrate existing workloads to a modern data architecture.
Story image
Schneider Electric
Schneider Electric launches SM AirSeT in Australia
The new medium-voltage switchgear uses pure air and vacuum interruption, completely avoiding SF6 greenhouse gas.
Story image
Education sector seeing highest volumes of cyber attacks
When breaking down the numbers to education attacks by region in July 2022, A/NZ was the most heavily attacked.
Story image
Hands-on review: OPPO Find X5 smartphone
With the release of the new OPPO Find X5 in March, we got the opportunity to explore another one of their premium devices.
Story image
Study looks at gender dimensions of AU security sector
A new study will explore solutions to overcome pressing skills and diversity challenges in the Australian security sector.
Story image
Cyber attacks
Dramatic uptick in threat activity with exploits growing nearly 150%
"While it’s not a surprise given increased attack opportunities like remote work, it’s still a worrying development and one we cannot ignore."
Story image
Lenovo launches CO2 Offset Service for SMBs across A/NZ
Lenovo has announced the rollout of a new, first-of-its-kind CO2 Offset Service for SMBs across Australia and New Zealand. 
Story image
Facial recognition
Benefits vs risks of facial recognition technology
Once a distant, futuristic concept, facial recognition technology is now found in many technological applications with a variety of different functions. 
Story image
Motorola acquires radio comms provider Barrett Communications
Motorola Solutions says the two companies are united in delivering vital communications that organisations worldwide depend on.
Story image
Hands-on review: Huawei Watch D smart watch
The Huawei Watch D is the latest flagship smart watch from the Chinese tech giant, and it's further proof that the company is more than capable of competing with the likes of Samsung and Apple in the highly competitive wearable market.
Story image
Home Entertainment
Hands-on review: TCL 65″ C835 Mini LED 4K Google TV
We introduce you today to a TV that brings the height of immersion to your viewing experience: The TCL 65″ C835 Mini LED 4K Google TV.
Story image
Whispir reports significant revenue growth as CaaS market expands
Australian cloud platform Whispir has announced its financial results, reporting significant growth as it continues to introduce new Communications-as-a Service (CaaS) offerings to the market.
Story image
Cloud Security
Aqua Security adds CPSM capabilities to Aqua Trivy
Aqua Security has added cloud security posture management (CPSM) capabilities to its open source tool, Aqua Trivy.
Story image
Collaboration app market revenue grows 28.4% year-over-year
IDC has found that global revenues in the collaboration applications market grew 28.4% year-over-year in 2021 to $29.1 billion.
Story image
Hands-on review: JBL Flip 6 portable speaker
Once you switch it on, and listen away for up to 12 hours, you will quickly realise that this is a little speaker looking for a party.
Story image
Unified Communications
Gold Coast private hospital improves comms with Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise solutions
With further demands placed on health workers as a result of the pandemic, they need efficient and adaptable solutions that help them effectively serve their communities.
Story image
AU retailers rate their states for doing business
Retailers are optimistic about economic conditions and potential for business success in their own states, despite the current economic climate. 
Story image
CISOs need to consider a risk-based cybersecurity strategy
Rather than talking in terms of attack vectors and vulnerabilities, CISOs and security decision-makers must look at actual business risk.
Story image
Unified Communications
MAXHUB reveals latest innovations for ANZ at Integrate 2022 in Sydney
Some of the most exciting and innovative updates from this year's Integrate 2022 event have come from the leaders at MAXHUB.
Story image
Artificial Intelligence
Acusensus smart traffic technology being used on UK roads
Australian-developed smart traffic technology is being rolled out across the United Kingdom to catch dangerous drivers using their mobile phones and not wearing seatbelts.
Story image
Claroty research unveils new attack that targets PLCs
Claroty has released research detailing a new type of cyber-attack, one that weaponises programmable logic controllers (PLCs).
Story image
Machine learning
Sysdig releases CDR offering to combat cryptojacking
Sysdig has unveiled a cloud detection and response (CDR) offering powered by machine learning to combat cryptojacking.
Story image
Secureworks CTU uncovers new information about DarkTortilla malware
Secureworks CTU researchers have found new information about the DarkTortilla malware, revealing more about its versatility and scope within the threat landscape.
Story image
8x more users attacked via old Microsoft Office vulnerability in Q2
"Criminals craft malicious documents and convince their victims to open them through social engineering techniques."
Story image
Cloud Security
Lookout named Strong Performer in 2022 Gartner Peer Insights
Gartner has recognised Lookout as a Strong Performer in the 2022 Gartner Peer Insights Voice of the Customer for Security Service Edge (SSE).
Story image
Hybrid working success relies on the return to office
A reluctance to return to the office is impacting a would-be hybrid working model, instead leaving businesses with a mostly-remote workforce.
Story image
DDoS activity rises dramatically - Radware report
The first six months of 2022 were marked by a significant increase in DDoS activity across the globe, according to a new report.
Story image
Fortinet attributes Gartner-reported growth to ZTNA approach
Zero-trust is slowly becoming a dominant enterprise security strategy for businesses, and the Gartner report highlights that although prominent, it is often underutilised.