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A New Era of Partnering to Win

SonicWall Partners are at the core of our success. We’re continually improving products, services, support, and brand awareness.

After a couple of months now as President and CEO of SonicWall, I’ve had a chance to begin focusing on the core objectives that will continue to drive the company going forward. A primary focus of mine will be staying better aligned with you, our trusted partners. To that end, I’d like to offer the first of many updates on how we’re doing as a company, what to expect in the future, and how we’re tracking on goals we’ve set for ourselves.

Where We Are and Where We’re Going

SonicWall is in the midst of historic growth: We’ve experienced five consecutive quarters of double-digit growth, with both top- and bottom-line performance at or near historic highs.

At the core of our successes are the key contributions from our partner community. We’re seeing strong bid performance globally, with record levels of Deal Registration Create, Deal Registration Close, In-Quarter Create and In-Quarter Close. We’re unbelievably thankful for your incredible performance and continued dedication.

We continue to see growth in the SMB market, which aligns to our strategy of building on our leadership there. We’re also continuing our expansion into the enterprise market, with strong growth in 2022. Much of this increase is due to the tremendous success of our enterprise-class NSsp next-generation firewall. We’re now coming off our highest-performing quarter of all time for our NSsp firewalls.

The growth of NSsp and other offerings has been bolstered by the strength of SonicWall’s supply chain. In 2020, long before any wide-scale supply-chain disruption had occurred, SonicWall had begun modifying its products, revisiting internal processes and changing the way we work with suppliers.

This has allowed us to have product in stock when others didn’t. In partnership with you, last year alone we collectively drove a 33% increase in the number of new customers and a 45% increase in sales — all while fulfilling 95% of all orders within just three days.

Getting ahead of supply-chain disruption has also allowed us to realize supply chain and shipping cost advantages, which in turn has enabled us to continue to offer industry-leading TCO. While SonicWall has long focused on providing the best products at the best value, during this time of economic uncertainty, this has become an even greater differentiator.

Prior to 2020, SonicWall had already begun looking toward a future built around widespread remote work. Since then, we’ve been developing, refining and expanding our cloud product offerings, including our Cloud Edge Secure Access solution, our NSv virtual firewall and more. And our focus in this area is paying off, with SonicWall’s cloud evolution achieving 36% growth in 2022.

The drivers of SonicWall’s long-term plan include maintaining our sizeable SMB base, steadfast growth in the enterprise space, and continued expansion into next-generation cloud security. And these strategies will be underpinned by ongoing innovation as we continue to build on our Boundless Cybersecurity architecture.

How We’re Continually Improving Customer and Partner Support

During this time, we’ll continue to focus on growing our MSSP program. In early 2023, we’ll introduce an updated MSSP portal, which will provide greater value for our MSSP partners.  We’re also increasing our MSSP product offerings: stay tuned as we lean even further into that area and ensure that every product is aligned to our MSSPs.

Over the past couple years, you’ve emphasized the importance of customer and technical support. We’ve already begun making strides toward greater alignment in this area, both through our web support presence and through our one-on-one support.

We’ve continued to grow and refine our knowledgebase and self-service options. As of this writing, our self-service score is 19-1. In other words, for every 19 inquiries, only one turns into a phone call — the other 18 are sufficiently addressed via the knowledgebase and other online tools. (For context, 13-1 is viewed as best in class.)

As you know, this is a journey and not a destination, and we’ll continue to do our best here. In fact, some of our efforts to improve the user experience for web-based support are already bearing fruit. In August, the Association of Support Professionals (ASP) awarded SonicWall a special award for Best Search on a Support Website, the first time such an award had ever been given.

ASP's annual Best Support Website, awarded to SonicWall in 2022 for our work with our partners.

But because not all support tasks can be handled through online inquiry, we’ve also been investing heavily in our support call center. We aren’t just focused on adding more support resources, however — we’re also focused on supporting more partners and customers, which is key as we grow and expand. Among our support initiatives is the addition of local language support wherever possible, greatly increasing the breadth of our support program.

How We’re Building Brand Awareness

Not all support is after the sale, however — we’re aware that we can make your jobs easier by ensuring end users recognize SonicWall and our partners as thought leaders in the cybersecurity space. In July, we released the mid-year update to our 2022 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report. This report continues to set records, not only in number of downloads, but also in terms of media coverage and mentions in major articles and news stories.

The Threat Report also serves as a vehicle to highlight SonicWall’s threat performance, particularly our patented Real-Time Deep Memory Inspection (RTDMI™). Through the end of Q3 2022, this technology had discovered 373,756 new malware variants — a 22% year-to-date increase, and an average of 1,374 new variants per day.

These capabilities have also been validated by third-party testing — not just once, but seven times in a row. For the past seven consecutive quarters, ICSA Labs has evaluated a SonicWall NSa 3600 equipped with Capture ATP with RTDMI. And in every test cycle, the solution identified 100% of new and little-known threats, some only hours old.

SonicWall is currently the only participating vendor to achieve seven straight 100% threat detection scores, and we’ve now had seven consecutive quarters with the highest overall score among all participants.

Our Partners Are at the Core

But no matter how strong our portfolio is, at SonicWall we know we’re only as strong as our partner community. That’s why we’re working toward increased partner communication and collaboration on every front.

Gen 7 have seen an eight- to nine-times improvement in their top line.

We’ll continue to focus on expanding our technical tracks, as well as our SonicWall University offerings, which have been incredibly successful. We’ve found that partners who take just three hours of SonicWall U training on topics such as Gen 7 have seen an eight- to nine-times improvement in their top line.

But for those who may not have a chance to complete a full training module right away, we’re introducing a new series of 15-minute videos that will serve as a supplement to our SonicWall U training. These videos will provide a bite-sized look at a particular topic and can be shared across your team and with customers. In our GTM revamp of the SonicWall sales team four years ago, we moved to weekly mandatory training for the entire team — something even I continue to do — every week.

With the COVID-19 pandemic easing a bit in many places, we’ll be ramping up our in-person training and will continue reintroducing our regional roadshows. Our Sales Enablement team members have begun meeting partners and customers in person where appropriate, as well.

But as our Sales Enablement team hits the road, we recognize they may be unavailable while they’re in transit or with customers. To maintain a Sales Enablement presence that’s consistently available, we’ve begun investing in virtual SES. These team members are equipped with a variety of tools and will be available during working hours in case you need a quick response.

We’re also in the process of revamping our SonicWall Secure First Partner Program. We’ll be spending a considerable amount of time, effort and investment into improving this program from a partner standpoint, to offer high-quality training and to reward the commitment partners are making in SonicWall.

Like so many of our other initiatives, this one is built around acknowledging the work that our partners put in and continuing to learn how we can better align and better understand your needs and pain points.

Going forward, my key priority is ensuring we’re listening across the company to our partners — getting your input and soliciting your opinion to shape our initiatives and offerings, as opposed to just providing updates. We’ve always strived to be a partner-centric company, but we want to continue to grow in how we can better support and enable our partners across every function and team.

SonicWall’s Bob VanKirk, HoJin Kim & David Bankemper Earn 2022 CRN Channel Chief Recognition

SonicWall is thrilled to share that CRN has named three of its sales leaders to the 2022 Channel Chiefs list: Bob VanKirk, HoJin Kim and David Bankemper. CRN’s annual Channel Chiefs project identifies top IT channel vendor executives who continually demonstrate expertise, influence and innovation in channel leadership.

“CRN’s 2022 Channel Chiefs recognition is given exclusively to the foremost channel executives who consistently design, promote, and execute effective partner programs and strategies,” said Blaine Raddon, CEO of The Channel Company. “We’re thrilled to recognize the tireless work and unwavering commitment these honorees put into fostering outstanding business innovation and building strong partner programs to drive channel engagement and success.”

As Chief Revenue Officer for SonicWall, Bob VanKirk is responsible for driving top-line sales across SonicWall’s global distribution network and oversees the teams, strategy and execution related to SonicWall’s global partner success.

HoJin Kim, Vice President, Worldwide Channels for SonicWall, is responsible for driving the development of SonicWall’s global channel efforts. He leads the implementation of the company’s modern channel strategy to build a sustainable competitive advantage for SonicWall’s partners.

David Bankemper is the Senior Director, Channel Sales for SonicWall and has helped to guide continued investment in and adoption of SonicWall’s MSSP program. David is also responsible for ensuring that SonicWall’s channel partners have the products, tools, incentives and training to profitably deliver cost-effective solutions to their customers.

“It is an amazing feat to have three employees from the same organization recognized by CRN as Channel Chief honorees,” said SonicWall President and CEO Bill Conner. “SonicWall is proud to be a 100% channel company and having three people recognized speaks to the caliber of program SonicWall has built over its 30-year existence.”

The 2022 Channel Chiefs are prominent leaders who have influenced the IT channel with cutting-edge strategies, programs and partnerships. All honorees are selected by CRN’s editorial staff based on their dedication, industry prestige, and exceptional accomplishments as channel advocates. SonicWall has been consistently included in recent CRN awards including Executive of the Year, Women of the Channel and Channel Chief and Rising Female Stars.

CRN’s 2022 Channel Chiefs list will be featured in the February 2022 issue of CRN Magazine and online at www.CRN.com/ChannelChiefs.

SonicWall and our Channel Partners Team to Deliver New High-Value Security Professional Services to Fight the Bad Guys

I can only imagine the pressure that comes with the job of being responsible for a company’s network security.  These individuals are not only entrusted with protecting company and customer data, but the reputation of the company and its brand.  In the case of smaller businesses, the stakes are particularly high, where a network breach and data loss can threaten the very existence of the company. According to the Ponemon Institute Cost of a Data Breach 2017, the average cost of a breach for the average total cost of a data breach is $3.62M, and over 60 percent of SMBs cease to exist 6 months following a data security breach. Add to these grim statistics the incredible rise in malware, ransomware and other advanced threats in a constantly evolving cyber threat landscape and you have the plot of a very scary true (cyber) crime movie – the good guys vs. the bad guys.

Network security vendors like SonicWall and the channel partners who integrate our products in to security solutions for their customers are most often the first line of defense to help organizations defend against the bad guys. These organizations rely on SonicWall to deliver highly efficient security products that can stop today’s known and unknown threats. And they rely on our channel partners as their trusted advisors to deliver their security solution. With so much at stake, it is critical that the right SonicWall products are designed in the security solution. And just as critical that the solution is implemented properly and optimized for the customer’s environment and business requirements. Even the best security products, if not properly spec’d and implemented, can leave an organization vulnerable. To address this reality, SonicWall has announced the launch of a new lineup of valuable professional security services to help customers and channels design, implement and operate SonicWall security solutions that keep the bad guys at bay and defend against their relentless cyber attacks.

Organized around three areas of competency, the security professional service offerings were jointly developed and blueprinted by SonicWall and a group of channel partners (the good guys) with deep security services expertise. Each service incorporates the real-world services experience of these partners, essential knowledge gained through hundreds of services engagements.

The services include:

  • Implementation Services – compliance audit prep, remote and onsite implementation services for SonicWall products
  • Solution Services – security health checks,  wireless security deployments, campus network and distributed network solutions.
  • Architecture Services – more complex or large-scale solutions and customer environments, such as DPI-SSL deployment or SuperMassive next-gen firewall implementations.

It makes so much sense to have these types of services surround the SonicWall product portfolio, as a means to ensure our customer have the best possible protection. As SonicWall’s Channel Chief, I’m equally proud of the new services as I am of the way in which they are delivered.

This is where our new Partner Enabled Services Program comes in. Just launched, the program identifies and showcases SonicWall SecureFirst channel partners who have a security focused professional services practice and enables them to deliver the new services. These partners are vetted, granted status as a SonicWall Advanced Authorized Services Partner and given access to exclusive training, tools, sales, marketing and technical resources. All of the services are branded and sku’d by SonicWall, so the entire SonicWall channel can resell them. Once sold, the services are delivered by the Advanced Services Partners.

This breakthrough approach to delivering professional security services is only possible due to the collaboration and trust that exists within the incredible SonicWall channel partner ecosystem – one that has developed over the last 25 years. SonicWall channel partners genuinely trust each other to engage respectfully with their customers to deliver high-grade professional security services and, in doing so, they deliver the most effective security solution and drive incremental opportunity for their business. With this program, SonicWall’s broad channel, our Authorized Services Partners, and most importantly, our customers, can join forces to fight the bad guys and win the war against cyber attacks. Score one for the good guys!

Feedback from our channel on this approach to services offer creation and delivery has been fantastic.

“This year marks 20 years of our relationship with SonicWall and we are excited about deepening our engagement with SonicWall and showcasing our SonicWall based services expertise through the Partner Enabled Services Program. The Exertis team is highly skilled in SonicWall distributed architecture deployments, proven time and again to be the real leader when customer security is at stake,” Jason Hill, Security Sales Director of Exertis in United Kingdom, a leading SonicWall distributor in Europe..

“As a dedicated SonicWall Platinum Partner with a mature services practice, we are delighted to see SonicWall making such significant investments in driving partner growth in security services.  Our team of security experts have a passion for security and phenomenal service,” said Timothy Martinez, President of Western NRG Total Internet Security, based in Camarillo California. “With more than 15 years of SonicWall implementations, we go to battle for our customers in the cyber arms race. The Partner Enabled Services Program is an excellent opportunity to grow our services further with SonicWall.”

“Our unwavering commitment is to protect and empower our customers against today’s most damaging cyber attacks,” said Michael Crean, CEO of Solutions Granted, a SonicWall SecureFirst Platinum partner in Virginia. “In our case, as one of SonicWall’s longest-term Managed Security Services Providers, this requires additional services and expertise to ensure we’re delivering the value and guidance our customers require to be secure. SonicWall understands our needs and, yet again, delivers the structure, resources, training and incentives to enhance customer loyalty, satisfaction and market recognition.”

Customers interested in the new security professional services should contact their SonicWall channel partner.  For interested SecureFirst Partners, we have a webinar planned for Nov. 30 at 8:30 am PT: Grow your Services Business with the New Partner Enabled Services Program.