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Maintaining Your Most Valuable Assets

by Charles Ho
SonicWall Outside Regional Sales Director


Creating a team of skilled security professionals is the single biggest gap for businesses today. While this gap is fueling the need for managed security services, managed security service providers (MSSPs) also face the same problem.

MSSP staff members are constantly being approached by recruiters, competitors and even their customers. The value that MSSPs deliver to their customers is a direct correlation to the talented people manning their operations. How can you better keep your security operations center (SOC) analysts happy, engaged and committed for the long term? Compensation is obvious, but I want to focus on three arguably more important factors: technology, team building and enablement.

Technology

Throughout an analyst’s day, they’re touching different technologies at the customer site and in your SOC. Having access to the right tools can make the job significantly more effective and efficient, which cuts down on frustration and increases productivity.

Involve analysts in technology choices

Which threat detection technology should your customer deploy? Ask your analyst! They understand what’s effective but more importantly, which technologies make their job easier. One brand’s alerts may only show a title, but another brand may provide comprehensive access to packet data as well as additional context from threat intelligence feeds. This is even more important when evaluating SOC tools. Changing to a more cost-effective tool that your analysts hate will only result in employee attrition.

Look at automation

Many MSSPs I talk to are looking at automation to reduce costs by increasing the analyst-to-customer ratio. However, the bigger benefit is being able to reduce the amount of Level 1 work an analyst needs to perform. Analysts love working on net-new cases where they can potentially unravel a significant breach and will, in many cases, work overtime to continue to triage. The opposite is also true, where working on repetitive cases can lead to fatigue.

Team Building and Culture

Analysts don’t work alone. The more they can work as a team, the more effective they’ll be. The camaraderie of a team helps employees believe they’re part of something bigger than themselves. Here are some suggestions to improve working environment:

Promote joint activities outside of work

  • Provide access to entertainment at the office with a focus on multiplayer activities, like ping pong
  • Plan regular team-building activities, like a staff lunch
  • Encourage involvement in company activities
  • Rotate analysts appropriately so everyone gets a chance to participate

Encourage interaction between SOCs

  • Hold regular video conference hand-offs; everyone needs to know everyone’s face
  • Offer cross-SOC training opportunities
  • Create options to relocate between SOCs

Enablement and Career

Just like any other job, a network security employee wants to grow professionally. Not only do they want to enhance their skills, but they also want the opportunity to progress to a bigger role. Unless you’re a global MSSP, the latter can be a challenge as the company structure can be very flat. Some suggestions for professional development:

Implement training and mentor programs

  • Particularly for a new analyst, it can be very rewarding to learn from someone senior. Establishing mentor relationships not only allows the new analyst to grow, but can also give the senior analyst a sense of accomplishment, especially if they’re not a manager.
  • Encourage and support external training activities. Sending someone to the yearly Black Hat global information security conference can be seen as a big reward, but attending smaller — and often free — vendor trainings can have similar effects.

Expand job scopes

It’s not always possible to promote an individual, but providing them unique opportunities to show off their capability can be an alternative to career progression.

  • Use case walkthroughs with the team to have analysts share interesting findings. This is even better if they can share their discoveries with people outside the SOC, such as the sales team.
  • Provide SOC tours to customers and have analysts walk through their daily activity and share sample cases.
  • Use monthly/quarterly customer reviews (onsite or remote) to show value to customers beyond reporting and alerting.

SOC analysts are your most valuable asset. Keep them happy and your business will prosper.

Learn more information about SonicWall’s SecureFirst partner program, which helps accelerate our partners’ ability to be thought-leaders and game-changers in the ever-evolving security landscape.

https://www.sonicwall.com/en-us/partners/mssp-partner-program

eWeek Goes 1-on-1 with SonicWall CEO Bill Conner

Bill Conner has a plan for SonicWall. And he’s already ahead of it.

In a recent interview with eWeek, the SonicWall CEO provided high-level perspective on not only where SonicWall is and how it got here, but also where it’s going in the future. It was a candid, one-on-one conversation that really lets the industry get to know SonicWall as a company.

“Everything comes through some kind of a network … where we think the market is going is really going to be about automated, real-time breach detection and prevention,” said Conner.

Announced in May 2018, SonicWall financially separated from Quest with oversubscribed investment interest and unprecedented growth in the last six quarters. This success is less than two years removed from Francisco Partner’s purchase of SonicWall from Dell.

“We still have Dell as a partner, and as an OEM, and still do a great deal of business with them,” Conner told eWeek. “We also have business that has nothing to do with Dell.”

Conner walked eWeek through the last 10 months of fast-moving growth for SonicWall, which included 12 new products that featured updates to trusted firewalls, introduced new virtual firewall offerings and unveiled the SonicWall Capture Cloud Platform.

Conner stressed that all of the development into defending endpoints, email and other areas of vulnerability does not mean that SonicWall is diverging from its true nature, which is primarily that of a network security company. SonicWall is simply expanding the breadth of its cyber security portfolio to deliver more cost-effective, real-time protection to customers and partners.

“One of the big questions when I came in was, ‘Is the brand going to be alive?’” said Conner. “Then there were questions about our roadmap and ability to deliver … Now our vision, that I started talking about six quarters ago, is starting to be real.”

This fiscal year SonicWall also added over 24,000 SecureFirst partner organizations, a 60 percent year-over-year increase, while closing $530 million in partner deal registrations. Since the start of 2018, SonicWall has collected 27 cybersecurity industry accolades, most recently being named the Editor’s Choice Security Company of the Year by Cyber Defense Magazine.

SonicWall PEAK17 Partner Roadshow Touring Europe

19-City Tour Brings SonicWall Enablement, Networking to EMEA Partners

It’s no secret that SonicWall is committed to its partner community. The latest testament to this dedication is the PEAK17 partner roadshow, which is currently on a 19-city European tour that launched in March.

The annual roadshow takes SonicWall right to the partners to deliver updates to the SonicWall SecureFirst partner program, news on SonicWall SonicOS 6.5 launch, market momentum, new marketing tools and more.

“We have been working together with SonicWall for 15 years, but this power of innovation is the greatest we’ve ever seen,” said Ralf Leibmann of CONCIPIA GmbH, a SonicWall partner. “Especially as a managed security provider, we are very happy to have a professional partner like SonicWall that leads us to be one of the greatest MSPs in Germany.”

In September, the roadshow started its second leg by visiting Wien, Austria; Essen, Germany; Bern, Switzerland; and Ulm, Germany. The next stop will be Oct. 3 in Stockholm, Sweden. The 2017 roadshow will conclude on Nov. 11 in Paris, France.

“It was a great event with brand-new, first-hand information from representatives and partners,” said Werner Lenz of LENZ IT & NetWorking Solutions. “A big thanks to SonicWall for being a reliable partner over the years. It enabled us to continuously expand our business and build strong relationships to our customers.”

Upcoming stops will be highlighted by keynote sessions from SonicWall President and CEO Bill Conner (UK and Italy), dedicated channel strategy sessions from Senior Vice President and Chief Revenue Officer Steve Pataky (UK and Italy), and exclusive product updates from Executive Director of Product Management Dmitriy Ayrapetov (UK, Italy, Ireland and Germany).

Each day-long event will feature product-specific positioning sessions – new NSA 2650 firewall and SonicWave Wireless Access Points, marketing and partner enablement updates, and professional service presentations. The roadshow — featuring popular social events like cooking classes, wine tasting, theatre visits and escape rooms — is the perfect opportunity to learn best practices for engaging prospects, exceeding customer expectations and growing revenue opportunities.

“I really enjoyed the experience to attend the PEAK17 Partner Roadshow in Essen in a nice location,” said choin! CEO Boris Wetzel, a SonicWall gold partner in Germany. “It was an excellent event with great updates on products and roadmap. It is great to see the changes and the commitment from SonicWall.”

This is the roadshow’s second trip through Europe in 2017. Earlier in the year, SonicWall hosted partner events in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and the Netherlands. This drove SonicWall’s European partner outreach program to 19 cities for the year.

Honoring SonicWall Partners

At the PEAK17 events in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, SonicWall hosted award ceremonies to honor the region’s most successful partners.

Germany

  • SonicWall Distributor 2017: Infinigate
  • SonicWall Most Valuable Partner 2017: Axsos
  • SonicWall Security Project 2017: Kodak with Partner Axsos
  • SonicWall MSSP 2017: Concipia
  • SonicWall Mittelstandspartner 2017: Tarador

Switzerland

  • SonicWall Partner of the Year 2017: Vitodata

Austria

Attend PEAK 17

If you’re interested in attending an upcoming PEAK17 roadshow event in Europe or Africa, please reference the table below and register for a city near you.

City Country Date Registration
Wien Austria 13.09.2017 Complete
Essen Germany 19.09.2017 Complete
Bern Switzerland 20.09.2017 Complete
Ulm Germany 21.09.2017 Complete
Stockholm Sweden 03.10.2017 Complete
London United Kingdom 04.10.2017 Complete
Madrid Spain 04.10.2017 Complete
Florence Italy 05.10.2017 Complete
Dublin Ireland 06.10.2017 Complete
Hamburg Germany 10.10.2017 Complete
Johannesburg South Africa 19.10.2017 Complete
Nantes France 07.11.2017 Register
Paris France 09.11.2017 Register

SonicWall Announces Channel Partner Award Winners at APJ Partner Summit 2017

Last week, SonicWall hosted over fifty enthusiastic partners across 14 countries at our Asia Pacific and Japan Partner Summit. Phuket with its lush and leafy surroundings and dramatic beach sunsets proved a popular location for our APJ Partner conference. Our purpose was to clearly articulate the vision for SonicWall as we build our solutions and capabilities to fight in an era of unprecedented cyber security challenges. And we cannot do this alone, it’s the combined effort of our products and our partners’ services that allow for our customers to be protected.

When we say we are a 100 percent channel company, it’s not a claim we take lightly. We are reliant on our partners and their commitment to work with us and be the trusted advisors for their customers.  Keeping up with the cyber threats is difficult, but especially so with smaller and mid-enterprise businesses where there is a limitation on the level of investment and ability to source dedicated IT security and networking resources. Partners are key to helping to impart both their knowledge, expertise and experience to help these organizations have the most effective security practices and solutions. Allowing the current distractions and disruptions in business caused by very prevalent threats such as ransomware and other forms of cyber-attack vectors, to be prevented in real-time.

We enlisted some of our key SonicWall executives to brief our partners on what we have been working on to deliver on our vision; including the focus and investment in enabling, educating and incentivizing our partners through the SecureFirst Partner Program. Our SVP of Global Sales and Chief Revenue Officer, Steve Pataky detailed some of the results we’ve seen to date since the launch of SecureFirst, including the number of newly signed partners, the uptake and utilization of SonicWall University’s role-based courses, and increase in adoption of Capture Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) Services to provide a stronger level of protection to customers.

Dmitriy Ayrapetov, Executive Director of Global Product Management detailed our product and solutions road-map for the next two quarters – giving the partners a sneak preview into what is going to be launched into the market over the coming quarters to strengthen our existing portfolio. Gary Staff, Director of Global Services brought fresh insight into partner service opportunities that will be available to our partners to deliver even more value to their customers. And Keith Trottier, Vice President of Global Client Services and Support exemplified the steps SonicWall has taken to improve our customer and technical support, and how we are working to further refine and extend our capabilities.

To me, one of the best parts of the APJ Partner Summit was the Partner Advisory Break-Out sessions run to garner feedback on several key topics to ensure we are listening to the partners and what they are experiencing on the front line. This keeps us in sync with their needs, brings fresh ideas to the table and makes us accountable to ensure that working with SonicWall is helping them solve their customer problems and be impactful to their own success.

Our APJ Partner Summit concluded with an awards evening to recognize those partners who exemplify commitment to the SonicWall SecureFirst program and achieved substantial sales growth over the last year leveraging our full solutions portfolio. The awards highlighted partner excellence for Distribution, Channel Partners, and Emerging Partners.

I’d like to extend congratulations to the following winners:

Country/Region Awards Winners:

APJ Award Winners:

Events such as these are always a great reminder of the mutual success we share with our security partners, and the together we are working to protect our mutual customers from known and unknown adversaries.

The feedback we received from our partners reaffirmed that there is a clear need to allow IT to move away from being an obstacle to the business to becoming an enabler, with technologies that protect from threats, but still provide easy access for all workers, especially those who are mobile or remote.

A huge thank you to all our partners who participated – we have listened, and we will strive to continue building stronger partnerships.

Bringing a Focused Cybersecurity Education to the Front Lines with SonicWall University

When the SonicWall community separated from Dell and announced our SecureFirst Partner Program 150 Days ago, we confirmed our commitment to 100 percent fulfillment through channel partners. Since then, more than 10,000 partners across 90 countries have registered as SonicWall resellers, including 2,000 new partners.

I cite these statistics not only as a testament to the global reach of SonicWall’s solutions but as a reminder of the heightened security landscape that causes businesses to seek out our partners and solutions in the first place. The cyber arms race intensifies every year as cybersecurity teams and criminals alike enhance their techniques for outwitting their respective opponents.

Because our goal is to outwit highly knowledgeable criminals, one of our greatest assets in this ongoing battle is cybersecurity education. Many small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) rely on our partners as IT consultants to help them put the technology in place to detect and protect against breaches. This requires our partners to maintain real-time awareness of the constantly shifting threat landscape, a tall order that our partners have filled laudably. Still, many have expressed a desire for more real-time focused education that would help them provide the best possible advice based on a complete understanding of today’s current threats and technologies.

To meet this need, we are thrilled to announce an extension of SecureFirst called SonicWall University, which will help us more quickly and effectively communicate insights we have gleaned from our Global Response Intelligence Defense (GRID) Threat Network to the partner community. Partners can access the SonicWall University curriculum through a web-based platform and will receive specialized training and accreditation tailored to their role as a salesperson, systems engineer or support team member. In addition to our own curriculum, we’ll be sharing content from trusted industry sources as well as our partners themselves to ensure the full breadth of current knowledge is being distributed rapidly and effectively.

Partners have not only requested cybersecurity education for themselves, but for their customers and prospects, who may not always have up-to-date information on how to protect their infrastructure. Today we unveiled a major marketing campaign to educate SMBs on the three most prominent threats identified in the SonicWall 2017 Annual Threat Report – ransomware, encrypted communications (SSL/TLS), and advanced phishing and other email-borne attacks. Partners can apply for marketing development funds and earn special discounts and rebates for using these programs, which they can access through our new SecureFirst Partner Portal. We have had great momentum for our partners.

“As a long standing partner and direct marketer of SonicWall, we are seeing great business acceleration since SonicWall’s independence and the new programs such as the SonicWall University. We are delighted with the restoration of the SonicWall brand and the new marketing campaign ‘air cover’,” said Hillel Sackstein, President of Virtual Graffiti, Inc, a Platinum Partner and DMR.

“As a SonicWall partner, our team has already benefitted from the advantages of the SecureFirst Partner Program. The technical innovation in the SonicWall offerings are built from the ground up to secure the customer and benefit partners. The new SonicWall University with on-demand courses, certifications and accreditations will be an excellent way to deliver increased expertise to our customers.” said Eamon Moore, Managing Director of EMIT, a SecureFirst Silver partner based in Ireland.

“As a partner in Asia Pacific, we are delighted with the enhanced access and investment of the new on-demand technical resources and courses SonicWall University delivers to our teams. Since SonicWall has been independent, we have continued to push boundaries and together we have built more opportunity. SonicWall’s excellent track record of committing to innovation and delivering on their promise to better protect our customers is something we can always count on,” said Cary Wu, General Manager, SecuUnion in Asia Pacific.

“The introduction of SonicWall University is a great initiative from a company that remains committed to supporting its partners’ success. It’s critical that businesses facing today’s level of cybersecurity threats are prepared with both the latest technology and, equally as important, the cyber skills to manage that technology. With SonicWall University we’ll be able to provide our customers with even more support in a time when businesses are lacking the required in-house security skills needed. Everyone on our team is excited to get started on the SonicWall University training and accreditation to further enhance our customer offering,” said Jason Hill, Sales Director, Security, Exertis.

I could not be more delighted to introduce these initiatives and to be a part of the SonicWall community making them a reality. To our exceptional partner base, we’re excited and honored to be part of your business strategy, and it’s our great privilege to take an even more central role in educating you on today’s current threats and solutions. As you participate in SonicWall University courses and work to educate your SMB customers over the coming weeks and months, I look forward to your feedback and ideas for improving these programs. It’s our central goal to ensure you and your customers have the knowledge, training and technology you need to have more business and less fear.