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Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.

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November 17, 2023 |

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: SonicWall Bolsters Cybersecurity Portfolio by Acquiring Solutions Granted; Senior Leaders Weigh In

Michael E. Crean and Bob VanKirk underscore a shared commitment to collaboration, performance, and support for MSP partners of all sizes.

The Personal and the Professional

SonicWall has acquired Solutions Granted in a surprise move set to redefine the IT channel landscape.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, however, insights on the strategy behind the transaction were shared with ChannelPro during an exclusive interview with Michael E. Crean, former CEO of Solutions Granted, and SonicWall President and CEO Bob VanKirk.

Crean and VanKirk have been friends for more than 7 years. Their relationship was an important factor in the acquisition, as Crean takes on SonicWall’s newly created role of executive vice president of managed security services.

Michael Crean of SonicWall

Michael E. Crean
Executive VP of Managed Security Services
SonicWall

“Michael is a straight shooter and a man of high integrity,” VanKirk said. “He has always been willing to share his candid thoughts on what’s working and what isn’t. We share that approach of, ‘Listen more and talk less,’ and Michael has always communicated what he’s hearing on the ground so we can make the partner experience even better.”

Crean, who began his professional career in the U.S. Army, said what prepared him most for the acquisition was the hard work and sacrifice of his parents.

“My mom worked in a General Motors factory for 25 years. A miserable life of standing on an assembly line. But I never heard anything other than gratitude.”

A Move that Benefits the Industry

Crean spoke extensively about Solutions Granted’s 22-year journey, from VAR to government contractor and MSP to, most recently, a master managed services provider. The company knew all the things it liked and didn’t like about its vendor partners.

“We purpose built a program that was a home for everybody,” Crean explained. “It’s why we’ve done no minimums or no annual contracts. It’s why even if you are a one-man shop with 10 endpoints, you could become my new next best friend.

“Giving everybody a home has been important to Solutions Granted, and that’s exactly what SonicWall is about as well. Your size is more about what kind of discount you will get, not what kind of service you’ll get.”

VanKirk emphasized that the move is part of a larger revamping effort at SonicWall, where the leadership team is 90% new.

Short-term plans include fully supporting Crean and his team, investing further in AI, and improvements to SonicWall’s partner program, the latter of which is fully rolling out on Feb 1.

Bob VanKirk of SonicWall

Bob VanKirk
CEO
SonicWall

Both men agreed that SonicWall’s commitment to a vendor-agnostic, open ecosystem approach is critical. They detailed plans to support multiple endpoint clients, including Microsoft Defender, embodying a philosophy centered on empowering partners rather than pushing specific products.

Mic-Drop Moment

When ChannelPro asked about the strategic goals of SonicWall’s new managed security services team, Crean emphasized his intention is to “be as disruptive as humanly possible.” He vowed to make other vendors take notice of why the company is growing exponentially.

“We say security is not our job; it’s our responsibility, and we will continue to act and perform in that manner,” Crean concluded.

“That’s it, drop the mic. That sums it up perfectly,” VanKirk said, smiling.


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