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

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May 13, 2024 |

SonicWall’s Transformation: How This Established Cybersecurity Company Reimagined Itself

SonicWall’s renewed commitment to its partners and MSPs underscores the importance of listening, adapting, and delivering innovative solutions.

Cybersecurity industry giant SonicWall has been a formidable presence for more than three decades, but the company is not resting on its laurels.

Rather, it is now redefining its position, offering innovative services that extend beyond its historical reputation as a firewall provider.

For one thing, the company recently introduced SonicPlatform, a single cybersecurity management platform to allow MSPs and MSSPs efficiently manage multiple client environments, automate key tasks, garner valuable insights, and more through a user-friendly interface.

It’s never easy to reimagine a company with such a long history, but SonicWall’s recent transformation will have a profound impact on MSPs, according to President and CEO Bob VanKirk, who along with Senior Vice President Michael E. Crean spoke with ChannelPro during the huge RSA Conference in San Francisco in early May.

The two executives elaborated on the company’s strategy for change, the results of the acquisition that brought Crean to the SonicWall leadership team, as well as the firm’s renewed commitment to channel partners.

A New Era for SonicWall

SonicWall offers cybersecurity services to MSPs and MSSPs.

SonicWall offers cybersecurity services to MSPs and MSSPs.

VanKirk, who has been in the top role for SonicWall for nearly two years, noted that he’s proud of how SonicWall has transformed in that time. “Not only [is there] an entire new leadership team and a new team across the bench strength, but new capabilities.”

In particular, he emphasized how SonicWall’s acquisition of Crean’s former company six months ago, Solutions Granted, has been significant for the company. “We’re starting to see all those efforts bear fruit, which is really exciting, with our focus on partners and MSPs.”

Despite being a 33-year-old company, SonicWall has truly reimagined itself, Crean noted. “Everybody looks at us as nothing more than a firewall company; that is our DNA and history, but we are so much more than that today. We’ve got these amazing cloud services, and we’ve got our own SOC and MDR offerings. We are becoming far more than what most people know us for.”

Incorporating An ‘Outside-in’ Approach

A significant aspect of SonicWall’s evolution is rooted in leadership principles that prioritize listening to partners and adapting to their needs, VanKirk said.

“We took an intentional approach here two years ago that I call ‘outside in.’ Instead of coming up with a road map and sharing it with our partners, we intentionally across every function said, ‘We’re going to listen to our partners.’ Talk less, listen more. What are your needs? What are your pain points? Where are you heading? And then we are going to reshape our road map.”

Crean echoed this sentiment, emphasizing the importance of leadership belief and action. “You have to believe in it yourself. If we don’t believe in who we want to be and who we are becoming, then nobody else is going to follow us. If we want people to believe in this, then we’ve got to show it. We’ve got to act upon it and make sure that we’re carrying through on our commitments.”

The MSP-centric Approach

SonicWall's transformation will have a profound effect on the IT channel.

SonicWall’s transformation will have a profound effect on the IT channel.

SonicWall’s commitment to MSPs is evident in its tailored solutions. VanKirk explained, “It’s meeting our MSP’s where they are, understanding our capabilities need to enhance theirs, understanding how they are being asked to build their customers and making sure that we align to that, understanding how we can best support them to then support their customers.”

SonicWall’s platform now provides seamless integration for best-of-breed solutions, a significant shift from previous practices. “It’s an open platform we need to support other integrations. We need to ensure that we’re allowing partners to really pull in the best of breed,” VanKirk emphasized.

Crean added that the company will support firewalls and offer SOC services, as it traditionally did, but then do even more. “Of course, we are, but we’re going to do it for Checkpoint, Palo, Watchguard, Fortinet, … and all of these other fantastic brands.”

Delivering Results and Building Trust

SonicWall’s efforts are beginning to yield tangible results, according to VanKirk.

However, the company is not done making big changes, he added. “It’s not in any way, shape, or form time to get complacent. We’re really excited about the trajectory that we’re on and where we’re heading.”

This transformation has already garnered positive feedback from partners, VanKirk recounted. “When you get a call unsolicited from a 15-year partner saying, ‘Bob, just wanted you to know that outside-in approach that you’ve been talking about, it’s working. We look forward to being with you another 15 years.’ Those words are worth their weight in gold.”


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