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SonicWall Names North American Channel Chief

Michelle Ragusa-McBain (pictured) joins CRO Jason Carter and others on a new management team working to expand the vendor’s footprint among MSPs through efforts that include the forthcoming rollout of a revamped partner program. By Rich Freeman

SonicWall has named Michelle Ragusa-McBain its new channel chief for North America.

The hiring is one of several measures, along with the forthcoming introduction of a revamped partner program, aimed at expanding the company’s MSP channel, according to Jason Carter, SonicWall’s CRO.

“We understand that the managed security space will be growing at a faster clip than traditional technology deployments in the coming years and beyond, so we’re really leaning into the MSP community,” he says.

Ragusa-McBain, whose official title is vice president and North America channel chief, most recently served in Cisco’s channel organization. In her new role, she will be responsible for helping SonicWall drive recruitment and engagement with resellers and MSSPs, in addition to MSPs.

“SonicWall is uniquely positioned to empower MSPs and MSSPs to help them focus on growing their business,” Ragusa-McBain says. “With more and more organizations investing in cybersecurity, I understand that partners have so many choices to create comprehensive security solutions. It will be my mission to ensure that SonicWall products, programs, and people will be a key differentiator as partners look to protect customers in a challenging threat landscape.”

A well-known security vendor with some 17,000 partners worldwide, SonicWall by its own admission has yet to establish a serious footprint with MSPs. 

“We know that with our solution, we’re a great fit for the MSP community and we haven’t been as active in that space as we needed to be,” Carter says.

The new partner program, due toward the middle of the year, will provide a unified home for MSPs, MSSPs, and VARs. MSPs will also have access to deal registration for the first time, along with free online training and “quick start” materials intended to accelerate the onboarding process.

“It’ll be pretty revolutionary,” says Carter of the new program, adding that SonicWall will increase the number of services and products its partners can bill on a subscription basis this summer too. The vendor’s longer-term goal is to make all of its offerings available via subscription by early next year.

In the meantime, new backend rebates and sales incentives aimed at rewarding MSPs for switching away from SonicWall competitors will arrive later this month. “We will match the margin that they’re getting from their current vendor, plus one,” Carter says.

A wider range of API-based links to RMM, PSA, and other managed service line-of-business tools is on the way as well. “One of the things that we’re heavily investing in is making sure that within the MSP community we have the right integrations into the right platforms,” Carter says.

A longtime SonicWall veteran who was previously the vendor’s executive vice president of Americas channels and global installed base programs, Carter became CRO in January. He is part of a new leadership group assembled by Bob VanKirk, who himself became president and CEO of the company last July. VanKirk replaced Bill Conner, who is now the company’s executive chairman.

Other recently appointed executives include Chief Product Officer Peter Burke and Executive Vice President of Global Product Management Chandrodaya Prasad. According to Carter, growing sales to small and midsize businesses is one of the new management team’s top objectives. 

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Rich Freeman's picture

Rich Freeman is ChannelPro's Founding Editor

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