It's been a "really busy nine months", according to SonicWall CEO Bill Conner.
In November, SonicWall closed its acquisition by private equity firms Francisco Partners and Elliott Management, and today, the security vendor is announcing various evidence of channel growth, including the addition of 5,000 partners to its SecureFirst partner programme, for a grand worldwide total of 18,000.
In addition, the 100 percent channel vendor has revealed that partner deal registration has grown 50 percent since SonicWall gained independence from Dell with $330m (£247m) in new pipeline.
"We had a really busy nine months… whether it's financial performance, operating performance and now starting to do our innovation piece, partly [with third-party partners] and then we start the real next generation of SonicWall internally," Conner said.
In the last nine months since becoming independent, SonicWall has also launched Dell EMC-branded SonicWall gear, through an OEM deal with Dell EMC around its next-generation firewall offerings in the US and Canada.
"Dell's still our largest partner. Now that we can brand our product into Dell as Dell products sell with their other products and capabilities so it's homologous in terms of their solutions and platforms, that's a great thing for their customers, their partners, Dell and us. I've got the best of that world now," Conner said.
"Secondarily, I've got the best of partners and channels that are not associated with Dell and want to be independent on their own. SecureFirst is… thriving on those pieces."
Where solution provider partners are concerned, Conner said SonicWall's seeing positive feedback around its real-time breach detection and prevention strategy.
"Partners are the first line of defense for an SMB. For a long time our technologies had all kinds of capabilities in it, and we've started to take the bushel over the light off of it so you can actually see it," Conner said. "We've had deep learning algorithms in our product for over 10 years."
Further adding to SonicWall's advantage, the CEO claimed, is its Capture Advanced Threat Protection offering, a cloud-based multi-engine sandbox that uses automated remediation to identify and prevent unknown zero-day attacks at the gateway.
SonicWall is also debuting enablement that allows its partners to collaborate with other partners on deals.
"All partners aren't created equal, and a lot of them don't have [certain technical capabilities]. We can now take some of the partners that are specialised there and help them work for the other partners. We've skewed it in a way so they both make money," Conner said.
The vendor says the program is especially helpful to channel partners in the infancy stages of their partnership with SonicWall looking to immediately drive business.
Turning breaches into lemonade
Like other security vendors, SonicWall has also benefited from recent large, publicised breaches.
SonicWall University, its training enablement platform, saw favorable timing with its 29 March debut, with WannaCry seeing its initial outbreak on 15 May and Petya hitting soon after.
"Partners had a place to go that had all our grid updates, knew that our customers were updated, how they were updated and how they were protected. But a lot of our competitors weren't [similarly prepared]," Conner said.
"It's really heartening to have a place they know they can go to real-time online and know through sales or sales engineering or support by function the status in the industry. They can lean on us and take advantage of that to upgrade an end user."
Getting Dell out of its systems
While Dell has evolved from SonicWall owner to OEM partner, SonicWall still has work to do get it completely out of its systems.
Conner says SonicWall has moved out of Dell infrastructure in terms of its systems, ERP and CRM et cetera, but the merging of pieces like ERP is still in progress.
"We're on the last pieces of setting up our own infrastructure and putting the total control of our system back in our hands," he explained.
"As we take over our own systems again and really start to focus on the enablement side of making it easier to do business with [us around] the next generation of architectures, software and hardware, that's what's exciting.
"We look to the enablement side and how we can start to differentiate their business and make it easier systems-wise for all of us to collaborate, make more money together and more quickly solve our customers' needs."
Record launch ahead
SonicWall is currently gearing up for what Conner says will be its biggest product launch ever.
"A lot of partners have been with us previously around email, and some have seen what [we'll be announcing], coming back with email security and coupling that with Capture. A lot of partners have worked with us around wireless… and how that works with firewall, so they're excited to see we're going to be coming back in a major way around both of those two areas," Conner said.
The products will debut at the end of the month, along with capabilities around the managed security services provider space and updates for traditional product families and next-generation offerings, Conner said.
He said the overall strategy is to move toward the cloud for analytics and some of its product capabilities as it looks at newer attack vectors, such as mobile, email and SSL, and how to bill those.
Conner said SonicWall will tackle those markets head on by looking to drive simplicity and maintain a strong hold on the DPI-SSL space.
"We really want to focus and maintain that leadership," Conner said.
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