10 Things Partners Can Expect From An Independent SonicWall

The Next Era Of SonicWall

While its sale is still not officially closed, SonicWall made a re-emergence before partners this week as a stand-alone network security vendor at its Peak 16 conference this week in Las Vegas. Dell said in June it planned to sell its software division to private equity firm Francisco Partners and the private equity arm of activist hedge fund Elliott Management. Executives took the main stage this week to talk about the security vendor's plans for a new partner program, new technologies and, most importantly, a new and reinvigorated approach to partners. Take a look at what partners can expect after the anticipated close date of the deal this fall.

10. Partner Focus

Going forward, SonicWall will be a 100 percent channel company, executives said at the Peak 16 event. Steve Pataky, vice president of worldwide security sales at Dell Security, said partners can expect SonicWall to ramp up its efforts around the channel as the acquisition closes, including rolling out a new program, new partner portal, cleaning up any lingering overhead from the Dell ownership, and more.

"It's all about how we can inspire you and your teams to feel good about partnering with SonicWall to protect your customers the way you need to," Pataky said.

9. Separation Already Under Way

In advance of the close of its sale from Dell, the separation of SonicWall is already well under way, both in planning and in action, executives said. The companies have already moved some executives around, naming new titles to prepare for the separation, executives said. SonicWall also announced the planned launch of a new partner program, called Secure First, which will take effect when the acquisition closes.

8. Be A Sole Entity

Previously part of the Dell Software division of Dell, SonicWall will operate as a stand-alone business after its sale to private equity this fall, said John Milburn, executive director and general manager of Dell One Identity. As a result, Quest Software, also part of Dell Software, will also operate as its own business, including the One Identity business as a wholl -owned subsidiary. The benefit of that, Milburn said, is that SonicWall and Quest Software can go to market targeting their ideal market segments and partner bases, instead of trying to meet in the middle.

"We are set up to be completely independent," Curtis Hutcheson, general manager, Dell SonicWall, said. "It's a big deal for us and we are very, very excited about it. You will see us move faster than you've ever seen us move."

7. New Partner Program

SonicWall announced the planned launch of its own, dedicated partner program, called Secure First, at the Peak 16 event. A big piece of the new program is the "Reward for Value" incentives program, which adds additional bonuses for partners above base and deal registration incentives to sell new technologies like Capture, cross-sell, upsell, sell into verticals, and build solutions, Pataky said. Partners can expect to see SonicWall taking partner feedback, undergoing a distributor review and making final preparations for the program launch in the third quarter of 2017. In the fourth quarter, SonicWall plans to launch the new Secure First partner program, bring its new reward for value incentives live and launch its new partner portal. In the first half of 2018, SonicWall plans to launch sales and SE accreditations, an MSP program and an Authorized Support Partner Program, Pataky said.

6. Distribution

SonicWall will be placing an increased emphasis on distribution after its split from Dell, Pataky said, calling it "really central to this business." Under Dell, Pataky said SonicWall didn't own the distribution relationships directly until last month, instead outsourcing it to Dell. Now, Pataky said SonicWall will be able to be embedded in the security businesses of the distributors it works with, instead of lumped into the bigger Dell ecosystem. He said SonicWall can put in aggressive programs for growth, including rewarding distributors for helping partners add value. SonicWall currently works with Ingram Micro, Tech Data, Synnex, D&H and Securematics as distributor partners, he said.

5. New Tech Innovations Coming

SonicWall execs teased the tech innovations to come as it splits from Dell. In particular, the company previewed the upcoming launch of its Cloud Global Management System (GMS), which moves the central management system for SonicWall's firewalls into the cloud, a management system that was previously only available on premise. The Peak 16 launch for partners is a preview of the solution, with a full rollout expected in the fourth quarter. SonicWall execs also pushed the company's recently launched Capture advanced threat protection solution, as well as said the company will continue to invest in innovations around network security, cloud-based management and analytics, client security, cloud security, and more.

4. Planning MSP Push

While not a push that will come in the first few months after the close, Pataky said SonicWall plans to make a concerted effort around managed service providers. That push includes the planned launch of a dedicated program in the first half of 2018. While many partners are already offering some sort of managed offering around SonicWall solutions, Pataky said SonicWall has an "obligation" to help partners with that transition, including around security-as-a-service offerings, value incentives and an MSP program.

3. Updates To Customer Support

Stephanie Mims, executive director of customer success, said partners can expect to see an enhanced focus on customer support and success efforts in the months to come. That push starts by "getting back to basics," she said, with implemented escalations functions, hot lists, rigorous case management practices, training folks on the SonicWall technology, and more. Mims said that customer success push will also come in the form of partner enablement, including a new partner portal.

"We know we have an ambitious agenda. … I'm very, very excited about what we're embarking on. … My commitment to you [our partners] is we will be transparent where we are in the transformation and we will also always ask you for feedback," Mims said.

2. Maintaining OEM Relationship With Dell

Just because SonicWall is separating from Dell doesn't mean the relationship is fully going away. Dell will remain an OEM partner of SonicWall, Hutcheson said, but will be kept at "arm's length" to prevent any concerns about channel interference. Through that relationship, Pataky said Dell partners will still be able to purchase SonicWall solutions through the Dell Partner Direct partner program, if they choose to do that instead of joining the new SonicWall Secure First program.

1. Significant Market Opportunity

One area that every SonicWall exec touched on was the massive market opportunity they foresee for the independent company. Patrick Sweeney, vice president of marketing and product management, said SonicWall is "completely aligned" to capture the market opportunity around firewalls, expected to be a $10 billion industry. Sweeney said SonicWall is adding to that opportunity with new solutions like Capture to break into the advanced threat protection space. The split from Dell will only further the company's ability to capitalize on that opportunity, he said.

"We're still SonicWall. We will emerge in November as SonicWall and when we do so it will be the name you've known and trusted. We're out here to be successful and help our partners be successful as a dedicated security company," Sweeney said.