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November 1, 2016updated 07 Nov 2016 2:35pm

Life after Dell: Inside newly independent cyber security company SonicWall

After being spun off by Dell SonicWall has relaunched as an independent company, but where is it looking for growth?

By Alexander Sword

At Dell World 2015, discussing the acquisition of EMC, Michael Dell said that the major benefits would include being the only end-to-end IT provider and the scale that the buy-out would bring.

However, to fund the acquisition, Dell spun off its software business to Francisco Partners and Elliott Management. The business comprised Quest, an IT management software provider, and SonicWall, a cyber security company.

Now SonicWall, acquired by Dell as recently as 2012, is relaunching as an independent company with new leadership and ambitious plans for growth.

SonicWall is a network security provider, offering network firewalls, Unified Threat Management, VPNs, backup and recovery, and anti-spam for email. The company is the North American market share leader in the small and midsized enterprise Internet Security Appliance market.

SonicWall CEO Bill Conner.

SonicWall CEO Bill Conner.

Heading up the independent company is President and CEO Bill Conner, a veteran of tech and cyber security companies including AT&T, Nortel, and more recently, encrypted communications firm Silent Circle.

Florian Malecki, International Product Marketing Director, SonicWall, tells CBR that the new company will be “more agile, flexible, quick to respond to market developments.”

He cites this agility, as well as the opportunity to be led by a CEO from the security industry, as major benefits from becoming an independent company.

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However, Malecki says that the time in Dell has been transformational for the company.

“Dell has helped with brand recognition,” Malecki says, saying that both sides have benefited as some Dell customers became SonicWall customers and vice versa.

SonicWall

Florian Malecki, International Product Marketing Director, SonicWall.

The headline figure here is that the number of new partners offering SonicWall’s solutions grew by 20 percent in the last year.

Aside from the introduction to customers, Malecki cites the R&D investment of Dell as important to the company’s growth. He says that new owner Francisco Partner

s understands this as it has a number of similar companies under management.

The cord is not being cut completely; Dell will continue to resell SonicWall products, as it did before the acquisition.

“We have been working with Dell for at least ten years,” says Malecki.

So where will this agility take the company? The company is launching a new partner programme, SecureFirst, active from February, which will reward partners for dealing with SonicWall products. For example, there may be discounts for providing support to customers.

SonicWall will finalise the criteria for this in the coming weeks, ready for 1 February 2016. Until the end of the quarter SonicWall will remain on the Dell partner programme, but will aim to move partners onto SecureFirst.

In terms of growth, the company wants to expand its success in the firewall market beyond the SMB sector which it has been most successful in.

There are four key vertical markets that the company is focusing on as a vendor: retail, education, healthcare and public sector.

For Malecki, there is a sense of gravity to independence, coming as it does on the 25th anniversary of the company’s launch.

“We wouldn’t have survived for 25 years without making the right investments,” he says.

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