Open XDR , Security Operations

New SonicWall CEO Bob VanKirk on XDR, SASE & Going Upmarket

Discussion of SonicWall's Approach to Future M&A, Strategy in XDR and SASE Markets
Bob VanKirk, president and CEO, SonicWall

New CEO Bob VanKirk wants to capitalize on SonicWall's distributed network technology and strength in the education and state and local government sectors to expand beyond the company's traditional strength with small and mid-sized businesses and into larger enterprises. VanKirk says the company's new high-end firewalls and security management capabilities should be a natural fit for larger customers (see: SonicWall Was Hacked. Was It Also Extorted?).

See Also: The Total Economic Impact™ Of Palo Alto Networks Prisma SASE

VanKirk wants to build on SonicWall's network, endpoint and email technology to debut an XDR offering that's easy for small businesses to use and create a SASE platform that's compatible with the needs of midmarket clients through partnerships and potential acquisitions. VanKirk on Aug. 1 was promoted from chief revenue officer to CEO to replace Bill Conner, who became executive chair of the SonicWall board.

"I very much intend to maintain our leadership in the SMB space while also expanding in the enterprise," VanKirk says. "We're not going to go to the high-end enterprise right out of the starting gate. That's not our priority; that's not where we play. But we've had really, really great success as far as expanding into certain verticals."

In this video interview with Information Security Media Group, VanKirk also discusses:

  • SonicWall's strategy for seeking potential acquisition targets;
  • Top opportunities for security management services;
  • SonicWall's biggest services opportunities related to XDR.

VanKirk is focused on delivering the most security-rich, cost-effective, partner-centric and user-friendly products and services to protect organizations from constantly emerging cyberthreats. Previously at SonicWall, VanKirk overhauled the company's go-to-market structure and alignment, increasing sales effectiveness and sales efficiency. VanKirk implemented KPIs and new sales processes across the business and moved the team from overlapping quotas and territories to unique, targeted partner and customer accounts and greater accountability. He previously served as SonicWall's senior vice president of strategic sales and CMO, where he led the corporate, product management, product marketing and field marketing teams. In just over a year, VanKirk's team successfully launched record product releases, new threat data and a new corporate campaign with global marketing programs.

About the Author

Michael Novinson

Michael Novinson

Managing Editor, Business, ISMG

Novinson is responsible for covering the vendor and technology landscape. Prior to joining ISMG, he spent four and a half years covering all the major cybersecurity vendors at CRN, with a focus on their programs and offerings for IT service providers. He was recognized for his breaking news coverage of the August 2019 coordinated ransomware attack against local governments in Texas as well as for his continued reporting around the SolarWinds hack in late 2020 and early 2021.

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