SonicWall swallows Solutions Granted amid cybersecurity demand surge

CEO Bob VanKirk makes near-20-year partnership official, teases big things coming to EMEA

Channel-focused cybersecurity company SonicWall is buying Virginia-based MSSP Solutions Granted – its first acquisition in well over a decade.

The move was driven by huge customer demand for managed detection and response (MDR) and extended detection and response (XDR), SonicWall CEO Bob VanKirk told The Register.

Along with a US-based security operations center (SOC)-as-a-service, the deal will mean SonicWall will be providing these services to customers for the first time.

"I just got back from two weeks in Europe and easily three-quarters of all partner conversations were: 'Hey, when are you going to offer MDR services?'" said VanKirk.

"I was in Spain, Germany, London and the same thing: We increasingly need – based upon our customers, what customers are asking of our partners – we need these capabilities. 

"What Solutions Granted brings us immediately are those capabilities – managed detection and response for endpoint, for cloud, vulnerability management, and, you know, a proven track record [of success]."

The CEO said that when he assumed the role in August 2022, it was clear that the company needed to complete its offerings with services like MDR and XDR so customers could contend with the modern threat landscape.

He also described the move as "fundamental" to the company's growth and one that better positions it with existing partners.

"One thing we're also doing, what we've implemented over the past year, is doubling down on our partners for our 100 percent partner go-to-market," VanKirk added. "We've done everything from revamping our partner program, we've done everything relative to how we can better serve, support, and provide the necessary capabilities.

"So, you know, this is fundamental to our growth, it's fundamental to what partners need in the marketplace, and we just see MSPs and MSSPs growing – their services are fundamental. The skills gap… companies can't keep up on their own, and this is a critical layer, among others, that we're looking to provide on the SonicWall side."

Financial details of the acquisition will not be disclosed, but every Solutions Granted employee will be retained and join SonicWall – something "incredibly important" to CEO Michael Crean, who will report to VanKirk.

"One of the very early statements was, 'We have to keep it together, I have to be able to bring everybody with me,'" Crean said. "Because if we don't bring them then I'm losing something that's very important to me, emotionally… if I lose one of them, it would become very impactful."

The road ahead

SonicWall has had a busy year in which it has had to find replacements for around 90 percent of its leadership roles, on top of launching an updated SecureFirst partner program in September.

Released to North American partners first and receiving "overwhelmingly positive" feedback, according to VanKirk, the new changes will be coming to EMEA in the new year, alongside additional adjustments based on partner comments.

Coming even sooner in the next few weeks is support for additional endpoints such as Microsoft Defender "and multiple others," as well as announcements surrounding AI for automation.

"Because, you know, while Michael and his team have done an incredible job supporting hundreds, up to 1,000 MSPs, when you think about our partner network of well over 10,000 we're really looking to take this out scale line," said VanKirk. 

"So AI will be a key component of that. We will also be looking to expand into other capabilities and services. So it's not only just keeping Michael in the team, but it's actually leaning into that team as we drive more value services, again, for our partners."

In the next few months SonicWall will also be debuting a Europe-based SOC – "another key service" the company should be offering, VanKirk revealed.

The location is still being kept under wraps, as is launch date, but the feedback of European partners has been heavily considered in the decision-making process. SonicWall is currently most concerned with sourcing the right talent to staff the SOC.

"It's most important to have the talent versus, you know, have everyone in a single location," VanKirk said. "Folks can be located across various geos, so we're looking at language support, timezones – all that will come certainly into consideration, but, absolutely, it will be based in Europe." ®

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