SonicWall CEO: Creating New Opportunities

By:
03/04/2011
From the Road

SonicWall once focused on small and midsize businesses, but its introduction earlier this year of a next-generation firewall line dubbed SuperMassive leaves no doubt that the company is now taking aim at larger enterprises. InfoWorld Editor in Chief Eric Knorr and I talked with CEO Matt Medeiros about the privately-held company’s growth strategy and how the right security can improve productivity.

Recognize new opportunities

SonicWall has always worked with small businesses, but also had enterprise customers who used its products in remote branch offices. The enterprise customers suggested SonicWall could sell to big corporate data centers as well. “So we developed a product road map that would suggest we could do that,” Medeiros said. SonicWall still serves its traditional customers, however. “I have never seen a virus or malware that is prejudicial,” he said. The difference between selling to small and large companies has to do with capacity. “There were certain features that were going to make a big difference in that data center environment that we didn’t necessarily have to provide in an SMB environment.”

Promote solving problems

The next-gen firewall lets customers see what’s happening on their networks and prescribe ways to improve security, network productivity and employee productivity. “People will buy the logic that this application awareness addition [is part of the way] for IT departments to be more in line with the business objectives of a company,” Medeiros said. For example, companies can allow workers to use applications such as Facebook for business, but be able to block games such as Farmville.

Show customers how to work smarter

Rather than restrict activity, “we have to unleash the power of the network,” Medeiros said. Employees should be able to use any device and any “business worthy” application as long as the CIO, CFO or CEO can manage who has access to the apps, where people access them and how much time they spend using them. “You might look at the data pool and see that 20 percent of the time people are doing things that I would not [consider] work,” Medeiros said. “But guess what: they’re working 12 hours, 14 hours a day. If business leaders approach application awareness the right way, they’re going to be heroes, not goats.”

Insiders, read the complete interview with Matt Medeiros. Not an Insider? Register here.

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