Threat Intelligence, Channel partners, MSP, MSSP, Ransomware, Encryption

SonicWall CEO Talks Cyber Threats, Company Transformation


SonicWall’s 2024 Cyber Threat Report is notable in that it shows a decline in ransomware, a huge increase in cryptojacking, and an overview of the other big threats that MSPs and MSSPs should have on their radar. But what you may not notice unless you compared it to previous years’ reports is that it’s a much more succinct report –shorter -- than it had been in those previous years.

That was an intentional choice, according to CEO Bob VanKirk, who spoke to ChannelE2E about the release. SonicWall created this report as something that MSPs could use in their conversations with their end-customer companies. That’s why it’s 14 pages this year instead of the 70 pages of past years.

The approach to this report is also indicative of the new approach SonicWall has taken with what it offers its channel partner customers under VanKirk’s leadership over the past couple years. SonicWall has always been a channel company. But now it is taking a very intentional approach to listening to partners and delivering on what they say they need.

“A year and a half ago when I stepped into this role I said we are going to double down on one of our biggest differentiators, our MSPs and MSSPs. We are really focused on equipping them, and this threat report is really about equipping them,” VanKirk said.

The New SonicWall Credo

Past reports did deep dives into verticals and geographies, but the audience was predominately midmarket. Now SonicWall has refocused on MSPs and MSSPs by listening to partners, VanKirk said.

“A year and a half ago when we started this transformation, the one thing I asked every single leader to do is ‘Listen more, talk less,’” VanKirk told ChannelE2E. “We want to get out in front of our partners and understand their pain points and understand their concerns.”

That’s why SonicWall hired and then promoted Michelle Ragusa-McBain last year as global channel chief.

It’s why SonicWall acquired master MSSP Solutions Granted last year, adding a 24/7/365 SOC with highly experienced SOC analysts and an agnostic approach to providing support to MSPs. It’s why SonicWall maintained Solutions Granted’s pay-as-you-go pricing for MSPs after the deal was completed, VanKirk said.

“Instead of making them assimilate into SonicWall, we are flipping SonicWall to meet their needs. Solutions Granted goes month-to-month and doesn’t require a long-term contract. That is really important,” VanKirk said. Solutions Granted’s CEO Michael Crean, is now VP of managed services at SonicWall.

SonicWall also recently added to its portfolio of capabilities with the acquisition of Banyan Security, a provider of security service edge (SSE) and zero trust network access (ZTNA).

SonicWall Cyber Threat Report 2024

This year’s report was created by the SonicWall Capture Labs threat researchers who gather, analyize and vet cross-vector threat information from the SonicWall Capture Threat network of global devices and resources including more than a million security sensors in nearly 215 countries and territories.

Among the top findings of this year’s report are the following:

  • Malware – Total global malware volume rose 11% in 2023, with Latin America and the U.S. logging the biggest jumps – (+30%) and (+15%) respectively. Surprisingly, Europe saw a (-2%) decrease, with the UK seeing the steepest decline of -28%.
  • Ransomware – Overall ransomware numbers saw a -36% decline annually, the summer months and second half of the year suggests a strong rebound, as it spiked +37% during the summer months when compared to the same time the previous year.
  • IoT Exploit  Global volume rose 15%, as connected devices continue to rapidly multiply, bad actors are targeting weak points of entry as potential attack vectors into organizations.
  • Encrypted Threats – Another quieter approach embraced by bad actors in the last year was encrypted threats, which spiked (+117%) globally.

“What’s concerning to me is that we saw a 20% increase in all types of attacks,” VanKirk said. And while ransomware gets the most attention, SonicWall detected 7.5 trillion intrusion attempts.

“Overall volume is going up,” VanKirk said. “My concern is SMBs are the backbone of our country, of our economy. They don’t have IT teams or security specialists. They have to rely on someone else which is why we are leaning hard into the MSPs. Our focus is how do we across-the-board help them out with malware, cryptojacking, and all kinds of attacks coming their way.”

Jessica C. Davis

Jessica C. Davis is editorial director of CyberRisk Alliance’s channel brands, MSSP Alert, MSSP Alert Live, and ChannelE2E. She has spent a career as a journalist and editor covering the intersection of business and technology including chips, software, the cloud, AI, and cybersecurity. She previously served as editor in chief of Channel Insider and later of MSP Mentor where she was one of the original editors running the MSP 501.