Channel partner programs, Content, Networking

McAfee, SonicWall: Security Independence Approaches

The sweet smell of freedom likely awaits both McAfee and SonicWall in November. But can the two security-focused companies, under new ownership structures, regain the channel partner magic they had several years ago?

First, a little background: Intel announced plans to spin-off McAfee in a $4.2 billion deal in September. TPG Capital is involved in the deal. On a somewhat related note, Dell in mid-2016 sold SonicWall and other assets to Francisco Partners and Elliott Management Corp. In both cases, it sounds like the McAfee and SonicWall transactions will become official in November or so.

The timing couldn't be better for McAfee partners in particular. The Intel Security Focus 2016 conference -- essentially a McAfee partner event -- is set for Nov. 1-3 in Las Vegas. Under Intel's ownership, McAfee stumbled several times -- actually killing some SaaS security services that MSPs deeply valued. McAfee watchers predict the company will become more nimble and cloud-savvy once it's free of Intel's endpoint dominance.

The situation could be similar for SonicWall. During a partner conference in August, SonicWall officials essentially conceded that the company's feature set didn't keep pace with the industry during Dell's ownership. Without necessarily bashing Dell's ownership, partners and SonicWall officials both predicted that the business will be far more nimble as an independent company.

Where's the proof? We may start to see some in November. Last I heard, the SonicWall deal could close as soon as November 1. A revamped channel partner program -- with VAR and MSP components -- also will debut soon.

Goodbye Intel and Dell. Long live McAfee and SonicWall...

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.