CIO Wisdom | Get Rid of 1/2 of Your Security Vendors and Be More Secure

Shannon Emmons, Sr. Product Manager for SonicWall, spoke at my recent CIO Innovation Forum Defense event. I was really happy to be able to catch up with her afterwards.

What I am most excited about in my conversation with Shannon is her comment, “I don’t think a lot of executives staff necessarily realize the amount of console’s their organization uses to manage their security posture. It’s very challenging for the administrators and it’s very challenging to do not only roll up reporting but get a comprehensive view across that threat space.

Listen to this short video. I know you will appreciate the expertise Shannon has to share on this topic.

The full transcript of this conversation can be found below:

Shannon:   I would think though that anything in the cloud, the cloud is great in somebody else’s computer, your eyes need to be cognizant of that. Your attack surface just increased. Your attack surface is no longer inside your walls and users are mobile. They come in from everywhere, all kinds of devices and you have to be cognizant of that. The threat landscape changes almost every day. So you have to stay on top of that. Comfort is not in this industry, I don’t think.

Bill:              How important is cloud security for SonicWall, moving forward. How much they see it as is something that’s a strategic advantage they can bring to the marketplace?

Shannon:   That’s a great question. So one of the things that SonicWall has done in a very short period of time is expand our portfolio. The cloud app security space is one of those expansions, we all see, I think as many of us have worked in the tech industry for years, right? The move to cloud is just going to continue to increase. If we’re not providing protection somebody else is. One of the things that we look at, at SonicWall as a whole is a platform approach.

In my previous life, I managed a product that supported a multitude of different applications. So it’s very hard for customers to use multiple consoles, use multiple products and you want to bring them together so that they can be more effective, they can be more efficient, they can reduce their risk. One of the approaches SonicWall has taken with the capture cloud platform is to do that. This is a piece of this because if we’re not providing protection for you as a customer, whether you’re using our firewalls or wireless or in point or not somebody else is and you need to be protected. So our customers that are, whether they’re new customers or existing customers, we want them to have a cohesive protection strategy across their threat space.

Bill:              Yeah. I can’t think of anything more important right now than to figure, we talked about that today, is being able to plug multiple different security lines into an overall platform. I think that that is so critical because right now there’s just too many devices in the mid-market for people to watch and they don’t have the capital, they don’t have that talent, I mean there’s a talent shortage, they don’t have the resources to go tackle this all. So settling into one product set or settling into a platform which you can plug in different capabilities is so critical. Actually, we had talked about, okay well we are invested in Microsoft and people are going to be putting their… So we have Azure at play, we have Amazon, we have AWS and I was having an interview with the CIO of Experian last week and he says, “I don’t care which platform I’m on.”

He goes, “I’m building so I can be portable across the cloud.” He’s using Kubernetes and he’s in Docker and all of these program capabilities and I thought, that is really cool. It’s a really interesting approach for fortune 50 or 10 or whatever they may be, to be able to have the fortune to be able for it not to matter if he’s in Google cloud or anything. He doesn’t care. I thought, well gosh, that has to be the vision for the mid-market. We have to have a vision so that we don’t care where people are putting their assets. Right now, we do. But gosh, if we had this capability where you can see and govern data going into Box, Drop Box, into Microsoft, into Google, to me it would be so powerful.

Shannon:   Exactly. You hit the nail right on the head. Right? I mean, I don’t think a lot of executives’ staff necessarily realize the amount of console’s their organization uses to manage their security posture. It’s very challenging for the administrators and it’s very challenging to do, not only roll up reporting but to get a comprehensive view across that threat space.

One of the things that actually brought me to SonicWall is that I’d worked with SonicWall peripherally as a partner for years and I’ve always considered them kind of a just a firewall company. They’ve been trying to recruit me for a while and I’ve kind of been blowing them off a little. Then one day I was like, I should probably think about expanding. I’ve been here for a really long time and began stagnating a bit. I should probably think about growing. So when I went and looked at their portfolios since they had divested out of Dow, I was like, oh my gosh.  I mean, I worked for a very large security player that had a very similar trajectory in terms of being acquired and being spun out. What SonicWall has been able to do – really just hone in on the capture file platform and just start taking it to the next level continuously, is really impressive. That’s one of the reasons that I wanted to join.

Bill:              Yes, it’s funny the amount of momentum we can see because we were involved with SonicWall in the early days. Well early for us, 2005. I think they were founded in 2001. We were involved very, very early on and the team was just very assertive and they had a great growth trajectory. Then we sort of went into a bit of the dark ages with Dell. Since then, coming out it’s just complete momentum, which has been great because I think security needs that. It’s been a lot of fun. Won 51 awards last year, and people don’t understand. It’s funny, the questions coming from the audience at my CIO Innovation Forum events like the one you attended today. The space is moving quickly, but people don’t sit there and just read about a vendor, but they sit there and they actually take a step back and think, oh my gosh, you can handle the wireless, you can handle firewalls, you can handle my virtual firewalls, and my web application firewalls. Now you’ve got cloud app security. Oh really?

If you are interested in learning more about RedZone Technologies and our security expertise, particularly  related to Cloud and Email Security Kill Chain Strategy, Techniques and Tactics, you can email, or to speak to a member of my team contact us at: (410) 897-9494.