In life, a thread is a fragile dream and the opening of the needle is the window of opportunity. One who has the flair to set the thread in the needle will successfully stitch the attire of success. Creating a wardrobe of milestones in a tech-enabled world isn’t something that can be achieved overnight.
One such success-driven persona, with a career spanning more than 30 years across high-tech industries, is Bill Conner. With a bachelor’s in mechanical engineering from Princeton University and MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, Bill is a corporate turnaround expert and global leader in security, data and infrastructure. Some of Bill’s notable milestones include taking Nortel into enterprise data networking with the $9 billion (USD) acquisition of Bay Networks and later spinning out Entrust, a leader in identity-based security technology.
Bill positioned Entrust to be acquired by private equity leader Thoma Bravo in 2009. After being the president and CEO of Entrust for almost 13 years, the team strived hard to sell the company for 6.5 times Thoma Bravo’s original investment. In 2016, Bill joined SonicWall as the President and CEO.
CEO’s Take on Current Scenario
“In a constantly evolving cybersecurity landscape, it is critical for SonicWall to deliver cutting-edge solutions to combat the growing number of attacks,” states Bill. In the first six months of 2018, SonicWall Capture Labs threat researchers recorded 5.99 billion malware attacks. Ransomware attacks also surged to 181.5 million in 2018, marking a 229 percent increase over the same time period in 2017. Also, 69.7 percent of web sessions were encrypted by SSL/TLS standards, leading cybercriminals to hide malicious payloads in encrypted traffic. This trend led to encrypted attacks increasing 275 percent compared to the same time in 2017. Further, SonicWall’s patent-pending Real-Time Deep Memory Inspection (RTDMI™) technology stopped more than 12,300 never-seen-before cyberattacks and malware variants such as those found in PDFs, Microsoft Office documents, and chip-based attacks such as Meltdown, Spectre and Foreshadow.
Steered by Bill, SonicWall’s automated, real-time breach detection and prevention platform protects customers and mitigates advanced attacks, including ransomware, zero-day attacks and other unknown threats.
SonicWall has been fighting the cybercriminal industry for over 26 years defending small, medium-size businesses and enterprises worldwide. Backed by research from SonicWall Capture Labs and the formidable resources of over 26,000 loyal channel partners around the globe, SonicWall’s award-winning, real-time breach detection and prevention solutions secure more than a million business and mobile networks and their emails, applications and data. This combination of products and partners has enabled an automated real-time breach detection and prevention solution tuned to the specific needs of more than 500,000 organizations in over 200 countries and territories.
Bill leads SonicWall to deliver best-in-class solutions, including:
Capture Cloud Platform – Delivers SonicWall’s complete portfolio with intelligence including Capture Labs Threat Network, reporting, analytics, visibility from the Capture Security Center and advanced threat prevention by Capture ATP sandbox.
Capture Security Center — Helps form the foundation for a unified security governance, compliance and risk management strategy. By establishing a holistic, connected approach to security orchestration, Capture Security Center can federate all operational aspects of the SonicWall security ecosystem.
Next-Generation Firewalls – Available as hardware or virtual appliances, SonicWall firewalls deliver network security, control and visibility for small- to medium-sized businesses, mid-tier enterprises, data centers and service providers.
Capture Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) – This cloud sandbox service is designed to discover and stop unknown, zero-day attacks. Capture ATP includes Real-Time Deep Memory Inspection (RTDMI) to help customers identify and mitigate insidious memory-based threats, future Meltdown, Spectre and Foreshadow exploits, as well as malicious PDFs and Office files.
Capture Client – An endpoint protection solution that applies advanced threat protection techniques, such as machine learning and system rollback.
Web Application Firewall (WAF) – Designed with advanced web security tools and services to keep data unexposed and web properties safe and undisrupted in peak performance.
Secure Mobile Access (SMA) Appliances – A unified secure access gateway that enables organization to provide anytime, anywhere and any device access to any application. SMA delivers a granular access control policy engine, context-aware device authorization, application level VPN and advanced authentication with single sign-on to enable organizations to move to the cloud with ease, and embrace BYOD and mobility in a hybrid IT environment.
Email Security – To better protect communications, SonicWall Email Security scans a wide range of email attachment types and analyzes them in the cloud-based, multi-engine Capture ATP sandbox to block suspicious attachments until they are reviewed by an authorized administrator.
Meet the Supportive Leader
Bill takes great pleasure in working with the industry’s most talented cybersecurity experts. This empowers him to design and build real-world solutions that protect users from today’s most advanced cyberattacks. This inspires Bill to push standards and empower organizations in the cyber arms race.
Driving SonicWall in an ever-evolving threat landscape, Bill consistently faces a myriad of complexities from every angle, particularly as the organization positions itself ahead of modern cybercriminals. “This is a daunting task, but it’s the name of our game. And we’re good at it,” says Bill.
Bill has been instrumental in executing an aggressive strategy to achieve market leadership across a variety of measures. His impetuses on the following key factors that made SonicWall an independent company and a leader in the market include:
Channel Development – This helped SonicWall to distribute its solutions exclusively through channel partners, launching the successful SecureFirst Partner Program, which has grown to in excess of 26,000 committed partners worldwide.
Partner Enablement – To support the success of the channel partners, the company introduced SonicWall University in April 2017. It offers free on-demand training to make onboarding easier and help partners quickly capitalize on customer opportunities and increase revenue.
Product Innovation – Over the last nine months SonicWall has delivered 24 new and updated products along with 160 million lines of code.
Having a word with Bill regarding the success of SonicWall, he said “Our leadership team works hard to ensure that vision becomes reality. We’re committed to stretching goals and providing the support, innovation and enablement our customers and partners deserve and expect.”
Illuminating the Young Minds
For the young generation desiring to be a successful entrepreneur, Bill asserts, “Discover what you’re truly passionate about and — what’s equally important — learn what you don’t like and why. Build a foundation of knowledge that starts at the very base of the industry you’re interested, no matter what it may be.”
Bill believes cybersecurity’s value proposition will depend upon the organization’s way of protecting its assets, not by a vendor solving it thoroughly. Once companies properly segment networks and begin protecting them differently, there will be a significant change seen within the market. He adds, “I also believe cloud and mobile technology will play a significant role in how business and security will evolve. While their benefits are game-changing, from a security perspective it introduces an entirely new set of risks.”
To tackle these advanced risks, both traditional and emerging security technologies need to withstand market complexities. Technology is driving new architectures that bring unforeseen security and privacy issues. Acknowledging that security and privacy issues are finally being exposed and talked about by governments, businesses and individuals, Bill emphasizes that the world will witness more powerful cybersecurity solutions in the future.