“We have terabytes of data to think ahead of the curve” - Atul Dhablania
SonicWall has been fighting the cyber-criminal industry for over three decades now, defending small, medium-size businesses and enterprises worldwide. 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.
Atul Dhablania, Senior Vice President, Chief Operating Officer – SonicWall and Debasish Mukherjee, Country Director India & SAARC, SonicWall in a chat with VARINDIA briefs how a brilliant combination of products and partners of SonicWall has enabled an automated real-time breach detection, helping businesses to run more effectively and fear less about security -
Why would a customer go for SonicWall at the first place?
When you look at the cybersecurity space, the most important thing is to understand who as a player has been there the longest in the market and who has got the right set of products and solutions to address the complex security ecosystem. If you look at the latest NSS report, our products have 98.9% efficacy. There is only one company that comes even close to that. So, when we look from a customer perspective, our firewalls are very easy to deploy. When you look at the SME customers, they do not have a proper IT infrastructure in place. You need to provide them the protection they need and bring that level of ease of use where they can deploy the solution and do not waste much time understanding that product. So, we have got all the right mixture of the ingredients from the perspective of a network security solution provider.
Also, when you look at the threats that are coming in, they are getting manifested in different ways. So, who has got the data to analyse what kind of threats are being experienced? SonicWall has it.
Another aspect is the channel. SonicWall is a very channel friendly company. We have a two-tier distribution model and the channel just love that. We do not have a direct sales model. So, in a nutshell, our rich product portfolio, channel eco-system and access to huge amounts of data and the ability to extract that into real-time intelligence is where our strength lies.
How do you understand threats – of what intensity it is and to what degree of harm will it do?
The nature of malware changes every day. The actors who are generating these malware are coming up with new techniques every day. What do humans do when they study a problem? – They look at what they have done in the past and modify their approach to evade certain things.
We came out with a technology called Real Time Deep Memory Inspection (RTDMI). This technology is based on Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. It is basically looking into the memory of the malware and detecting it just like a human would do. And for this you need data. In the last 8 months, we have come across more than 27,000 new malware because of our engine. Between January 2018 and September, in India, RTDMI recorded a significant increase in cyberattacks. Malware attacks rose 63% (to 298 million), ransomware attacks increased 36% (2.25 million) and 106 billion intrusion attempts were detected, which is 44% higher than last year.
You expose us to any kind of malware, we would be able to identify it. Most of the other engines available commercially would not be able to figure out if it is a malware. But with RTDMI technology, we would be able to identify a hidden malware too.
All the ML and AI algorithms depend on how rich the data is. We were talking to a company that has been in this business for five years and they want to partner with us as we have access to a huge pool of data. If you have data only for the last five years, you would have very limited knowledge of what has happened in the past. But we have got terabytes and terabytes of data and we are teaching the machine just like teaching a human brain.
We have to think ahead of the curve. Four-five years ago, we did not know what ML or AI is. But today technology has advanced to as far as Deep Learning, which is an advanced form of ML. You are looking at breaking down a problem into smaller issues. When a hacker writes an algorithm, he has the same resources as we have got with us today.
What is your R&D team like?
We have a great threat labs and research team. We have three R&D units, globally. One in the US, second in Shanghai, China and third in Bengaluru, which houses some of our strongest threat researchers. We have 291 patents granted, and 9 pending, which demonstrates the relentless level of innovation and expertise SonicWall continues to invest in.
What initiatives have you taken to educate your partners?
At SonicWall, we recognize how critical it is to equip our partners with the tools and knowledge required to compete successfully in the rapidly evolving cyber-security market. That’s why Partner Enablement is a key component of the SecureFirst Partner Program.
Our sales and technical training curriculum and resources are designed to help our partners deliver the best cyber threat protection possible while creating more value for their business. With the introduction of SonicWall University, it’s easier than ever for SonicWall Partner Sales Representatives and Sales Engineers to access the training they need to grow and support their security practice with SonicWall.
Country Director India & SAARC, SonicWall
What is the present market for SonicWall like?
The market is responding well as it is growing. SonicWall has witnessed a phenomenal growth, and has grown to be a market leader in the APJ region. Global companies have realised the huge market potential of India, which is why they are introducing product features that Indian customers are looking for.
We are majorly investing in recruiting world-class talent. We no longer look at India just from the perspective of opening a sales office. We are now looking at amplifying our business here. We have a pre-sales, marketing, R&D and post-sales (support) team in India. Our sales have doubled from last year. Moving forward, we are planning to further increase our R&D and tech support.