'Data is the answer to a more effective digital transformation,' says SonicWall's Diane Walker

Media 7 | November 23, 2021

In this interview with Diane Walker, Senior Director of Demand Generation at SonicWall, we had the opportunity to peek into SonicWall's latest high-performance firewall models that are aimed to combat the unprecedented surge of malware and ransomware resulting from a rise in remote and hybrid workforces across enterprises. She shared meaningful insights into SonicWall's vision of cybersecurity, and how modern-day marketers need to reflect on the different levels of the digital buyer journey. Read on to discover effective approaches towards marketing to drive business growth.

Marketing’s job is to drive buying processes at scale.

MEDIA 7: In your professional marketing career, how have you mastered the ability to combine the Arts and the Sciences to create meaningful customer experiences?
DIANE WALKER:
The Creative:
Identifying a brand – most people can easily recognize familiar logos, signature colors, and entertaining campaigns, and that’s certainly part of it. But the real magic begins when you couple those thought-provoking and entertaining images with a clear, concise copy. Communicating with customers, prospects, and partners is a fine art. We focus on crafting messages using a casual narrative in a conversational tone. After all, B2B buyers are consumers too. The creative is the visual clue, designed to align with the story. We strive to engage the reader with a short story, providing insight into a business challenge they’re experiencing and how to solve for it. It’s no easy task to surprise and delight the audience while retaining the technology’s sophistication with informative and educational content. The key is to engage the reader by capturing their attention and creating intrigue to further illustrate customer benefits with desired business outcomes.

The Science:
We measure everything from overall marketing and sales performances to the tiniest detail. We monitor conversions from leads to revenue. Keeping a pulse on pipeline velocity has been a game-changer. Activities such as regular A/B testing, creating asset heat maps, and evaluating engagement trends are just a few ways we monitor the health of our programs. We are constantly evolving – process improvement, program experimentation and integration across all marketing channels are critical. We evaluate and adjust strategies and tactics as needed by restructuring low performers and replicating the components of our highest-performing content and programs. We leverage marketing automation, intent data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning to define audience profiles. The approach includes Account-Based Marketing, industry verticals, role-based targeting, re-engagement, and more. We are close partners with Marketing Operations. Our focus is to reach the right person at the right time with the right message. Creating an orchestrated, digital experience requires data-driven decisions, experimentation, and innovation.


 

M7: How does SonicWall mitigate the risks for enterprises with remote and mobile workforces?
DW:
To be effective, cybersecurity must provide mobile employees with easy and secure 24/7 access to key business resources in an agile, easy-to-use, cost-effective, and scalable way. This requires a zero-trust posture regarding any mobile device attempting to connect with corporate resources, whether those resources be on-prem or in the cloud. Secure mobile access is a core component of a zero-trust approach to anywhere, anytime access. IT must also secure access from these mobile endpoints with limited budgets and skilled staff resources. This means streamlining deployment, availability, and support to the lower total cost of ownership.

SonicWall Secure Mobile Access provides distributed enterprises with comprehensive end-to-end secure remote access to corporate resources hosted across on-prem, cloud, and hybrid datacenters. It applies identity-based, policy-enforced access controls, context-aware device authentication, and application-level VPN to grant access to data, resources, and applications after establishing user and device identity and trust. SonicWall Central Management Server enables organizations, distributed enterprises, and service providers to centrally manage and rapidly deploy secure access solutions, either deployed on a private cloud as a virtual appliance or on a public cloud (AWS or Microsoft Azure) using Bring Your Own License (BYOL).

Read More: People now just want news that's true, says Ivar Krustok, Head of Data Science and IT at Ekspress Meedia


Communicating with customers, prospects, and partners is a fine art.



M7: SonicWall recently turned 30 as a global cybersecurity leader. As a team, how did you commemorate this milestone and what do you hope to achieve as you step into a new year?
DW:
Throughout August 2021, SonicWall celebrated its heritage –  the customers, employees, product innovation, and channel DNA that have helped shape SonicWall over the past three decades and will continue to inspire us in the years ahead. As a company, SonicWall celebrated its leadership and heritage across 30 years in the cybersecurity industry. We celebrated our customers for their loyalty and being part of decades worth of innovation and security. SonicWall recognized employees, the hard-working people who made the company what it is today — many of whom are still employed with us today. We highlighted our product innovation across three decades of growth.

SonicWall applauded its global partners who serve as the heartbeat of the organization, which has always been 100% driven by the channel. We armed our employees, customer communities, and partners with 30-year badges, banners, email signature blocks, and virtual meeting backdrops. There were contests with prizes for best photos and shared lots of memorable stories through blogs and social media posts. While the last five years were important chapters in this journey, we have more goals to achieve, milestones to mark, and history to be made. SonicWall is always forward-looking. And that’s how the company — and its people — has been a mainstay in the industry for more than 30 years.


M7: This year, SonicWall released three new high-performance firewall models. How can enterprises and large organizations around the world benefit from these new products?
DW:
If we’ve learned anything during the unprecedented surge of malware and ransomware this year with 70% of full-time workers working from home in hybrid multi-cloud environments – we’re more vulnerable than ever. For organizations, it’s all about choice. SonicWall’s growing virtual, cloud, and hybrid offerings leverage the best of the company’s Boundless Cybersecurity approach to provide deployment choices to the customer while solving real-world use cases faced by SMBs, enterprises, governments, and MSSPs. This year, we launched the power and flexibility of the 7th generation firewall advancements that bring enterprises to a level where they can stop attacks from many vectors.

Our vision for cybersecurity is to protect organizations from the broadest spectrum of intrusions, pre-emptively reduce cyber risk, and achieve greater protection across devices, new perimeters, and network segments more efficiently while lowering the total cost of ownership. Our next-generation firewalls protect organizations from the broadest spectrum of intrusions, pre-emptively reduce cyber risks, and achieve greater protection across devices, new perimeters, and network segments more efficiently while lowering the total cost of ownership.

Read More: Listen to your customers, advises Christopher Penn, Co-Founder and Chief Data Scientist at TrustInsights.ai


Creating an orchestrated, digital experience requires data-driven decisions, experimentation, and innovation.



M7: What does modern-day marketing mean to you and how do you leverage these developments to facilitate increased demand and business growth?
DW:
Marketing’s job is to drive buying processes at scale. Communicating with both customers and prospective customers where they are engaged is key. If our audience understands the message, then that message will create a brand affiliation to help them move forward in the buying process. The buyer’s journey is not linear. Decisions are made by diverse buying groups with different needs and engagement patterns. We need to reflect on the multi-stage, multi-touch digital buyer journey.

Marketing platforms, tools, and processes have come a long way over the past decade. It’s exciting to see the advancements in data intelligence. Data is the answer to a more effective digital transformation. It shows us where to find opportunities and gives us insight into how we can win more business. Connecting with Sales makes a measurable impact. We are enabling front-line qualification sales teams with lead information that includes the context of what product or solution the account has shown interest in, suggested contacts to follow up with, and content to start those outreach conversations.


M7: According to you, what are some of the best practices for effective marketing strategies that drive business growth?
DW:
There are so many components to an effective marketing strategy. “Know thy customer” is the golden rule. Profiling the ideal customer helps us formulate strategies to pursue net new customers. Who are they? What do they care about? When are they typically ready to buy? Where are we successful in helping them solve their business challenges? How do we create real business value? Why choose SonicWall? Understanding the customer experience is paramount to customer satisfaction as well as net-new customer acquisition. Based on your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP), you can build the propensity to buy models which will lead to net-new opportunities.

Today’s marketers must be revenue marketers. Guideposts include: Understanding the business, monitoring and interpreting performance metrics, and creating targeted pipeline acceleration programs to increase revenue velocity to closed-won revenue.
This year, the demand generation team has been focused on innovation and integration. Innovation for us means embracing new ideas and trying new approaches and tactics – everything from creative services and messaging to marketing operations and sales. We have had tremendous success leveraging automated nurture programs within our Marketing Automation Platform (MAP). Integration planning across the marketing and sales ecosystem is being achieved through collaboration between the marketing and field organizations. To date, our efforts have paid dividends. One company, one voice.

ABOUT SONICWALL

SonicWall delivers Boundless Cybersecurity for the hyper-distributed era and a work reality where everyone is remote, mobile and unsecure. By knowing the unknown, providing real-time visibility and enabling breakthrough economics, SonicWall closes the cybersecurity business gap for enterprises, governments and SMBs worldwide. For more information, visit www.sonicwall.com.

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Fortinet® (NASDAQ: FTNT), the global cybersecurity leader driving the convergence of networking and security, today announced it has formed the Veterans Program Advisory Council, made up of a global board of esteemed members from organizations that support the military veterans community across the Five Eyes countries: United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia. Members will provide counsel on how Fortinet can continue meeting the needs of military veterans looking to transition into the cybersecurity field. Military veterans have many complementary skillsets that make them ideal candidates for cybersecurity roles, including discipline, problem-solving under immense pressure, situational awareness, and an understanding of the importance of maintaining a strong defense posture. 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ZeroFox | September 22, 2023

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Fortinet Announces Formation of Veterans Program Advisory Council to Narrow the Cybersecurity Skills Gap with Military Veteran Talent

GlobeNewswire | September 29, 2023

Fortinet® (NASDAQ: FTNT), the global cybersecurity leader driving the convergence of networking and security, today announced it has formed the Veterans Program Advisory Council, made up of a global board of esteemed members from organizations that support the military veterans community across the Five Eyes countries: United States, United Kingdom, New Zealand, Canada, and Australia. Members will provide counsel on how Fortinet can continue meeting the needs of military veterans looking to transition into the cybersecurity field. Military veterans have many complementary skillsets that make them ideal candidates for cybersecurity roles, including discipline, problem-solving under immense pressure, situational awareness, and an understanding of the importance of maintaining a strong defense posture. With the industry facing a talent shortage with an estimated 3.4 million security roles needing to be filled worldwide, the veteran community can play a key role in filling critical cyber roles with access to training, mentorship, and employment opportunities. Yet, the Fortinet 2023 Cybersecurity Skills Gap Global Research Report found that 43% of organizations indicated difficulty in recruiting qualified veterans for cybersecurity roles. At the same time, veteran turnover is high in the industry, with one key reason being the shortage of staff, leading to overwork and burnout. To further address these hurdles veterans face, the esteemed members of the Veterans Program Advisory Council with extensive backgrounds working with the military veteran community and as veterans themselves will help Fortinet strengthen its Veterans Program offerings by providing guidance on how to continue reskilling and upskilling veterans so they can start and stay in various cyber career pathways. Veterans Program Advisory Council members (listed in alphabetical order) include: Chris Barlow, Managing Director at Cerco IT Ltd (U.K.) Marty Donoghue, Chief Executive of the RNZRSA (New Zealand) Colin Grimes, Training Coordinator of TechVets Programme, The Forces Employment Charity (U.K.) Tom Marsland, Board Chairman and CEO at VetSec, Inc. (U.S.) Heath Moodie, Director of Vets in Cyber (Australia) James Murphy, Director of TechVets Programme, The Forces Employment Charity (U.K.) Bryan Radliff, CyberVets Program Manager at Onward to Opportunity, D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families (U.S.) Patrick Shaw, Founder of Cyber Catalyst (Canada) Mark Wilcox, Head of Cyber Training, Permanent Opportunities and Partnership at Cerco IT Ltd (U.K.) Fortinet’s Commitment to Supporting Veterans to Close the Cyber Skills Gap The Veterans Program Advisory Council will help build on the Veterans Program's success in providing more cybersecurity training pathways for military veterans with both existing technical background or no IT experience. Fortinet provides Veterans Program members access to its Network Security Experts (NSE) Certification Program curriculum to help them transition into the cybersecurity field and advance in their security careers through access to cyber training, professional development resources, and employment opportunities. This year, the Veterans Program is celebrating five years of helping military service members, veterans, and military spouses receive the fundamental resources they need to transition into cyber roles. Fortinet has also been recognized as a 2023 VETS Indexes Recognized Employer, further underscoring the company’s commitment to supporting the veteran community throughout their careers. Veterans Program Advisory Council Members Biographies Chris Barlow, Managing Director at Cerco IT Ltd (U.K.) Chris Barlow joined Cerco in 2003, and has since established a recruitment division for graduates through Cerco Training, a large proportion of which were British forces veterans. Chris acquired the entire business in 2017, and the company has continued to grow, prosper, and develop further. The vision for Cerco is to become a market leader in taking novice talent and guiding them to the highest levels of IT support and cybersecurity. Chris has made employment connections for new engineers with global IT companies such as Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM. Marty Donoghue, Chief Executive of the RNZRSA (New Zealand) Marty Donoghue has been chief executive of the RNZRSA since October 2020. Marty has a 35-year track record of transformational leadership, successfully building and managing teams and mobilizing volunteers in New Zealand and internationally across defense, sport, science, and in the not-for-profit sector. Marty served in the New Zealand Army for 25 years and is a veteran of Bosnia, Angola, Bougainville, and Iraq. Colin Grimes, Training Coordinator of TechVets Programme, The Forces Employment Charity (U.K.) Colin Grimes joined TechVets from the education sphere, where he worked as a primary school teacher with particular responsibility for computing across the curriculum. During his time in education, he also worked as a consultant to schools for the National Centre of Computing Education, delivering training to schools in computing and remote learning, leaning on lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic. Before this, he enjoyed a 24-year career as an air battle management specialist in the Royal Air Force. He also served as an instructor within the U.K. School of Air Battle Management, where he was responsible for training the next generation of air surveillance specialists. Tom Marsland, Board Chairman and CEO at VetSec, Inc (U.S.) Tom Marsland is a cybersecurity professional with over 21 years of experience in the information technology and nuclear power industry. He has also served over 21 years in the U.S. Navy and has a BS in IT security and an MS in cybersecurity. He is the board chairman of VetSec and the VP of technology and technical services at Cloud Range. Heath Moodie, Director of Vets in Cyber (Australia) Heath is the director of Vets in Cyber, where he is helping to build a mentoring program, running community events, and partnering with industry-leading training providers to offer employment assistance to veterans. As a five-year Australian Army infantry veteran, Heath transitioned into cybersecurity and was immediately confronted with the different cultures between the military community and civilian life. Wanting to be the change that he needed, Heath created a grassroots organization, Vets in Cyber, which is focused on helping to build a community around veterans to offer them the support they need within the cybersecurity industry. James Murphy, Director of TechVets Programme, The Forces Employment Charity (U.K.) James Murphy joined TechVets from Government Digital Services in the Cabinet Office, where he was employed as the head of threat intelligence, providing strategic cyber threat intelligence advice to key decision makers within central government with specific focus on protecting national infrastructure. Prior to this, James served for 19 years in the British military, deploying to Northern Ireland, East Africa, and Afghanistan with the infantry, receiving lifelong injuries as a result of enemy action. James then served the remainder of his service in intelligence, developing the army’s exploitation capability, providing support to U.K. Defence Engagement in East Asia before delivering strategic support to global joint military operations.​ Bryan Radliff, CyberVets Program Manager at Onward to Opportunity (O2O) (U.S.) Bryan Radliff serves as the CyberVets program manager in the Onward to Opportunity Program for the D’Aniello Institute for Veterans and Military Families (IVMF) at Syracuse University. CyberVets is a skills-to-job pathway that aims to fast-track veterans into high-demand cyber careers by providing no-cost employment training, industry certifications, and career services to transitioning service members, veterans, and military spouses. Bryan is a 31-year veteran of the U.S. Army, serving as an enlisted medical supply specialist, infantryman, and an armor/cavalry officer before retiring as a lieutenant colonel. Patrick Shaw, Founder of Cyber Catalyst and Tech Vets (Canada) Founder of Cyber Catalyst and co-founder of Coding For Veterans (CFV), Pat initiated Cyber Catalyst Talent Solutions to assist veterans achieve meaningful and rewarding careers using the skills developed through their upskilling or reskilling studies. Pat curated the CFV secure software development and the cybersecurity curriculum and established the learning approach aligning widely recognized industry certification exams to meet the cyber talent needs of employers. Cyber Catalyst Talent Solutions offers job-focused microcredentialing and certifications in support of job placement. Tech Vets Canada engages veterans and military family members with career mentorship and learning support. Mark Wilcox, Cyber Training, Opportunities and Partnership at Cerco IT Ltd (U.K.) Mark has over 30 years of commercial software development experience, the majority of which has involved web technologies. Throughout his career, Mark has developed and supported complex systems for a range of clients, including the London Stock Exchange, Lloyds Bank, Ryman stationers, Debenhams, and Woolworths. In January 2022, Mark joined Cerco IT to head up the cybersecurity training and employment division. As a key architect of Cerco's Cradle to Cyber training program, an initiative to provide advanced network security skills to Cerco’s trained graduates (many of whom are ex-armed forces), Mark continues to forge relationships with internationally renowned tech and training partners, such as Fortinet and CompTIA. About Fortinet Fortinet (NASDAQ: FTNT) is a driving force in the evolution of cybersecurity and the convergence of networking and security. Our mission is to secure people, devices, and data everywhere, and today we deliver cybersecurity everywhere you need it with the largest integrated portfolio of over 50 enterprise-grade products. Well over half a million customers trust Fortinet's solutions, which are among the most deployed, most patented, and most validated in the industry. The Fortinet Training Institute, one of the largest and broadest training programs in the industry, is dedicated to making cybersecurity training and new career opportunities available to everyone. FortiGuard Labs, Fortinet’s elite threat intelligence and research organization, develops and utilizes leading-edge machine learning and AI technologies to provide customers with timely and consistently top-rated protection and actionable threat intelligence. Learn more at https://www.fortinet.com, the Fortinet Blog, and FortiGuard Labs.

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Enterprise Security

Microsoft harnesses power of AI to boost Windows 11 security, pushes for passwordless future

VentureBeat | September 27, 2023

Microsoft announced a series of new enterprise security features today that use artificial intelligence (AI) to help defend Windows 11 against increasingly sophisticated cyberattacks. The tech giant claims its new AI capabilities will reduce security incidents by 60% and firmware attacks by 300% for businesses using the latest version of its software. Microsoft’s vice president of enterprise and OS security, David Weston, explains in a company blog post that was published today specifically how AI is being used to fortify Windows 11 against sophisticated attacks, ranging from malware to firmware threats, and even nation-state attacks. At the heart of this AI-focused security upgrade is the integration of Microsoft’s Pluton Security Processor and Secured-core PCs. Both systems leverage AI algorithms to isolate sensitive data and provide defense against potential threats. IT professionals should note that these Secured-core PCs are reported to be 60% more resilient to malware than non-Secured-core PCs, a significant improvement in system defenses. Microsoft’s AI strategy also appears to be forward-thinking, with the company starting to adopt memory safe languages like Rust for traditional attack targets. Rust’s memory safety features without garbage collection make it an ideal language for building reliable and efficient systems, further multiplying the cybersecurity benefits. The end of passwords? Microsoft’s groundbreaking move Perhaps most notable among today’s announcements is Microsoft’s push towards a passwordless future, a move that could fundamentally alter the landscape of cybersecurity. Microsoft’s AI will now be used to develop and implement passkeys — unique, unguessable cryptographic credentials securely stored on a user’s device, which have the potential to replace traditional multi-factor authentication. This is a substantial leap forward in phishing protection, making it considerably more difficult for hackers to exploit stolen passwords. Microsoft says that its AI system analyzes more than 65 trillion security signals per day— with more than 4,000 password attacks every second — to identify suspicious login attempts and request additional identity verification when needed in the new system. The company also revealed a new capability called Config Refresh that relies on AI to detect and revert unwanted changes to device policies in near real-time. This allows IT teams to lock down device settings while leveraging intelligence to accommodate legitimate policy updates. Microsoft pioneers a new cybersecurity path with AI The company’s commitment to AI solutions aligns with its longstanding strategy of positioning itself as a leader in enterprise computing. By weaving AI into the fabric of Windows 11, Microsoft is demonstrating its commitment to providing businesses with secure, reliable, and forward-thinking solutions. Business analysts see this as a clear indicator of Microsoft’s strategy to leverage its AI prowess to drive growth and cement its position in the enterprise data and AI market. Given the increasing importance of cybersecurity in the modern business landscape, Microsoft’s investment in AI could pay significant dividends. However, the real test of these new AI-powered features will be their effectiveness against real-world threats. As cyber threats continue to evolve, so too must our defenses. If Microsoft’s AI enhancements can live up to their promise, they will represent a significant advance in cybersecurity and a potent tool in the fight against cybercrime. As AI continues to transform enterprise data and security, it’s clear that companies like Microsoft are leading the charge. By harnessing the power of AI, Microsoft is not just shaping its future but also the future of cybersecurity as a whole. Only time will tell how these developments play out, but one thing is certain: the era of AI-driven cybersecurity is here, and Microsoft is at its helm.

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Software Security

ZeroFox Unveils New Anti-Phishing Features to Stop Attacks at Source

ZeroFox | September 22, 2023

ZeroFox, an industry-leading provider of enterprise software-as-a-service for external cybersecurity, has announced the unveiling of multiple anti-phishing product enhancements. These updates solidify ZeroFox's position as the world leader in digital risk protection. Developed using cutting-edge AI/ML technologies and designed by a team of top-tier security experts, these new anti-phishing features boost escalated alert volume, reduce the occurrence of false positives, and expedite the process from threat identification to initial disruption and successful takedowns for all our customers. The importance of these new features cannot be overstated, especially given the rising threat landscape. In the first half of 2023, ZeroFox Intelligence has recorded a substantial increase in the volume and complexity of phishing attacks, including a 30% surge in domain takedowns compared to the first half of 2022. New ZeroFox phishing trend research also highlights the adoption of evasion techniques like cloaking alongside emerging tactics such as SEO poisoning and phishing-as-a-service. These developments underscore the critical role of these new capabilities in safeguarding against evolving cyber threats. Continuous and Complete Protection Against Domain-based Threats ZeroFox adopts a unique approach to phishing compared to email security and conventional anti-phishing providers. Its strategy revolves around the identification, disruption, and elimination of the domains necessary for launching phishing campaigns. With daily monitoring of over 65 million domains, ZeroFox combats various threats like typo squats, subdomain spoofs, homoglyphs, and other malicious domain and URL-based attacks, effectively shielding customers and preventing any disruptions to business operations. Incorporate advanced domain protection capabilities to enhance their cybersecurity measures, aiming to achieve substantial and measurable business outcomes: Reduce Phishing Risks with Anti-Cloaking Capabilities: Strengthen Compliance and Trust with SSL Monitoring Secure Brand Identity with Favicon Search Improve Operational Efficiency with Enhanced Subdomain Coverage Enhance User Experience (UX) with Weblog Monitoring Mike Price, Chief Technology Officer of ZeroFox, said, ZeroFox has been detecting and disrupting phishing attacks for the last decade, constantly enhancing our solution to protect our customers from changing phishing techniques used by threat actors, including the widespread use of malicious cloaking and subdomains techniques. [Source – Globe Newswire] Price stated that the enhanced capabilities being announced represented their ongoing commitment to tackling the increasing phishing challenge encountered by security teams. He emphasized that as phishing continued to evolve, ZeroFox would remain a trusted anti-phishing partner dedicated to safeguarding customers from both current and future phishing techniques. About ZeroFox ZeroFox, a prominent enterprise software-as-a-service provider in the field of external cybersecurity, has revolutionized security beyond the corporate perimeter on the internet, where businesses conduct their operations and threat actors are active. Their platform seamlessly integrates cutting-edge AI analytics, digital risk and privacy protection, full-spectrum threat intelligence, and a robust set of breach, incident, and takedown response tools. This enables them to uncover and disrupt various threats, including phishing and fraud campaigns, botnet exposures, impersonations, credential theft, data breaches, and physical threats that target domains, brands, personnel, and assets.

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