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Fortinet Offers VARs A Path to Managed Security Services

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Fortinet’s Stephan Tallent
Fortinet's Stephan Tallent

Fortinet was among the first companies to build MSSP-centric partner programs. Now, the security company is striving to help service-oriented VARs to push deeper into managed security services.

Complexity, cost and the cyber skills gap continue to drive demand for MSSPs, according to Stephan Tallent, senior director, managed security service providers at Fortinet.

Amid that reality, the company has expanded its Global Managed Security Service Provider Program (MSSP) to include a new Silver Level tier, plus new services enablement and technical support offerings.

The Silver tier specifically gives VARs and aspiring MSSPs key tools and guides to build profitable security practices, the company says.

Additional offerings, according to Fortinet's announcement today, include:

  • Fabric-Enabler Program: The new Fabric-Enabler Program helps members leverage specialized API integration, access to threat intelligence sharing methodologies, automation tools, playbooks, and service creation support. Members also are invited to participate in joint marketing programs and leverage branded resources, the company says.
  • Services Starter Kits: New services enablement starter kits help MSSPs address multi-cloud, SD-WAN, automation, and secure access for IoT and OT (operational technology) opportunities, the company adds.
  • Pay-As-You-Grow Model: New metered, consumption-based licensing enables MSSPs to offer a pay-as-you-grow model to clients based on the volume of traffic protected and the FortiGuard Labs threat intelligence services used in order to minimize CAPEX investments, the company says.
  • Regional Support: The expansion of regional engineering and partner services includes new regional subject matter experts and partner service managers who are tasked with helping support global MSSPs with service creation, sales, and operational alignment efforts, the company asserts.
  • Service Enablement Workshops: New workshops arm MSSPs at Platinum, Gold, and Silver Levels with access to playbooks for faster service enablement, improved operational maturity, and higher margins, as well as Fortinet support services for engineering, the company says.
  • Fortinet Veterans Program (FortiVet): The program has been expanded to help provide qualified staff for MSSPs. FortiVet facilitates the transition of military veterans into the cybersecurity industry to help close the skills shortage gap, the firm says.

The Road to MSSP: Filled With Speed Bumps?

Fortinet certainly isn't alone in its MSSP pitch. Numerous technology companies are building partner programs and products in a bid to transform VARs and MSPs into full-blown MSSPs. Still, channel partners should proceed with caution. Many VARs and MSPs seriously underestimate the time, talent and energy required to build a comprehensive MSSP practice. Others don't quite understand the types of services that a SOC (Security Operations Center) requires.

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.