How MSSPs Can Improve Customers’ Security Posture

The success of your customers’ cybersecurity efforts depends on their ability to recognize modern threats across their distributed network architectures. However, as the capabilities of cybercriminals continue to expand, what may have once been an effective cybersecurity strategy may now be obsolete. Moreover, critical vulnerabilities may have crept into your customers’ networks that they aren’t aware of that can serve as attack vectors for modern cyberattacks. This situation is even more challenging when it comes to legacy security solutions that may not be ready for the next generation of cybersecurity.

In order to ensure your customers are maintaining rigid and effective security postures, it’s crucial that they have extensive visibility into the network vulnerabilities that exist across their security stack, as well as the modern threats facing their networks today. Given that organizations share an equal risk of cyberattack regardless of size, having extensive and current security awareness can make the difference between effectively preventing an attack or a successful network breach.

With this in mind, cyber threat assessment programs allow partners to provide their customers with the security awareness they need to establish and maintain consistent and effective security posture, especially during digital transformation efforts. By implementing a CTAP, organizations can quickly identify threats and expose network vulnerabilities found within their networks and then leverage tailored security remediation recommendations to address the specific vulnerabilities of your customers.

Providing Improved Posture with a Cyber Threat Assessment Program

Effective network architectures rely on their ability to remain agile despite constantly evolving advanced and persistent threats. In this effort, knowing where an existing security posture is effective—and where it’s not—can make all the difference. However, when it comes to understanding if a current security posture can stand up to the modern threat landscape, there are two paths that an IT team can follow: wait for a successful network breach to happen or run validation testing.

CTAPs give your customers deep visibility into the state of their security posture to help them shift their defense strategies away from reactive attack mitigation and toward active threat prevention—providing visibility across three key areas:

  1. Security and Threat Prevention: Threat assessment programs not only help identify network vulnerabilities, but frame them in relation to the malware/botnets associated with your customers’ networks. From there, those devices particularly at risk to these kinds of cyberthreats can be identified and properly secured.
  2. User Productivity: A CTAP provides customers with extensive visibility into peer-to-peer, messaging, and other application usage, providing cybersecurity teams with greater visibility into and control over their networks.
  3. Network Utilization and Performance: The assessment program also provides insights into the throughput, session, and bandwidth usage requirements customers have during peak traffic—providing network utilization and monitoring to enable optimal performance.

What’s more, a cyber threat assessment program provides data on the threats and attacks your customers may currently be facing in their live production environment. An effective CTAP can identify sophisticated attacks designed to avoid detection by bypassing traditional security firewalls and other detection tools. For your customers – particularly those that have not implemented security strategies aimed at identifying advanced threats – a CTAP can be especially useful.

The Cyber Threat Assessment Program Process

For partners looking to provide their customers with Fortinet’s CTAP assessment, the process is simple. It involves logging into the CTAP portal, applying a provided FortiGate configuration file, connecting a FortiGate device to your customer’s network, and letting it collect data for three to seven days. That’s it.

Once completed, logs can be uploaded back to the CTAP portal or sent to a hosted FortiAnalyzer for analysis. Then you simply log back into the CTAP portal, generate your customer’s report, and set up a meeting to discuss their CTAP findings with them.

The Benefits of CTAP

Given that our Global Threat Landscape Report for Q3 reported that FortiGuard Labs detected more than 34 thousand unique malware variants for the quarter, it’s safe to say that organizations with limited visibility into their security posture across the network are at a significantly high risk of serious attacks. With this in mind, CTAP provides the fundamental knowledge your customers need in order to evaluate their current efforts and realign their strategies to better address the modern threat landscape. Diving deeper, running CTAPs provides several benefits for partners and their customers:

Benefits for Partners:

  1. Assessment results help open a dialogue with customers regarding their unique vulnerabilities, the current threats they face, and the areas where organizations like Fortinet can actively help them address their cybersecurity needs.
  2. The ability to run CTAPs provides partners with in-depth, granular knowledge of their customers’ unique network infrastructures, vulnerabilities, and security needs—allowing them to provide tailored services unique to the needs of the individual organization.
  3. When customers have clear insights into their networks backed by real-time intelligence, their subsequent security needs are clearly defined. This translates to accelerated purchase decisions, shorter sales cycles, and higher close rates.
  4. CTAPs also serve as a way to demonstrate the importance and necessity of a Security Fabric, highlighting crucial fabric elements across the network infrastructure.

Benefits for Customers:

  1. Customers get to evaluate their security posture before an attack, enabling them to proactively address security vulnerabilities that have the potential to seriously impact their business.
  2. CTAPs also provide insights into their network architecture’s performance capabilities, allowing them to understand their capabilities during periods of high-traffic, while illustrating their network’s needs and limitations.
  3. The assessment program also allows customers to evaluate the effectiveness of solutions within their real-world environment without any disruption to their existing network. This provides an in-depth analysis of their security postures without impacting their organization’s mission.

Final Thoughts

As the threat landscape continues to shift, your customers need the ability to remain agile in their cybersecurity efforts, adopting the strategies and solutions needed to combat modern threats without compromising the integrity of the digital business objectives. With this in mind, Fortinet’s Cyber Threat Assessment Program provides partners with the ability to assess customer security posture and provide tailored recommendations specific to their individual network architecture.

This enables partners to not only provide higher levels of service and security for customers, but it also provides a significant opportunity to demonstrate the value of Fortinet solutions and expose customers to a wider array of essential security solutions.

  • Learn more about Fortinet's Cyber Threat Assessment Program on the Partner Portal.
  • Sign up for our weekly FortiGuard Threat Brief to learn about breaking threat research.

Neil Matz is a senior product marketing manager at Fortinet. Read more Fortinet blogs here.