Flexible Licensing Empowers MSSPs to Meet Dynamic Customer Needs

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Enterprise networks are evolving quicker than ever before, and IT teams are being asked to rapidly spin up and wind down technologies to support changing business needs, whether it’s a new application, an influx of remote workers or new agentless devices.

One way to address this challenge is to forgo traditional product licensing in favor of flexible licensing programs that allow organizations to pay by usage.

While there will always be a need for traditional licensing, utility-based pricing can reduce the procurement cycle for new security needs, simplify the deployment and provisioning cycles, and maximize budget by scaling down or pausing services as needed.

But what does this mean for managed security service providers (MSSPs)? To remain competitive, MSSPs need to offer the flexibility their customers need but many usage-based licensing programs aren’t designed with MSSP’s business model in mind. Choosing the wrong program can create costly complexity.

MSSPs shouldn’t turn away from flexible licensing programs but need to know how to select the right one. Here are four features MSSPs should look for in a well-designed utility-based licensing program to quickly address customer needs without driving up costs.

A Deep Portfolio of Products and Services

IT teams are often expected to procure and deploy solutions before they have a full understanding of their needs — and those needs frequently change. Many usage-based licensing programs include a handful of products or services with some only covering a single offering.

This undermines the growing business need to create integrated security infrastructure with unified management and the desire to consolidate point products. It also creates complexity for MSSPs who have to manage separate licensing models for different solutions often delivered to the same customer.

MSSPs should look for usage-based licensing programs that offer a wide variety of products and services that integrate seamlessly and can be managed efficiently. The cybersecurity solutions covered should span the cloud, hybrid cloud, and on-premises deployments to address modern hybrid environments.

Validated Cybersecurity Solutions

With a noisy cybersecurity market, it can be challenging for MSSPs to determine which solutions will best address their customers' security needs. Independent third-party testing offers the unbiased information MSSPs need to make informed procurement decisions. When assessing utility-based pricing programs, service providers should look for objective information on the efficacy of the included products and services.

Flexible Payment Options

One of the key benefits of a utility-based pricing program is you pay only for what you use, and MSSPs should look for programs that allow both post pay and prepay options.

Post pay allows MSSPs to create their storefront for end customers with little to no upfront cost while prepay allows providers to budget for specific projects and/or adhere to their specific investment strategies. Choose a utility-based program that offers the options you need to put solutions in your customers’ hands as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Manage Multiple Customers with a Single Account

Within most usage-based licensing programs, MSSPs need to create and manage a separate account for each customer, but this is cumbersome for providers working with multiple organizations.

The best utility-licensing programs offer multi-tenancy (the ability to manage multiple customers under a single interface) to simplify licensing management so service providers can spend less time on red tape and more time working with customers.

MSSPs should also look for a program that allows them reassign licenses across customers from a single console, so MSSPs can address their customers’ needs without worrying about overbuying.

Author Ken McCray is vice president of Channel Sales, US, Fortinet. Read more Fortinet blogs hereRegularly contributed guest blogs are part of MSSP Alert’s sponsorship program.