Channel partner programs, Content

Fortinet CEO: MSSPs, Channel Drive Security Momentum

MSSPs (managed security services providers) and channel partners played big roles in Fortinet's strong Q4 2018 financial results, according to CEO Ken Xie (pictured above) and CFO Keith Jensen.

Keith Jensen, CFO, Fortinet
Fortinet CFO Keith Jensen

Moreover, partners will play larger and larger roles in Fortinet's success as customers seek to deploy and secure SD-WANs, 5G Networks and other next-generation technologies, the executives predicted during Fortinet's earnings call on Wednesday, February 6, 2019.

"We've supported service providers from our very beginning more than 10 years ago," Xie asserted. Fast forward to present day and that theme continues strong. Service providers and MSSPs had a "seasonally strong fourth quarter" with Fortinet, Jensen said.

Fortinet: MSSP and Service Provider Milestones

In fact, Jensen added, MSSPs and service providers:

  • drove 23 percent of Forinet's Q4 billings;
  • represented 11 of the company's top 25 deals;
  • won a seven-figure secure SD-WAN deal that included a customer acquiring over 20 high-end FortiGate products along with a range of other products and service.

Fortinet also is making progress with more traditional channel partners. The effort includes more targeted programs for distributors, resellers and other channel segments, Jensen said.

Strategic alliances are equally important. During the fourth quarter, Fortinet and Symantec announced a partnership agreement to provide customers with  solutions across endpoint, network and cloud environments, Xie noted.

Fortinet Financials, Competitors

Fortinet's overall revenue was $507 million for the fourth quarter of 2018, up 22 percent compared to $416.6 million in the corresponding quarter of 2017. Also, GAAP net income was $182.6 million for the fourth quarter of 2018, compared to GAAP net loss of $29.0 million for the corresponding quarter of 2017.

The strong results come at a key time. Rivals such as Palo Alto Networks and SonicWall continue to boost and expand their various product lines. Those vendors also continue to bolster their partner programs.

Palo Alto Networks earlier this week unveiled various MSP-centric partner program moves, and reports suggest the company may acquired a SOAR (security orchestration, automation and response) startup.

SonicWall, meanwhile, recently named a new chief revenue officer and various channel team promotions.

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.