Content, Channel partners, Channel partner programs

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Network Firewalls 2017: MSSP Reality Check

Gartner’s Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Network Firewalls covers 16 companies in 2017. But frankly, quite a few of them don't specifically target MSPs and MSSPs (managed security services providers). Need a reality check for true MSSP partners? You came to the right place. Side note: If you're looking for SMB firewalls, that Gartner Magic Quadrant Report and our MSSP partner program views are here. First, some definitions of the enterprise network firewall market. According to Gartner, the market mainly includes:
"purpose-built appliances for securing enterprise corporate networks. Products must be able to support single-enterprise firewall deployments and large and/or complex deployments, including branch offices, multitiered demilitarized zones (DMZs), traditional "big firewall" data center placements and, increasingly, the option to include virtual versions for the data center. Customers should also have the option to deploy versions within Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Microsoft Azure public cloud environments, and they should see the ability to support Google Cloud on the vendor roadmap within the next 12 months."
For its 2017 report, Gartner examined 16 enterprise network firewall companies and placed them into one of four quadrants:
  • Niche Players
  • Challengers
  • Visionaries
  • Leaders.
For the sake of our editorial content, we’ve sorted each company alphabetically in their associated Quadrant. In the ‘MSSP Focus’ area, MSSP Alert has added our personal views on each company’s partner programs.

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Network Firewalls: Niche Players

Here are the companies that Gartner mentioned for the niche player quadrant. MSSP-related commentary is our own.
  • Ahnlab: Founded in 1995, Ahnlab is a security company in South Korea. The company sells antivirus software, online security and network security appliances. MSSP Solutions: Ahnlab itself is an MSSP. The company provides a range of managed security services.
  • Barracuda NetworksWe’ve covered Barracuda and its MSP Solutions business (Intronis) for more than a decade. In addition to physical appliances, Barracuda has been offering free trials of its virtual appliances in Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services.  Also, the company has been blurring the line between backup, business continuity, storage and security. MSSP Focus: Yes
  • Hillstone Networks: The company has been partnering with distributors, resellers and technology companies to expand its footprint. True believers include Mirantis, which offers Hillstone’s technology as a service. More recently, Lastline and Hillstone Networks partnered to promote a malware detection system integrated with Hillstone Networks’ Next-Generation Firewall (NGFW), Hillstone’s intelligent Next-Generation Firewall (iNGFW) and Hillstone’s CloudEdge solution. MSSP Focus: The company has a partner program but doesn’t specifically call out MSSPs as a target audience.
  • Juniper Networks: Juniper is well-known and well-respected in the enterprise and high-end midmarket sectors. The company also has a strong presence in the telco market. But we don’t hear much about Juniper in the SMB sector. MSSP Focus: Yes, but mostly at the high-end of the market.
  • New H3C Group: Until 2016,  New H3C Group was a subsidiary of HP Enterprise. It's now part of  UniGroup with a a major focus on China -- and China-based customers, Gartner notes. MSSP Focus: Sort of. The company supports service providers within its partner program but hasn't made any MSSP-centric announcements, according to what we've seen...
  • Sangfor: The company, founded in 2000, is headquartered in Shenzhen, China, with its EMEA regional headquarters in Dubai. MSSP Focus: Limited; most of the partner program emphasizes distributors and business gold partners, though the company does emphasize relationships in the telecom sector.
  • SonicWallSpun off from Dell in 2016, SonicWall has launched a global cloud-based management system -- which sets the stage for a major MSSP and MSP push in the second half of 2017. MSSP Focus: Coming into focus now with details in 2H 2017. Thousands of MSPs are already onboard.
  • Stormshield: Arkoon and Netasq, two French security firms, merged in 2014 to form Stormshield. Ingram Micro distributes Stormshield appliances in EMEA, though most of its customer engagements are in Western Europe. MSSP Focus: Not really. The partner push leans heavily toward resellers and distributors.
  • WatchGuard: Based in Seattle, Washington, WatchGuard is a privately held network security vendor that is over 20 years old, has more than 500 employees and is well-established in the multifunction firewall market, Gartner notes. MSSP Focus: Yes.

Continue to page 2 of 2 for the Visionaries, Challengers and Leaders Quadrants.

Welcome to page 2 of 2. Here, we cover the Challengers, Visionaries and Leaders Quadrants.

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Network Firewalls: Visionaries

  • Forcepoint: The company, formerly Raytheon|Websense, is a pure-play security vendor. It certainly has a partner program, but some of the materials are left over from the Websense days -- as far back as 2010 -- rather than forward looking. Also, some of the MSSP efforts were essentially punted from Intel to Forcepoint in mid-2016Focus: Somewhat.
  • Sophos: The company has major momentum with MSPs worldwide, and refers to many of those partners as MSSPs in multiple regions. The major Sophos focus area: One vendor, one management dashboard and one partner program for MSPs. The management dashboard, by the way, is called Sophos Central. MSSP Focus: Yes.

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Network Firewalls: Challengers

  • Cisco Systems: Cisco has bet its business on security over the past year. ChannelE2E describes the overall strategy here. Acquisitions like OpenDNS (now called Cisco Umbrella) have caught on with MSPs. SMB partners are calling for more products and services that specifically meet their customer needs, but Cisco has a strong footprint in the enterprise. MSSP Focus: Yes.
  • Huawei: The company has limited presence outside of China, Gartner Notes. But Huawei is making progress in other regions, such as Latin America and Middle East. MSSP Focus: Emerging. One example involves ongoing work with Black Lotus, which Level 3 acquired in July 2015. CenturyLink has since acquired Level 3.

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Network Firewalls: Leaders

  • Check Point Software Technologies: One of the best-known providers of firewalls, Check Point has robust high-end solutions but sometimes is late to the SMB market with targeted offerings. MSSP Focus: Yes, though Check Point itself also is an MSSP of sorts.
  • Fortinet: The company has a strong presence in SMB shortlists and a strong feature/price/performance offering, which help make it a frequent choice for UTM, Gartner asserts. Up in the enterprise, some key MSSPs now promote managed Fortinet firewalls to customers. MSSP Focus: Yes.
  • Palo Alto Networks: The large, pure-play security vendor has more than 4,000 employees and 2016 revenue topped $1.4 billion, Gartner notes. MSSP Focus: Yes.

The Actual Magic Quadrant Layout

Here’s a look at the actual Magic Quadrant layout from Gartner…
Here endeth the Magic Quadrant and our views on vendor MSSP support.
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.