Money Well Spent: Who Partners Think Fortinet Should Buy10:00 AM EST Wed. Nov. 14, 2012
At the recent Fortinet Global Partner Conference, executives noted that the company has roughly $690 million in cash and is open to the idea of mergers and acquisitions as a means of further strengthening its market position. CRN later canvassed as many partners as we could find in order to learn which companies the channel thought would take Fortinet to the next level. Two caveats here: We're not saying discussions with any of these companies are under way, and we're not saying that any of these companies are available or what their prices might be. But here are some thoughts from partners attending the Fortinet GPC.
CEO: Robert J. Pera
Ubiquiti Networks is one of a series of companies that made it to this list based on the perceived need for Fortinet to amp up its wireless capabilities and provide a technology transition beyond the FortiAP. The company provides high-end wireless gear that would extend Fortinet's position in this important technology sector. The partners who recommended Ubiquiti suggested that such a move would integrate well with Fortinet's security offerings to provide a compelling customer value proposition.
CEO: Selina Lo
Ruckus Wireless is another company receiving multiple endorsements from the channel to fill the wireless niche at Fortinet. The eight-year-old company claims to have built its technology pretty much from the ground up. Features include customizable signal control, interference mitigation and network capacity optimization. These attributes would clearly enhance Fortinet's wireless capabilities, assuming that such a deal could be reached.
CEO: Sanjit Biswas
The short parade of wireless recommendations continues in the form of Meraki Wireless. The company offers cloud-managed, secure Wi-Fi, and was identified by a number of channel partners as one of the companies that deserves to be on Fortinet's short list. Meraki also offers a variety of security appliances and network devices that the partners felt would go a long way toward strengthening Fortinet's position in the wireless space.
CEO: John Marshall
Multiple partners also noted that the potential acquisition of AirWatch would help Fortinet extend into the rapidly growing Mobile Device Management (MDM) space, while at the same time bringing mobile application and content management into the fold. The AirWatch portfolio provides full worldwide management over devices anywhere in the world from a single console.
CEO: Bob Tinker
Also in the MDM space, the partners advised Fortinet to consider MobileIron. Founded in 2007, the company provides a security and management platform for mobile applications, documents and devices. Features include a mobile enterprise-app storefront and controls for selective wipe and privacy aimed specifically at the BYOD trend. Target markets include enterprises, educational institutions and government.
CEO: King R. Lee
The potential acquisition of Good Technology was described as something that would help Fortinet to establish a stronger foothold in the BYOD space, by providing secure mobility solutions that support collaboration. Such a move would raise Fortinet to the next level, according to multiple channel partners who mentioned the company as a potential opportunity to extend the Fortinet footprint and provide an effective entree toward the MDM space. But Good Technology has been making acquisitions of its own recently, including AppCentral in the mobile application space, and Copiun, to support secure SharePoint access.
CEO: Mark Hatton
Other partners pointed Fortinet in the general direction of the pen-testing space, and Core Security was among the companies that some individuals thought to be a good fit. The company has products designed for a variety of market segments. Such offerings can identify security gaps and are typically less expensive to operate than some of the more customized tests. But skeptics argue that the kits are not as comprehensive.
CEO: Abe Kleinfeld
The potential acquisition of nCircle would bring Fortinet in the direction of security and compliance auditing -- a direction that a number of partners felt worthy of consideration. NCircle provides an agentless product line that monitors the IT stack across the global network on an ongoing basis. One partner who mentioned this option said that the nCircle product line would serve as a “fundamental underpinning" of the Fortinet strategy.
CEO: Philippe Courtot
Also on the compliance front, Qualys was nominated as a viable technology option for Fortinet. The Qualys product line provides on-demand auditing, compliance and protection for IT systems and apps. Functionalities include vulnerability management, policy compliance, web-application scanning, malware detection and website security testing.
CEO: John McAdam
This company was proposed as a solid networking solution to build and expand upon the FortiBalancer load-balancing solution. Capabilities include application control with an eye toward customization, automation and virtualization. But with revenue of nearly $1.4 billion, F5 is likely to be a much bigger fish than Fortinet can swallow.