Palo Alto Networks Expands Managed Security Services Program


Network security upstart Palo Alto Networks this week confirmed an expansion of its managed security services channel, part of a trend Palo Alto executives say will open up its firewall technology to a wider breadth of potential customers.

Palo Alto named BT Global Services, Dell SecureWorks, Solutionary, Symantec and Verizon as managed services partners. According to Punit Minocha, vice president of business and corporate development, Palo Alto is also exploring relationships with additional MSPs and solution providers with managed services practices.

As Palo Alto continues to grow, it's finding a need to work more effectively with national and global players with different managed services frameworks, he explained.

"What happened as we expanded is we spent a fair amount of time and effort dealing with global partners that have their own, home-grown analytics platforms," Minocha told CRN. "They had differentiated services from a monitoring standpoint, as well as from a management standpoint."

Palo Alto structures its pricing for the managed security services based on partner needs -- there's no fixed pricing for the service deployment, he said.

"One size does not fit all," Minocha said. "We want to provide commensurate benefits not just from a pricing standpoint but also support, training and education."

Palo Alto is also doubling down on its partnerships with other technology vendors whose products and services its firewalls complement. Last week, Palo Alto named six new vendors to its Technology Partner Program, including Arista Networks, Enterasys, Gigamon, Net Optics, NitroSecurity and Nordic Edge.

"The number of requests we've had to join [the program] has really expanded, so what we've had to do is prioritize," Minocha said. "The team here was overwhelmed with the number of people reaching out and wanting to work with us. I am erring more on the side of inclusion, as opposed to exclusion, although obviously we won't want to work with partners that compete with us."

Palo Alto Networks became cash-flow-positive a year ago and has made no secret of its IPO plans. It boasts about 700 channel partners in North America, and it also recently named a new CEO, former VeriSign CEO Mark McLaughlin, whom Palo Alto partners have urged not to alter Palo Alto's channel growth strategy.