Fortinet launched a revamped MSSP program Wednesday designed to provide Americas channel MSSPs with tools and services to help bolster managed service sales.
The new technical program, known as FortiInfluencer, essentially aims to reward managed service partners who invest in Fortinet technology by allowing them to receive additional Fortinet-branded marketing and promotional materials in an effort to boost sales of services to their customers.
For partners, the program provides additional marketing and promotional materials, new Fortinet-branded logos, partner press releases, whitepapers, technical newsletters, technical requirements, fee and free training, technical tips, certifications, sales training and access to co-branded marketing and sales tool kits.
Also under the program, customers or employees can access current product educational materials, news and technical tips on Fortinet products free of cost.
Partners can choose from two partner program branded logos -- Fortress and Fortified, differentiated according to the MSSP partner's level of investment, as well as trained delivery staff for the support team.
For the Fortress logo, the partner will be required to have two certified Fortinet Certified Network Security Associates and/or professional individuals on staff and submit to an audit by Fotinet's systems engineering team.
To earn a Fortified logo, the partner is required to have a minimum of six certified Fortinet Certified Network Security Associates and/or professional individuals on staff and minimum purchase or sales of $100,000 in Fortinet products and services, as well as offer around-the-clock Service Level Agreement support and network Operating Center support.
Altogether, Fortinet customers can purchase an array of services from Fortinet partners, including managed firewall, application firewall, intrusion protection security, antivirus, antispam, IPSec PVN SSL VPN, DLP, VoIP, WAM optimization and Wi-Fi.
Meanwhile, Fortinet executives said that the launch of the enhanced MSSP program is part of a comprehensive plan to make bigger pushes into the managed service space.
"Firewall and IPS managed firewall has been a mainstay. It's never going to go away," said Drew Savage, Fortinet director of managed service providers. "Those features are being delivered under (Fortinet's) Unified Threat Management."
Channel partners are optimistic about the program, due to the fact that it doesn't change their contract with the company and gives them managed service provider resources, among other things, they say.
"It's obviously thinking like we do. I think the program is pretty solid from what I see. Obviously they're adding to it and developing it in an ongoing basis so I'm anxious to see what the end product is," said Stephan Tallent, director of manage services with ANX eBusiness, a San Diego-based MSSP.
Tallent said that having someone like Savage on board was a testament that the company was making efforts to understand make further inroads in the managed service market.
However, he said that although Fortinet was likely "shipping more hardware than Juniper and Cisco from (a managed services) perspective," the company has previously suffered from branding issues.
"Large carriers don't necessarily care about the concept of Fortinet, they're just using Forinet hardware to get there," Tallent said. "It's part of a name recognition problem. So many providers are adopting Fortinet, just nobody's heard of it and they put it out there and it's a black box."