Fortinet Exec: New Offer Development Framework Brings Security Best Practices, Policies To MSSPs

‘We’ve gathered the best practices, and because of that simplicity will be right there with you. We’ll help you wrap up your first couple of customers. Those best practices have really been formalized now by Fortinet into a set of eight solution packages,’ says Michael O’Brien, Fortinet’s regional vice president of strategic routes to market.


MSSPs have become the fastest-growing group of Fortinet partners in terms of revenue, line card and participants, and the company is responding with a big focus on the MSP business.

That’s the word from Michael O’Brien, regional vice president of strategic routes to market for Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Fortinet, who told an audience of MSPs at this week’s XChange NexGen conference that MSPs and their customers are dealing with a wide range of issues that impact their infrastructures. These include the work-from-anywhere trend, digital acceleration, application journeys and operational technology connectivity.

“You folks every day are dealing with and offering services, solutions, and helping guide your customers through this,” O’Brien said.

Sponsored post

[Related: Alcion Exits Stealth As ‘Modern AI-Driven Company’ Focused On Data Protection, Security, CEO Says]

The XChange NexGen conference is being hosted this week by CRN parent The Channel Company in Houston.

Even as customers struggle to keep up with the changes impacting their business, the threat landscape continues to evolve, with cybercriminals adopting tactics around advanced persistent threats to develop and scale fast attacks including over the cloud, from rogue governments and via ransom-as-a-service, wider attack surfaces, AI-enabled attacks and operational technology, O’Brien said.

“It’s a threat landscape that is ever evolving,” he said. “And we’re constantly seeing new threat actors in each one of these silos bring a whole new set of challenges together. These are extremely complex, but customers are dealing with all of these. And essentially, that is what is ultimately driving the level of complexity that customers are seeing.”

The complexity from distributed applications, work-from-anywhere trends, more devices attaching to applications, a cybersecurity skills shortage, and too many IT and security stacks and vendors is slowing businesses’ digital initiatives, O’Brien said.

Fortinet is working with partners via its product centers to look at how to simplify that complexity, O’Brien said. The company, he said, has been leading this via a fabric-based solution.

“We were doing it long before that factory icons and all those kind of things,” he said. “Our vision is to be fully integrated. And fully integrated means we start from the very concept of saying, ‘You’re not going to do anything without security. If you are doing some sort of integrated networking, if you deal with SD-WAN, security has to be front and center. If you’re doing SASE [secure access service edge], the same thing. Security is always inside.’”

This complexity is driving the demand for MSSPs, O’Brien said.

In a recent Fortinet survey, the company found that 75 percent of customers are looking to consolidate the number of security vendors they use, 48 percent say they lack internal security expertise, 41 percent are looking at potential cost savings, 34 percent are concerned about potential breaches, 32 percent have regulatory compliance requirements to address, and 25 percent recently experienced a breach, he said.

“So that’s an interesting set of problems,” he said. “But it’s a problem for us, it’s a problem for you, making sure that we’re supplying you with a solution that is qualified to be on an RFP. [Consolidation] is really front and center for a lot of our processes.”

A lot of companies will talk about security products and training but forget that MSPs’ goal is to deliver intelligent services, O’Brien said.

Fortinet is moving past that question with its new Offer development framework, which was developed by the company’s technologies team whose job is to work together to develop a set of best practices and policies, understand the market and study the competition, he said.

The team spent a year talking to customers across all the regions Fortinet serves and learned what they need from a managed services perspective, how they bring solutions to market, and bundled that information into the Offer framework, he said.

The Offer development framework is really focused on simplicity and is a standard, scalable and repeatable offering for MSPs, O’Brien said.

“We’re already getting feedback from pilot customers,” he said. “We’ve gathered the best practices, and because of that simplicity will be right there with you. We’ll help you wrap up your first couple of customers. Those best practices have really been formalized now by Fortinet into a set of eight solution packages. We created workshops that we can deliver on-site or remotely. We surround that with a services blueprint. And we leave you with a service.”

O’Brien did a good job of articulating what Fortinet is doing with MSPs, said Brian Kemp, director at True Owl Technologies, a Lincoln, Neb.-based MSP and Fortinet channel partner.

“We need to be at an MSP level where we have multiple environments that we try to standardize on.”