Fortinet Executive: Demand For MSSPs Is Only Going To Grow In Coming Years

‘I really do think we’re on the cusp of yet another growth spur’ for managed services, says Fortinet’s Michael O’Brien.


The demand for MSSP services will only grow in the coming years as customers who feel overwhelmed by security needs increasingly seek outside help – as well as demand more vendor and product consolidations, a top Fortinet executive told channel players on Monday.

Michael O’Brien, vice president of MSSPs at cybersecurity giant Fortinet, told hundreds of attendees this week at The Channel Company’s XChange NexGen conference in Orlando, Fla. that the MSSP category is a fast-growing segment of Fortinet’s channel business for a number of reasons.

The first is market pressure brought on by the “explosion of endpoints,” via the introduction of new types of mobile devices and services around the world. Indeed, one study estimated that the average person could have as many as ten digital devices in the not-too-distant future, O’Brien said.

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“That explosion is (also) being driven by cloud-connected environment, all of these things that are driving (various) types of architectures,” he said.

The net result: Networking and security are converging quickly into security-driven networks.

Meanwhile, CIOs and CISOs feel overwhelmed in general by the rise in cybersecurity attacks and lack of resources to combat those cyberthreats. The bottom line: burnout among top IT and security personnel is rising at companies, O’Brien said.

So customers are increasingly looking for managed-services help, specifically from MSSPs and their vendors. But they’re also looking for consolidation of security products and vendors to make their operations more streamlined and simple, O’Brien stressed.

“It’s really about complexity,” said O’Brien, stressing it’s specifically about “complexity on the application side.”

“It’s their biggest challenge right now,” O’Brien added, referring to customers feeling overwhelmed by the number of security tools and services offered to them.

“I really do think we’re on the cusp of yet another growth spurt,” O’Brien said of the demand for managed services.

O’Brien told audience members at XChange NexGen that Fortinet can help MSSPs in five tech areas: ZTNA, MDR, SOCaas, FWaaS, SD-WAN and SD-Branch. He said Fortinet can also help MSSPs design, test, deploy and operate Fortinet’s offerings.

“We need your help every single day,” O’Brien told channel players.

Miles McCrary of Tech Doctor in Tyler, Texas said O’Brien was “absolutely” correct about the market and technological forces increasing the demand for managed services.

“He was spot on with the way that we‘re seeing things go,” said McCrary, whose MSP firm is not a Fortinet partner. “I think the average customer wants simple (services) and somebody else to take care of it and manage it. I think that’s where we can leverage relationships.”

He also noted that recent consolidation within the MSP and MSSP segments of the channel is proof that many believe managed services are the future.

“With all the buyouts, those wouldn’t be happening unless there was demand,” he said.