Fortinet Expands MSSP Partner Program, Adds New Tools For MSSPs

Fortinet is continuing to expand its partner program for managed security service providers, the security vendor announced Wednesday, adding new tools, discounts and support for partners.

The updates include different discounts for partners so that they will be rewarded for both gear resold and owned by them and deployed to customers as a service. The update also provides a framework service provider partners to realize more program benefits and resources through the Fortinet MSSP teams.

That change comes as Fortinet recognizes that MSSPs need to be "strategically differentiated partners" and want to provide flexibility in sales options to customers, Stephan Tallent, senior director, managed security service providers, said.

[Related: CRN Exclusive: Fortinet Launches New FortiOS, Security Operations Solution]

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Fortinet also rolled out new tools for partners, which are available immediately. The Fortinet Developer Network is a developer-only portal for APIs to automate the customization of Fortinet products and solutions. Fortinet also rolled out a FortiConverter for automated policy migration, FortiDeploy for bulk provisioning and FortiPortal for a cloud-based centralized management console for MSSPs to manage all customer networks. These tools are now available free to partners when previously MSSPs had to pay for them.

Tallent said the new tools are designed to address common MSSP challenges, most notably a need to simplify deployment and management of security solutions and provide flexibility in solution sets and integrations for them to address the different security challenges customers might face. For that reason, he said the program also represents a growing emphasis on MSSP partners by Fortinet, which is also incenting partners to adopt managed security services.

"This is about answering the specific business challenges facing [MSSP] customers and taking that complexity out of security," Tallent said. "There is a massive shift to managed security services from all of our partners as they realize customers are moving in that direction."

The tools build on a long-standing managed service provider program at Fortinet, which includes special incentives for MSSPs, security operators, marketing, training, business development support plans, veteran talent training, and more.

Kevin Watson, CEO of Netsurion, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla.-based Fortinet partner and newly-named Platinum MSSP Partner, said customers that his company serves in the restaurant, retail, healthcare, financial and hotel industries are particularly price sensitive, but also looking for reliable security solutions. He said the new tools launched by Fortinet – notably the Fortinet Developer Network, FortiPortal and FortiConverter – will be key in helping Netsurion offer the "best of both worlds" when it comes to price and security capabilities.

He said changes to the discount structure also allow Netsurion to deliver Fortinet solutions to customers in a way that makes sense to them, as well as bundle them with the company's services. Watson said Netsurion started partnering with Fortinet a little more than a year ago and the security vendor is now its exclusive firewall platform. Netsurion uses the integrations to layer its SIEM and other security technologies on top of the Fortinet firewalls and access points, he said.

"For us, it helps our customers and gets them the security confidence they're looking for … To be able to deliver some of these capabilities and deliver them quickly is something they want and it frees us up [for other security needs,]" Watson said.

Tallent said Fortinet would continue to invest in its managed security services offerings for partners, adding more tools and services for partners. The ultimate goal, he said, is to allow partners to leverage both Fortinet and third-party vendor technology in an integrated "Security Fabric" approach.