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4 Lucrative Updates To The Fortinet Engage Partner Program

From unlocking consumption-based pricing and expanding rebates to incenting cloud and emerging technology adoption, here are four money-making changes to the Fortinet Engage Partner Program.

Making Money Moves

Fortinet has spent the past six months building the underlying toolsets to launch more specializations for its partner program, aligning sales and technical resources to help solution providers better service and support emerging technologies, according to Jon Bove, vice president of channel sales. The updates are intended to make it easier for partners to augment transactions with services engagements, he said.

“We believe there’s a place for all partners in the Security Fabric,” Bove told CRN. “We’re committed to our channel go-to-market, and we think these changes will enhance partner’s margin opportunity.”

Bove hopes the Fortinet Engage Partner Program enhancements will: increase deal registration pipeline and opportunities in areas like SD-WAN; grow partner-initiated revenue; and boost channel participation in specializations and technical enablement. From unlocking consumption-based pricing and expanding rebates to incenting cloud and emerging technology adoption, here are four key partner program changes.

4. Rebates For All North American Expert Partners

As Fortinet gains more share with large partners who grew up in the channel programs of its rivals, Bove said there’s a need to standardize the perks for all solution providers in Fortinet’s top Expert tier. As a result, Bove said Fortinet is moving from doing rebates on a one-off basis to making them universally available to all expert-level partners in North America.

The rebate is focused on year-over-year growth for expert partners, and is paid out as a percentage of that growth, according to Bove, who declined to provide exact figures. Given Fortinet’s maturity and presence in the North American market, Bove said the timing was right to make rebates available to all expert partners to keep driving gains in share.

And for partners at all levels, Bove said FortiRewards is now offering boosters and incremental payment incentives for partners that earn specializations. Bove said the enhanced incentives are intended to reward partners who double down their focus on Fortinet.

3. New Specializations In Zero Trust, OT, SecOps

Fortinet is expanding its specializations program from four to seven, adding new offerings around zero trust access, operational technology (OT), and security operations. The zero trust specialization is meant to capitalize on the momentum Fortinet has seen around its FortiNAC tool, while the OT specialization is intended to offer education, enablement and assets around a high-growth vertical, according to Bove.

The security operations specialization, meanwhile, combines Fortinet’s managed security capabilities around detection and response and Security Operations Center (SOC) with its SIEM, SOAR and EDR tools, Bove said. Fortinet has seen better-than-expected adoption of the four specializations it rolled out in 2020: secure SD-WAN, data center, adaptive cloud security, and LAN edge and SD-branch, Bove said.

The company’s specialization adoption goal was in the single digits, and Bove said Fortinet has exceeded its initial targets there. Bove is additionally seeing more channel partners obtain multiple specializations, with - for instance - an SD-WAN specialist also pursuing the specialization in adaptive cloud security.

2. Easy Access, Better Perks For Public Cloud Partners

Many channel partners looking to build a business around cloud migrations aren’t currently certified on the Fortinet Security Fabric, so the company is offering immediately program eligibility to partners who are Amazon Web Services or Microsoft Azure-certified. There are a couple hundred born-in-the-cloud partners in North America who are dedicated to developing core cloud security skillsets, Bove said.

Fortinet hopes to embrace more cloud-native partners by offering them access to the Engage Select cloud Business Model as well as the ability to skill up with FortiCWP and the Fortinet Development Network, Bove said. Fortinet puts itself in the best situation when its putting technology into the hands of its partners, according to Bove.

The company’s new pay-as-you-go and bring your own license (BYOL) models give cloud-native partners more predictability around discounts, Bove said. Fortinet has also been focused on obtaining more standardization and better alignment with the programs offered by cloud service providers like AWS, according to Bove.

1. Consumption-Based Pricing For Six Products

Expanding from yearly licenses to a consumption-based pricing model will reduce capital expenditures for MSPs looking to stand up a security services business, Bove said. Going forward, consumption-based pricing will be available for FortiSIEM, FortiEDR, FortiClient, FortiSOAR, FortiAI and FortiDeceptor so that partners can move more aggressively into the endpoint security space following the purchase of enSilo.

With the new consumption model, Bove said MSPs and MSSPs are getting paid by customers as the same time they’re procuring the technology from Fortinet, minimizing the capital outlay for the channel. This will make it easier for solution providers to address the needs of customers who are looking to completely outsource Security Operations Center (SOC) services on an as-a-Service basis, Bove said.

Fortinet up until now had been offering behind the scenes consumption-based pricing for FortiSIEM as well as Hardware-as-a-Service through distribution, Bove said. Given the level of demand Fortinet saw from partners around consumption-based pricing for FortiSIEM, Bove said the company went back and made modifications to several other products so that could be delivered on a consumption basis.

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