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Fortinet’s Offer Development Program Focuses On ‘Channel Profitability’

Jay Fitzgerald

Fortinet ‘spent months taking best practices’ from around the world to come up with its Offer Development standards with the goal of offering, via partners, broad, automated and affordable bundles to customers, says Michael O’Brien, regional vice presient of strategic routes to market.

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Major security challenges facing businesses are bringing together solution providers and large vendors like Fortinet to devise ways to combat escalating cyberthreats, a top Fortinet executive said Tuesday.

Speaking at CRN parent The Channel Company’s XChange August 2022 conference in Denver, Michael O’Brien, regional vice president of strategic routes to market at Fortinet, said businesses across America are under unprecedented pressures due to the increase in malware and other cyberattacks.

In addition to cybercriminals trying to break into their systems, companies are now grappling with the rise of remote working and the explosion in the use of mobile devices by employees—and how to provide edge security for them, said O’Brien.

Meanwhile, security and network designs are converging, with systems now having to be designed and managed with security as a top priority, O’Brien said.

O’Brien said there’s now a critical “skills gap” facing companies, which are finding it hard to hire talented cybersecurity workers who can help them deal with digital bandits intent on wreaking havoc to their businesses.

The bottom line: Cybersecurity has simply gotten too complicated, expensive and burdensome for most companies to handle, O’Brien said.

So businesses need help from others to deal with their cybersecurity woes and Fortinet and its channel partners can both benefit from that demand by working together to provide security products and services to customers, O’Brien said.

“We want you to capitalize on it,” O’Brien told XChange audience members..

This new opportunity is the reason why Fortinet launched its new Offer Development program 18 months ago, he said.

In effect, Fortinet created teams of engineers to work with solution providers to bundle security products that can quickly be brought to market.

Currently, Fortinet’s Offer Development program focuses on Zero Trust Network Access (ZTNA), SD-WAN and SOCs.

The goal: to offer, via partners, broad, automated and affordable bundles to customers.

“We did this with a focus on [channel] profitability,” said O’Brien.

He added that Fortinet “spent months taking best practices” from around the world to come up with its Offer Development standards.

After O’Brien’s XChange session, Jon Bove, vice president of channel sales at Fortinet, told CRN that the goal is to get Fortinet’s engineers to work with channel partners to get new security solutions to the market faster.

In the future, Fortinet expects to add MDR and cloud security solutions to its Offer Development program, Bove said.

O’Brien told CRN that customers need help and Fortinet has reached out to partners with the message: “Let’s work together.”

Jesse Courchaine, managed service director at Integrated Computer Consulting, an MSP based in Fort Collins, Colo., said he agrees channel partners and major vendors like Fortinet have to work more closely together.

He said many MSPs simply don’t have the time to handle what’s required to provide comprehensive security to customers, so working with a vendor like Fortinet makes sense.

“The closer the relationships I have with a vendor, the more I use that vendor,” he said.

 

 

Jay Fitzgerald

Jay Fitzgerald is a senior editor covering cybersecurity for CRN. Jay previously freelanced for the Boston Globe, Boston Business Journal, Boston magazine, Banker & Tradesman, MassterList.com, Harvard Business School’s Working Knowledge, the National Bureau of Economic Research and other entities. He can be reached at jfitzgerald@thechannelcompany.com.

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