How Partners and MSSPs Can Select the Right Cybersecurity Vendor for Their Business

By Jon Bove | January 16, 2020

The vendor selection process can be daunting for channel partners and managed service providers. Selecting the right vendor requires the investment of both time and money that must be carefully accounted for to avoid wasting valuable resources not just in the testing and analysis of products, but also determining if those solutions fit easily into your business model as well as whether the relationship with the vendor will create a long-term partnership. 

With the right vendor in place, partners and managed security service providers (MSSPs) are better able to streamline their offerings for efficiency and provide top-notch service offerings to their customers. Regardless of vendor type, CISOs must look for those that offer a leading technology set that is able to deliver protection against an ever-evolving threat landscape both comprehensively and cost-effectively, and that also have a clear vision for continuing to provide that level or protection long into the future.

Well-Defined Technology Standards

For partners and service providers, profitability, growth and service quality are dependent on the development and enforcement of well-defined technology standards across the business. Generally, this concept involves dramatically narrowing the range of technologies supported under managed services as it is not possible to provide the highest-quality support across a too-broad range of individually isolated technologies. The cost of engineers and operational overhead per customer needs to be managed, and this is where selecting a small core of technology vendors with a comprehensive set of offerings becomes key, and just as importantly, ensuring that cross-vendor solutions use common standards for maximum interoperability. 

It is also important to select a vendor that offers the solutions your customers need. No two customers are the same, so the right security vendor must have enough depth and breadth to their product offerings and functionality to address a variety of customer use cases. Integration of those solutions into a single, tiered access management solution right out of the box, rather than having to custom build your own black-box solution, also makes it easier to scale your business.

The selection of a top-quality vendor in conjunction with the use of open technology standards and certifications helps service providers to narrow and increase the effectiveness of their go-to-market plan. These standards also help improve market differentiation by enabling enhanced specialization and expertise in one line of technology, without sacrificing the flexibility and breadth of offerings that many customer environments require. Without well-defined technology standards, too many technology variables will exist - hindering the development of an effective service methodology and operation. Insisting that vendor solutions support technology standards enabled providers to enhance service quality and increase customer satisfaction, referrals, and testimonials. This scalability, in turn, lends a hand to client growth and revenue acceleration. 

Solution and Service Offering 

When these vendors considerations are in place, top-performing partners are then able to develop and roll out new solutions and services with excellence. This involves connecting the service, sales, and marketing teams into a single-minded group able to deliver the necessary pace and volume of deals to drive down and keep down delivery costs. 

The ability to effectively develop and bring a new service to operational maturity more quickly than the competition is a key competitive advantage. This capability is also heightened when an MSSP selects and specializes in a single vendor's offering. It also enables the creation of more comprehensive services rather than simply providing siloed solutions coupled with services.

Along with product specialization and expertise, a managed security operations center (SOC) program can be very profitable for partners and MSSPs alike. However, this type of program can be difficult to set up for a number of reasons, including the lack of interoperability and the use of open standards discussed above. To help, Fortinet offers the SOC Lifecycle Program to onboard and train MSSPs to be able to offer a comprehensive SOC program, helping them accelerate business offerings and shorten time to value. 

How Fortinet Solutions Facilitate MSSP Service Offering Success

As a leading global security vendor, Fortinet seeks to empower MSSPs and partners with the expertise and suite of solutions necessary to meet the evolving needs of their customers. The Fortinet Security Fabric is designed to provide proven security, exceptional performance, and better visibility and control through a broad portfolio of tightly integrated solutions that can all be managed and orchestrated through one unified and integrated view. In addition, the Fabric-Ready Partner program has integrated hundreds of additional solutions from leading vendors to ensure that the broadest possible base of solutions are available without diminishing interoperability to raising operational costs.

Fortinet solutions offer a range of capabilities that ensure end-to-end security, spanning network security, multi-cloud security, secure access, security operations, network operations, endpoint protection, and application security. Our NSE Training program and the SOC Lifecycle Program also help service teams develop the skills necessary to effectively facilitate go-to-market strategies for their expanding base of customers as well as to act as a key differentiator from their competition. 

Final Thoughts

When selecting a security vendor, it is important to evaluate the specific needs of your customer base and understand what tools your organization needs to enhance your solution and service offerings. Selecting a single core vendor enables MSSPs to easily specialize in a core proficiency, while leveraging standards-based technologies to still provide a broad set of solutions, service offerings, and expertise to consumers. Which in turn, enhances profitability and business growth. 

Learn how Fortinet is enabling Partners to deliver broad and integrated networking services with MSSP Cybersecurity

Find out how Fortinet’s Security Fabric delivers broad, integrated, and automated protection across an organization’s entire digital attack surface from IoT to the edge, network core and to multi-clouds.

Find out how Echoenergia and New Zealand Red Cross used Fortinet’s Security Fabric for protection from the network edge to core.