How Partners Can Guide Customers on Their SD-WAN Journey

By Fortinet | February 11, 2020

This is a summary of an article written for Channel Partners by Fortinet’s Vice President of Americas Channels, Jon Bove. The entire article can be accessed here.

From retail to finance, companies are going digital to stay competitive. With every benefit they extract from the digital journey, their world becomes increasingly complex. This complexity intensifies each time a new endpoint or wide area network (WAN) is added, which is frequently if the transformation journey is going well and users are embracing digital tools and services. Luckily, software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN) can be leveraged to simplify the transformation process. 

Why Companies Switch to SD-WAN

Managing such a complex environment requires a new kind of infrastructure. SD-WAN delivers high-speed performance to the WAN edge of branch sites without the cost of having to upgrade old MPLS connectivity. In fact, SD-WAN delivers a whole host of benefits that make digital transformation possible, all for a lower total cost of ownership (TCO).

SD-WAN Brings its Own Challenges for Companies

SD-WAN enables a modern, digital workforce but it does not come without a new set of challenges for today’s business leaders.

First, they must consider SD-WAN security and how to maintain visibility across a distributed network environment. They must also consider what it takes to protect a widening attack surface and new multi-cloud environments. This presents an opportunity for partners to come in - bringing awareness, providing guidance, and offering solutions to customers in the midst of transformation.

Service Provider Opportunities: Securing Customers’ SD-WAN Deployments

There are a range of SD-WAN solutions that feature varying degrees of security built into them. Companies that are looking to build SD-WAN environments should consider each provider’s security measures before signing any contracts for solutions. They should be looking for solutions that deliver the benefits they crave – improved user experience in apps and a simplified infrastructure – while also reducing security risks.

As a Fortinet partner, you can offer businesses what they need. With this in mind, partners must be well-versed in the kinds of challenges their customers face. This includes:

  • Loss of visibility
  • Increased attack surface
  • Multi-cloud environments
  • Complex latency management

Be prepared to frame your SD-WAN discussions around helping your customers meet these challenges.

SD-WAN Solutions Should be Reducing Security Risks

Not every business stakeholder who seeks out the services of a service provider knows what to look for. They may understand the challenges they are facing with traditional WANs, as outlined above, but they may not know how security fits into the picture.

What does SD-WAN security look like, then? Potential customers who come looking for help will have the following checklist of must-haves when vetting service providers:

Partners should also be able to talk about how the SD-WAN solution they offer will solve problems in areas where traditional WAN infrastructures are failing. This includes latency, performance, connectivity, reliability, cost, resource management, and complexity.

Final Thoughts

Above all, your customers should understand that leaving security as an afterthought is just as good as inviting cybercriminals through their front doors. Helping them from the start of their digital transformation journey, where security measures can be a top priority from the beginning, is the best way to ensure you are a strategic partner in helping your customers reach their business goals.

Current partners can visit the Partner Portal to learn how our Specializations Program provides partners a fast path to expertise for the solutions that are driving the digital transformation. 

Learn how Fortinet's SD-WAN Cyber Threat Assessment can help partners optimize productivity and performance for customers.

Watch this webinar on demand to learn how partners can leverage Fortinet Secure SD-WAN to secure their customers’ network edge.