How Partners Can Help Customers Fill the Cybersecurity Skills Gap

By Fortinet | March 03, 2020

This is a summary of an article written for Channel Futures. The entire article can be accessed here.

Protecting digital assets is more important than ever. However, there is increasingly not enough available talent for organizations to adequately staff their security teams. The cybersecurity skills gap continues to pose a challenge to organizational success, which has only been compounded by a growing barrage of cyber threats.

Hiring sought-after cybersecurity professionals can be difficult, as many often choose to work for large companies that can offer highly competitive pay, benefits, and opportunity for growth. This locks many smaller organizations out of the race for talent, which has resulted in a problematic shortage of cybersecurity skills across industries.

How Partners Can Reduce the Skills Gap for Customers

For partners, the skills gap presents an opportunity to assist customers with their security needs. With this in mind, helping to mitigate the challenges facing customers requires partners to take a proactive approach to how they structure their security offerings. 

Here are three avenues partners can pursue to enhance their capabilities so they can assist customers who find themselves unable to hire, or retain, cybersecurity professionals. 

1. Become an MSSP

Becoming a managed security service provider (MSSP) equips partners with the expertise they need to offer guidance on the variety of cybersecurity questions or concerns that their customers may have. Additionally, MSSPs can also take charge of device deployments, providing additional value to customers. This removes the strain of time-consuming tasks from their IT teams, enabling them to take a more strategic approach to security.

As an MSSP, partners can offer guidance and hands-on participation in:

  • Discovering and mitigating current threat trends
  • Locating gaps in existing network security and deploying the tools needed to fill them
  • Leveraging automation to assist in threat detection and response

Partnering with an MSSP is beneficial for customers as it enables them to build threat prevention plans focused on strategic detection and response, while also reducing upfront CapEx. As customers undergo digital transformation, Fortinet MSSPs can evolve alongside them by providing integrated solutions, custom portals, and centralized analytics. Regular support and training is required to help MSSPs keep pace with modern attacks and keep customers secure, and much of this can also be passed on to customers as an additional service.

2. Keep Pace with Training and Certifications

In a world of constant threats, business leaders need advisory teams who are qualified and reliable. This is why partners must understand the expanding digital footprint of their customers, including cloud and branch environments, stay on top of the current threat landscape, and be trained to deploy, configure, and troubleshoot necessary security solutions anywhere they are needed to remediate attacks.

For this reason, Fortinet offers partners hands-on training through our Network Security Experts (NSE) program. Becoming a Network Security Expert allows partners to act as high-level advisors to their customers, helping them stay threat-aware and protected. Furthermore, Fortinet’s NSE training and certifications help partners build trust with customers, transforming a vendor relationship into a business partnership.

An NSE certification also signifies to prospective customers that a partner has the required level of network security expertise needed to be effective. By leveraging Fortinet’s top-level security solutions, partners have more opportunities to grow their business as customer needs evolve.

3. Automate Cybersecurity with Artificial Intelligence

Customers who are understaffed typically do not have access to the advanced solutions they need to protect their networks. This presents an opportunity for partners to offer guidance on which security controls should be updated to enhance response times and increase visibility. Implementing automated detection and response systems that match the volume and speed of today’s cyberattacks is another area that partners should focus on when working to improve their customers’ security efforts.

Cyber criminals are already incorporating automation and artificial intelligence (AI) into their attack strategies to more accurately locate network vulnerabilities and evade detection. This puts organizations that attempt to manually detect and manage these threats at immense risk.

Partners can work with customers to deploy artificial intelligence and machine learning to rapidly monitor, analyze, and respond to anomalous network activity. These solutions also return time to internal security staff, allowing them to focus on more strategic initiatives rather than network monitoring.

Final Thoughts

While there are academic programs that aim to help fill the future pipeline for trained cybersecurity professionals, customers need solutions that address the skills gap now. By employing these practices and using the resources at their disposal, Fortinet partners can assist in keeping customers one step ahead of cyber criminals without exhausting their assets.

Current partners can visit the Partner Portal to find important updates from Fortinet and our Fortinet Engage partner program.

Learn more about the Fortinet Engage partner program.

Find out more about Fortinet’s NSE Institute programs, including the Network Security Expert program, Network Security Academy program and FortiVets program, which provide critical cybersecurity training and education to help solve the cyber skills gap and prepare the cybersecurity workforce of tomorrow.