The Importance of Integrated Solutions for MSSPs

By Michael O'Brien | November 30, 2022

For managed security service providers (MSSPs), choosing a vendor is a strategic business decision because profitability, growth, and service quality rely on well-defined technology standards. As the foundation for these business outcomes, vendors need to provide the breadth and depth of product offerings that enable MSSPs to address various customer use cases. Simultaneously, a security vendor must offer the flexibility that ensures MSSPs can respond to evolving customer needs. An integrated solution with multiple technologies that work together enables long-term scalability and growth opportunities for MSSPs as they seek to differentiate themselves.

What Does It Mean To Be Integrated And Integratable?

From a high level, integrated means that the technologies a vendor provides work together, while integratable means that they fit into a larger technology stack.

Integrated Technologies

An integrated cybersecurity vendor provides a cohesive set of technologies that meet current business objectives while being able to support future strategies. For example, an MSSP’s initial business strategy may have been to provide security operations center (SOC) services. However, as customer needs change, the company may want to add new services like SD-WAN or extended detection and response. An integrated cybersecurity vendor provides all the technologies that an MSSP needs to build a long-term business growth strategy.

Integratable Technologies

An integratable cybersecurity vendor fits into an MSSP’s business-enabling technology stack, including ticket-tracking systems and business reporting solutions. Cybersecurity is an MSSP’s business, not just one part of its business. An integratable cybersecurity vendor understands the difference, ensuring that its extensions enable these business objectives.

What To Look For In An Integrated And Integratable Security Platform

Since choosing a cybersecurity vendor is critical, MSSPs need to know what questions to ask and how to evaluate the responses. MSSPs choose an integrated platform because it allows them to provide a comprehensive set of customer services. However, focusing solely on the security technologies may create gaps across people and processes. An integratable security vendor enables an MSSP to create robust customer services and to establish cohesive processes across business departments.

"For MSSPs to appeal to new clients and increase their footprint at existing ones, cybersecurity vendors who offer integrated solutions enable business goals."

 What Use Cases Can the Vendor Enable?

An MSSP’s security vendor needs to provide capabilities that respond to current and future customer needs. During the evaluation process, MSSPs should consider the following capabilities that allow for various use cases:

  • Flexible technologies that enable pay-as-you go models, including appliances, virtual machines, and cloud-delivered services
  • Centralized management and customization using API integrations
  • Advanced threat intelligence for real-time detection at machine speed

How Does the Security Vendor Define Its Technology Standards?

An MSSP’s profitability, growth, and service quality rely on the security vendor’s development and enforcement of well-defined technology standards. A flexible, scalable security vendor should provide:

  • Comprehensive set of security solutions
  • Common standards for cross-vendor interoperability
  • Single, tiered access management out-of-the-box
  • Open technology standards 

How Does The Vendor Improve Network Performance?

An integrated security platform should allow MSSPs to provide flexible and adaptable networks that enable robust security for remote and hybrid workforces. MSSPs should look for a security vendor offering security-driven networking. Customers want both fast adaptable networks and security so MSSPs that can deliver both differentiate themselves from competitors.

A security platform should integrate networking and security into the IT infrastructure. As part of this, MSSPs should find a security vendor that:

  • Incorporates security for networks, endpoints and devices, cloud and applications
  • Enables adaptable configurations, policies, and programs
  • Covers the entire attack surface by evaluating key factors to thwart the cyber kill chain
  • Protects workflows and applications consistently
  • Leverages Intent-Based Segmentation

How Does The Vendor Deliver Security Automation?

For MSSPs, reducing manual tasks equates to increased revenue. A security vendor should provide artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) capabilities that enable the MSSP to meet customer needs. With security automation, MSSPs provide more robust customer security offerings and enhance employee productivity by allowing teams to focus on critical tasks. Ultimately, this increases customer loyalty while reducing operating costs, translating to more revenue.

For example, an integrated vendor delivers security automation that includes:

  • Continuous risk assessment capabilities
  • Coordinated detection and enforcement to counter unknown threats in real-time
  • Unified data sets feeding from networks, endpoints, and clouds
  • Self-healing security and networking capabilities
  • Context-aware access policies that automatically adjust to perceived risks

What Services Does The Cybersecurity Vendor Offer?

MSSPs also need to evaluate a security vendor’s services. An integrated solution means enabling all business objectives, including sales and marketing teams.

A cybersecurity vendor that integrates directly into an MSSPs business activities should provide:

  • Sales engineers to align technology implementation with business goals and metrics
  • Staff with industry experience who can create replicable pathways to service offerings
  • Lab environments that enable MSSPs to provide customer demonstrations
  • Sales team enablement opportunities with insight into business value

Final Thoughts

As cyberattacks and the cybersecurity skills gap continue to increase, organizations of all sizes turn to MSSPs. For MSSPs to appeal to new clients and increase their footprint at existing ones, cybersecurity vendors who offer integrated solutions enable business goals.  When evaluating a security vendor, MSSPs need to consider their customers’ security needs as well as their own business objectives. An integratable solution that also integrates into business operations is the key to differentiation within the market.

Just as MSSPs partner with their customers, their security vendor should partner with them. With Fortinet, MSSPs can offer their customers managed security and monitoring technologies to reduce cyber risk and minimize cyber attack impact. Fortinet’s broad portfolio of integrated and automated security tools bridges security and networking on the same platform, giving MSSPs the ability to offer a broad, single-provider solution that increases average revenue per user (ARPU).

With Fortinet's Engage Partner Program, MSSPs can build more robust business models and engage with experts so that your organization can gain the knowledge and skills necessary to attract business. We offer sustained sales, marketing, and executive support so that MSSPs can integrate our offerings directly into their own business models, ensuring continued revenue and growth. 

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