What MSSPs Should Look for In Their Next Cybersecurity Vendor

By Michael O'Brien | October 11, 2022

For managed security service providers (MSSPs) and managed service providers (MSPs), choosing a cybersecurity vendor is a mission-critical task. The MSSP-vendor relationship mirrors the MSSP-client relationship. In both cases, organizations are purchasing tools and services that enable their business objectives. Similarly, while a cybersecurity vendor may offer an opportunity, MSSPs need to know whether it’s the right one for them.

When MSSPs and MSPs look for their next cybersecurity vendor, they need to consider the holistic offerings across both technologies and services so that they can make informed, revenue-enabling decisions.

Define Goals and Objectives

In a competitive market, partners build out offerings that help differentiate them from their competitors. When defining future strategy, every MSSP and MSP should start by asking four fundamental questions:

  • How will this offering be profitable?
  • How long will it take to see a return on investment?
  • What are the continuations of the service?
  • What will the business or financial model be?

Every new offering exists to generate revenue and provide an enhanced customer experience. Simultaneously, if onboarding the cybersecurity vendor takes too long, an MSSP/MSP will suffer from a delayed return on investment.

After answering these questions internally, partners can ask prospective vendors the same questions to ensure they have the appropriate alignment.

What MSSPs/MSPs Need from Vendors

When looking for a cybersecurity vendor, MSSPs and MSPs need partners with best-in-class technology and services that enable growth.

Is The Solution Integrated And Integratable?

Although the two words sound the same, they have different meanings. An integrated solution is fundamental to continued growth and success. Integrated solutions provide multiple technologies that work together, enabling long-term scalability.

For example, an MSP/MSSP may start by providing security operations center (SOC) services, then look to add SD-WAN or extended detection and response (XDR) services in the future. Integrating disparate cybersecurity vendors becomes time-consuming, reducing a new offering’s profitability. A cybersecurity vendor should have an integrated set of technologies that enable the MSP/MSSP’s current and future business strategies.

Integratable means fitting into the overarching technology stack, including ticket-tracking systems and business reporting. For partners, cybersecurity is the business. For their customers, it’s a part of their business. The right cybersecurity vendor recognizes this distinction, giving MSPs/MSSPs a technology with integratable extensions.

How Well Does The Vendor Understand The MSP/MSSP Business?

Technology is only one part of the partner-vendor relationship. A cybersecurity vendor should have the experience and knowledge to help its customers achieve success.

Sales engineers should understand the partner’s:

  • Business objectives
  • Metrics their customers use
  • Way the customer defines success

When the vendor delivers the proposal, MSPs/MSSPs should look for terms like:

  • Time-to-revenue
  • Best practices
  • Offer lifecycle

These terms will provide visibility into whether the vendor views this as a relationship, instead of just looking to sell a product.

What Enablement Services Does The Vendor Have?

Cybersecurity vendors are integral to an MSP/MSSP’s own sales pipeline. A cybersecurity vendor should provide more than generic training opportunities. Partners should consider whether a vendor provides:

  • Access to staff with industry experience
  • Knowledge of MSP/MSSP business models
  • Ability to create replicable pathways to service offerings

Further, the vendor relationship should go beyond the onboarding and provide partners with enablement opportunities for bringing in new customers. Some services to look for include:

  • A lab environment so the MSP/MSSP can provide customer demonstrations
  • Sales team enablement that incorporate business value

How Fortinet Enables Partners

Fortinet empowers partners by providing a robust set of technologies and services that enable long-term strategic business goals. With our broad portfolio of integrated and automated security tools for MSPs and MSSPs, supported by a dedicated Offer Development process and team, partners can offer their customers a broad, single-provider solution that increases average revenue per user.  The Fortinet Security Fabric is an integrated and integratable solution, providing the security, performance, visibility, and control that partners need.

In addition, Fortinet provides additional enablement at the technical level, including channel sales engineers (SEs) who are responsible for technical enablement with our partners, with the goal of helping them maximize opportunities and building revenue-generating solutions.

Read more about a Fortinet Channel Sales Engineer and how this team helps partners.

Learn more about Fortinet's Engage Partner Program and how your organization can benefit by joining. Current partners can visit the Partner Portal to find important updates from Fortinet and our partner program.