IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

SonicWall Adds MSSP Specialization to SecureFirst Partner Program

Benefits include access to “blueprints” for building profitable, efficient managed security service offerings, discounted licensing, and the ability to sell outsourced MSSP services to SecureFirst members without managed security capabilities of their own. By Rich Freeman

SonicWall Inc. has added a specialization to its SecureFirst partner program aimed at helping managed service providers become managed security service providers.

Available to the Milpitas, Calif.-based vendor’s silver-, gold-, and platinum-level partners, the SecureFirst MSSP Program enables MSPs to deliver health and performance monitoring, configuration and lifecycle management, security monitoring and alerting; managed email security, and managed network protection on an as-a-service basis, drawing on SonicWall’s monthly billing option and multi-tenant management capabilities.

The new offering goes beyond those basic tools of the trade, however, to provide detailed guidance on building managed security services quickly and profitably via members-only “blueprints.”

“We offer them a technology stack, as do most companies, but they need more than that to build out a managed service,” observes Steve Pataky, senior vice president and chief revenue officer at SonicWall. Designed to accelerate time to market, the SecureFirst MSSP Program’s blueprints show partners how to combine technologies into service offerings, and then deliver those services efficiently.

Program members also qualify for standardized licensing discounts. According to Pataky, offering price breaks at firm preset levels, rather than negotiating them deal by deal, helps MSSPs collect predictable margins.

“You’re creating a managed offering that has to be priced effectively in the market, so we’re supporting them there,” he says.

The new program has silver, gold, and platinum tiers like the overarching SecureFirst program it sits within. To ascend from one rank to the next, members must meet the master program’s criteria, earn additional certifications, and demonstrate an ability to meet increasingly stringent incremental requirements, like having 24/7 support capabilities and a redundant failover infrastructure.

Qualifications like those are designed to filter out “one guy selling something” partners, according to Scott McCrady, vice president of Asia Pacific sales and global strategic partnerships at SonicWall, who was one of the SecureFirst MSSP Program’s lead architects.

“We’re happy to support those people,” he says, “but we’re really trying to target people that are a little bit serious about getting into the managed security services space and have some chops behind it.”

To help partners unable to clear the new program’s requirements bar provide managed security services to their customers anyway, SonicWall plans to facilitate a partnering-with-partners model in which qualified MSSPs provide services to SecureFirst peers on an outsourced basis. That’s an approach SonicWall first introduced in connection with its Partner Enabled Services program, a specialization within SecureFirst introduced late last year for providers of security-related professional services.

“We’ve been doing this in the professional services realm and it works really, really well,” Pataky says. “It gives the broad channel an opportunity to cover their customer requirements and their needs, and for the partners that have those capabilities it creates a new business opportunity.”

Professional services from some partners in areas like DPI-SSL deployment and security health checks now appear in SonicWall’s catalog as resellable products that other partners can offer on a white label basis. Pataky expects select MSSP partners to add managed service SKUs to SonicWall’s price sheet as well.

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