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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.

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333 West San Carlos Street
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March 27, 2018 |

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.

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.

The global market for managed security services will rise 25 percent through 2021 to $24.1 billion, according to April 2017 research from IHS Inc.

“There’s a massive accelerating demand in the market for managed security services,” says Pataky, crediting two factors for that trend: the high price of security expertise in an extremely tight labor market and today’s astonishingly varied and hazardous threat landscape. Indeed, the average SonicWall customer encountered 2,510 malware attacks, 45 ransomware attacks, and 169 encrypted cyber attacks just in February on this year, according to the recently published 2018 SonicWall Cyber Threat Report.

“We’re working in an incredibly dynamic and threatening environment and it’s really, really hard for customers to deal with that,” Pataky observes. As a result, he adds, businesses generally and SMBs especially are entrusting their security needs to channel pros in swelling numbers.

“That creates a massive opportunity for our partners to address that need,” Pataky says, adding that MSPs not impressed by the scale of that opportunity will have little choice but to devise a managed security services strategy of some kind soon anyway.

“If you’re in the managed services business today, IT managed services, it’s inevitable that you’re going to have to have a conversation with your customer around security, Pataky asserts. “You have to address this in some way,” he continues, whether that’s becoming an MSSP yourself or partnering with one.

Last month, SonicWall introduced a wave of forthcoming products, including its first threat protection solution with integrated endpoint detection and response technology from SentinelOne, its first line of virtual firewalls, its first web application firewall, and the first RESTful API for its SonicOS operating system.

That announcement came days before the company unveiled new real-time deep memory inspection functionality capable of identifying malware variants invisible to conventional sandboxing systems.


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