IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Fortinet Enhances Partner Program for Service Providers

A new quarterly billing option, “growth path” for MSSPs without a SOC, and “Preferred Services Partner” designation, along with new internal use software bundles, are all designed to increase the vendor’s footprint among MSPs and cloud service providers. By Rich Freeman

Fortinet has made four changes to its Engage partner program aimed at increasing its footprint among security service providers, with a particular emphasis on managed and cloud service providers.

A new Enterprise Agreement program, for example, allows MSPs to pay for Fortinet licenses through quarterly fees more closely aligned with recurring revenue business models than earlier purchasing options.

“We’re giving them more predictability around cost,” says Jon Bove, Fortinet’s vice president of channel sales. 

Enterprise Agreement subscribers can also pay in arrears for licenses added between invoices through a quarterly true-up process. “There’s more flexibility to expand without having to go through our traditional licensing programs,” Bove says. “They can go and expand their estate of licenses under management, and then we can bill them on a quarterly basis after they’ve gone out and implemented, as opposed to the model today, where they’ve got to go to distribution [and] order those licenses,” Bove says.

Enterprise Agreements are available to Fortinet partners in the U.S. immediately, with global availability to follow.

A new “growth path” also announced today seeks to make partnering with Fortinet simpler for MSSPs by eliminating a rule that previously required them to have an in-house security operations center in order to qualify for membership at the entry-level Select tier. Select partners also now receive a free FortiCloud premium license as soon as they complete MSSP Network Security Engineer certification requirements. 

“It’s really about ease of doing business,” Bove says.

Fortinet has also introduced two “cloud productivity kits” offering internal use rights to pre-selected combinations of products in the integrated Fortinet Security Fabric. 

The Starter Kit includes Fortinet’s FortiGate, FortiManager, FortiAnalyzer, FortiCASB, FortiWeb, and FortiMail solutions. The Enterprise Kit offers FortiGate, FortiManager, FortiAnalyzer, FortiCASB, FortiWeb, FortiMail, and FortiSandbox. Available through a member’s channel account manager at 80% off list price, both offerings are designed to attract more “born in the cloud” service providers with expertise helping businesses move workloads online.

“We’re trying to seed those partners by giving them access to the Security Fabric so they can start incorporating a secure application framework as they’re working on these migrations,” Bove says.

To help the most mature providers of professional services distinguish themselves from less experienced peers, Fortinet has also introduced a new Engage Preferred Services Partner (EPSP) program. Members who qualify receive access to specialized training and direct assistance from Fortinet professional support experts.

“There’s a lot of value for our customers, and also for our sales teams, to go and engage with partners that have got skills around consultative implementation and managed services,” Bove says. The EPSP designation aims to make identifying such partners easier.

EPSP status is limited at present to Engage members in the top-tier Expert level, as well as distributors.

All of the updates unveiled today reflect the rising importance in the security market of services generally and subscription-priced cloud and managed services specifically. Indeed, Analysys Mason expects worldwide spending by SMBs on remotely managed security and security product support services to climb from roughly $20 billion in 2020 to $34 billion in 2025.

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