IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

Fortinet Focusing on MSP Opportunities with Upselling and As-a-Service

At last week's ChannelPro SMB Forum in Dallas, Fortinet's Joel Boyd discussed plans to help partners expand sales to existing customers and future "as-a-service" offerings. By Colleen Frye

With SMBs growing increasingly mature about technology in general and the need for security specifically, cybersecurity provider Fortinet is focusing on two areas where it sees opportunity for MSPs: expanding its “as a service” offerings and helping its partners sell more security offerings to their installed base. Joel Boyd (pictured), director of SMB solutions and marketing, outlined the 2023 focus in a conversation with ChannelPro at last week’s ChannelPro SMB Forum in Dallas.

“‘Enterprise light’ is the new SMB this year,” says Boyd. “They understand everything they need, [and want] access to new technology, but they don't necessarily have the people that they need who understand everything and run everything, so the MSP opportunities continue to get stronger.”

Fortinet’s SOC-as-a-Service (SOCaaS), which rolled out more than a year ago and blends FortiGuard cybersecurity experts with Fortinet advanced SOC technology, has “been picking up really fast,” says Boyd. “We’re hoping that it’s a great opportunity for MSPs who have not gone down that road, a chance for them to be able to not miss out on the revenue opportunities that are out there.”

Last week Fortinet announced it was expanding its SOCaaS offering by adding more artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities to additional use cases. These updates enhance the SOCaaS offering’s ability to aggregate security alerts in one single cloud-based dashboard to view actionable intelligence and accelerate resolution, and further enables security operations teams to offload monitoring and detection to Fortinet security experts, according to the company.

Expect more as-a-service offerings in the first half of this year, says Boyd, who cannot disclose specifics at this time. “I will say that we are absolutely moving a lot of things more and more into an as-a-service type model,” he says.

Coming in a few weeks, however, is an easy way to access quick start guides, lead-gen emails, presentation materials, and more to help partners drive more security sales with existing customers, Boyd says. “For the past handful of years Fortinet has been doing a great job of just adding a whole lot of net-new logos; partners obviously have been a huge part of that. … What we've noticed is … a lot of our customers have only started on their path with us to complete protection and advanced protection.”

As a result, “we're as a company doubling down on the support to MSPs specifically to help them grow out, expand [an] existing installed base with Fortinet,” says Boyd, who adds that upselling is significantly less expensive than acquiring a net-new customer.

“The really big focus for us in 2023 is just ensuring that folks really do have the protection that they need, and they realize you don't have to go best of breed. …They can take advantage of the security that they actually need while keeping things simple in the long run.”

In related news, Fortinet last week also announced a new outbreak detection service that alerts subscribers through email as well as automatically within key product user interfaces to major breaking cybersecurity events that have the potential for widespread ramifications; and the addition of cybersecurity readiness services as part of its Incident Response offering.

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