The new offering, which is the cloud distributor’s first in the network access security category, comes in response to requests from partners for an edge security complement to the cloud-based productivity, infrastructure, continuity, and other systems they already source through Pax8.
“It was partners saying, ‘we want this,’” says Ryan Walsh, Pax8’s chief operating officer.
Partner input influenced Pax8’s decision to choose WatchGuard as its first network access security partner as well, he continues. “They had such a great reputation as we started leaning into it and looking at the category that it really felt like the right partner.”
Other factors in the vendor selection process, according to Walsh, were WatchGuard’s channel-only sales model and the Firebox product line’s feature set, which includes high-speed interception of encrypted threats, advanced persistent threat blocking, and MSP-friendly administration tools.
“The multi-tenant management was built into its core, and you could see that. We deal with a lot of vendors who add that later,” says Walsh, noting that WatchGuard places a welcome premium on ease of use and reporting in its interface as well. “That rolls really well with Pax8 because we put a lot of attention and a spotlight on those things.”
Pax8’s WatchGuard services feature subscription-priced Firebox firewalls. WatchGuard ships that hardware directly to end users on Pax8’s behalf in an arrangement the distributor has used previously for products like Datto’s BDR appliances.
Tier 1 support comes mostly from Pax8 itself, with WatchGuard providing onsite support where needed. Pax8’s integrations with PSA software from ConnectWise, Datto, Kaseya, Syncro, Tigerpaw, and others enable automated ticketing.
MSPs pay for the new service in monthly installments alongside other cloud solutions they provision through Pax8, with no long-term contracts. If I’m an MSP, Walsh says, that’s what I want. “I don’t want to get locked in. I want to be able to order what I want when I want, and then leave when I want.”
Today’s announcement follows months of behind-the-scenes integration work aimed at ensuring Pax8 partners can provision, bill, and manage WatchGuard deployments through the same tools they use elsewhere. Willingness to invest in that kind of project is a precondition for partnering with Pax8, Walsh says. “It’s just a nonstarter if you’re not ready to interact with that level of automation.”
Research from Forrester Consulting commissioned and published by Pax8 last month quantifies the impact an automated, heavily integrated distribution platform can have on an MSP’s bottom line. Participants in that study saved an average of more than $177,000 on account billing over three years and more than $297,500 on support.
“It’s not sexy,” Walsh says, “but billing, simplicity, automation—those things remove headaches from a partner.”
In addition to firewalls, WatchGuard offers multifactor authentication and endpoint security products. The company added a family of secure Wi-Fi 6-enabled access points last November as well. Pax8 has no immediate plans to add those products to its catalog.