Fortinet’s 2014 Global Partner Conference gives new meaning to the word “partnership,” as its partners are meeting this week aboard the Royal Caribbean Brilliance of the Seas cruiseliner en route to Cozumel, Mexico. (Get it? Partners + ship = partnership). But its not all puns and games—this conference is all about security.
So what can partners expect from this three-day tour, besides all-you-can-eat buffets and tours of Mayan ruins? It’s hard to say, really, since the company is in a quiet period and can’t say much. However, no doubt Fortinet will reiterate its commitment to its channel partners and push them to move beyond the company’s flagship firewall technology to offer their customers the full complement of its security offerings, which include network security, network access and application management technologies.
The company has made headlines of late, but not because of its technology—at least, not directly. In December Fortinet sued Sophos, claiming employee poaching at the hands of former employee Michael Valentine, a former Fortinet top executive who joined Sophos in April as its Worldwide Sales vice president. According to the suit, Valentine engineered similar moves by some of his colleagues, breaching a clause in his contract not to recruit employees from Fortinet for at least 12 months from his departure date.
What that has to do with Fortinet’s channel partners is probably no consequence. Security, however, is a major topic of discussion among just about everyone, thanks to the National Security Agency’s alleged infiltration of IT. Seems as though everyone’s talking about the security of their networks and their devices, which can only be good news for the channel. No doubt Fortinet—like other security companies untarnished by the moves of the NSA—will do its best to capitalize on their position in the market and demonstrate how its partners can come out on top in the security game. At the very least, Fortinet has a captive audience.