WatchGuard Launches Managed Security Services Program

If any part of the managed services field is growing, we're told over and over, it's security. To that end, WatchGuard Technologies, a Seattle-based SaaS security firm that specializes in enterprise-grade firewall appliances, has launched a newly enhanced Managed Security Services Program (MSSP). No surprise, it's designed to help their MSP partners make more money selling more WatchGuard services to more clients. Here's the scoop.

On many levels, the new MSSP sounds a lot like any partner program, the kind of which we write about a lot on our sister blog, The VAR Guy: Watchguard provides the equipment and platform at a discount to the MSP, who turns around and resells it to their end-customer for a markup. The difference here is their 4-part certification process to become a partner, according to Chris McKie, director, global analysis and public relations, WatchGuard.

Two levels of certification are strictly technical: the MSP has to be able to use the technology and accurately describe what it can do to clients, after all. The third level is sales, to make sure they have the business infrastructure to actually be profitable to both companies. The final hurdle, McKie says, is that they need the approval of their support organization. Why? WatchGuard allows MSSP partners to expedite hardware replacements for clients past the existing support structure, and they want to make sure that the partner doesn't abuse that power, McKie says.

WatchGuard, which used to be publicly held but went private again in 2006 after a buyout and management shakeup, says that they've had a very strong year, and McKie says revenue growth percentages are in the lower double digits in 2009. It even bought Canadian firm and end user security provider BorderWare earlier this year.

WatchGuard credits a growing awareness of the costs of data breaches for the boom in security, and they say managed security offerings are even more valuable to SMBs that can't afford to keep security administrators in-house.

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