Globalization and moving beyond reselling were two primary goals of the program updates.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

May 10, 2022

5 Min Read
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Fortinet has unveiled several updates to the Engage Partner Program that it launched in 2020. The updates aim to create even more growth opportunities for global partners of all types.

The security provider announced the Engage partner program updates during its Accelerate 2022 virtual event on Tuesday. Jon Bove is Fortinet’s vice president of channel sales. He said there are two goals behind the program updates.


Fortinet’s Jon Bove

“We wanted to truly globalize the partner program,” he said. “We think that’s important. We’re a global company, we’re a global channel, and I think we needed that level of global consistency.”

Beyond Reselling

Second, the Engage partner program originally was mostly a reseller-driven program and the “market’s kind of moved beyond that,” Bove said.

“The foundation of our first introduction was introducing three tracks,” he said. “So we want partners to self-identify and we want to make sure we can build value for each. So we’ve got an integrator track, which is your traditional VAR and IT channel, an MSSP track and a cloud track. And then on top of that we built specializations.”

Fortinet’s security fabric is broad in nature, Bove said. It has solutions for network from SD-WAN to data center, to endpoint around zero trust, endpoint detection and response (EDR) and network access control (NAC), and then around cloud and overlaying security operations.

Here’s our most recent list of important channel-program changes you should know.

“So what we introduced was the specialization,” he said. “So this concept that a partner could go specialize through certifications, training and specific tracks … and not that you need to specialize in everything.”

Fortinet recognizes that services drive profit for partners, Bove said.

“And so we want to drive services enablement through practice adoption,” he said. “We think that’s very important because the days of partners being able to show up, and build and run their business on the transaction, those partners are dying. And maybe some of them are already dead and they just don’t know it. So it’s very important for partners to be able to show up and deliver whether it be consulting services, managed services, deployment services or data support services.”

Engage Partner Program Updates

  • For partners with a mature, established professional services practice, the Engage Preferred Services Partner (EPSP) program provides direct vendor support. It also offer additional accreditation to increase service sales and delivery excellence. Qualified EPSPs receive access to specialized training and direct assistance from Fortinet experts to build new skills and expand their confidence in providing advanced end-to-end security support for their customers.

  • There are more entry points to make it easier for partners interested in joining the Engage Partner Program and adopting the MSSP business model. For example, Fortinet no longer requires Select partners to have a security operations center (SOC) in place. Going forward, for Select partners who have completed the MSSP business model’s NSE certification requirements, Fortinet will now provide a free FortiCloud premium license so these partners can more efficiently deliver essential managed services.

  • Fortinet now offers two cloud productivity kits for Engage partners. Those include a cloud starter kit and a cloud enterprise kit. Organizations can acquire and implement the technology they need to create an online environment to demonstrate how with Fortinet they can secure data applications and users in the cloud.

  • A new enterprise agreement program for MSPs initially launching in the United States. It aims to provide a more predictable cost structure and revenue stream. It also helps partners simplify the management of their estate of assets. That includes the assets they own, the ones being delivered as a service, and those they inherit to manage. That makes it easier to centrally coordinate all assets under their control, the company said. This will help partners streamline business operations and create efficiencies.

Feedback Drove Engage Partner Program Updates

Partner feedback played a key role in the program updates, Bove said.

“The enterprise agreement for MSPs came directly out of feedback that we got from …

… our MSP partners about license portability, the ease of management, and the ability to have a more predictable cost structure and the ability to have that pay-as-you-grow with billing in arrears. And if we go back to the preferred services partner accreditation, that’s something I think partners have been asking and looking for for a long time.”

Partners have done a great job using the network security expert (NSE) program, Bove said. However, it’s been kind of a build-your-own journey.

“So when we introduce the specializations to the partner program, the specializations organized the NSE training curriculum and certification into specific areas like SD-WAN, data center and SOC,” he said. “And then once we had partners getting these specializations, the feedback was, ‘Well, now what do I need to do to become a service delivery certified partner?’ And so that’s exactly where the preferred services partner came from.”

Capturing More Whitespace

Everything Fortinet does points back to the earnings guidance the company gives to Wall Street, Bove said.

“We’re coming off of a pretty impactful quarter, with a 50% bookings increase, a 36% billings increase and 54% increase in product,” he said. “Our partners play a meaningful role in that. So everything that we’re trying to do through the Engage partner program to enable partners to become stronger, selfishly more focused on Fortinet, all goes into us trying to go capture more white space. It’s white-space adoption and expansion with the security fabric. We look to our partners to help us capture white space, and then we want them to leverage the security fabric for wallet expansion. And then along the way, we want them doing the services because we recognize how profitable services businesses is for partners.”

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Edward Gately or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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