MSSPs: Get Full Visibility into Customers’ Digital Transformation

Securing the new infrastructure required for digital transformation is critical. Here’s how MSSPs can play a role.

Fortinet Guest Blogger

December 20, 2019

6 Min Read
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As your customers edge toward digitization, they inevitably bring on more devices and adopt more business solutions from the cloud. What they are finding is that their old networking infrastructures can’t support the demands of these new business-critical technologies. Specifically, their legacy systems cannot provide sufficient protection against cyber threats. In fact, distributed organizations are finding that their old network-edge infrastructure solutions are leaving their networks open to serious vulnerabilities, especially when facing modern levels of network traffic.

For example, many of your customers are choosing to embrace new networking technologies and infrastructure, such as software-defined wide area networking (SD-WAN). This opens up a business opportunity for your customers by enabling them to scale their network traffic on the cloud. It also saves them money because it allows scaling without having to pay for extra MPLS (multiprotocol label switching) bandwidth. Unfortunately, security in-depth for these solutions is often not realized by companies that are unfamiliar with the new architecture models.

The urgent matter of securing SD-WAN and other digitization staples such as multicloud and connected devices opens up yet another chapter in the digital transformation process. The process of implementing new security controls, monitoring events and responding to them across myriad new tools is proving to be beyond the skillset of many of these organizations. To face these challenges, many are turning to their managed security service providers (MSSPs).

MSSPs Must Keep Pace with Clients’ Digital Transformation

To help serve your clients’ digital transformation goals, MSSPs must be ready to help them secure their entire environment. This means stepping up with integrated solutions that replace the piecemeal, vendor-based security measures–and do so without making it cost-prohibitive. For example, an overwhelming number (80%) of organizations report that these “patchwork” security solutions are time-consuming and difficult to manage.

Equally important: The security solutions you offer must be in line with clients’ business needs and priorities. The goal is a comprehensive security solution that secures cutting-edge technology. Staying current on new threats and vulnerabilities will be key for them.

Get Full Visibility into Your Customers’ Digital Transformation

MSSPs should ask themselves, “What is the digital transformation story of my customer?” Getting this answer is going to require data gathering and conversations with stakeholders: executives, IT, security teams or whomever a business has designated as responsible for securing the network as it grows.

Branch locations, IoT devices and cloud adoption are all contributing to an expanded digital footprint that is increasingly difficult for your customers to secure. While SD-WAN cures connectivity, latency and internet traffic speed issues, it can leave security holes. To get visibility into specific security needs, MSSPs should focus on collecting information from customers in three areas:

  1. Data: As we roll into 2020, the ongoing enterprise trend of moving from centralized data storage solutions to cloud storage will continue. Increased cloud adoption and internet of things (IoT) adoption will fuel the demand for data storage. At the same time, compliance will continue to be a challenge as more privacy regulations affecting data collection, management and storage come into play in the coming year. Consider the following when evaluating your customers’ needs: What kinds of data does your customer’s business collect? Is it encrypted? How is it transmitted to those who need it? How is the data stored? What special privacy concerns might there be? What forms of data are being stored–what kinds of files?

  2. Processes: Who is overseeing security, and do your customers have defined security policies? The managed services that you provide your customers let them leverage economies of scale that they could not generate on their own. Their operational efficiencies depend on the integrations that MSSPs provide across their often-fragmented architectures and different security solutions. Integration facilitates automation of workflows, which, in turn, helps eliminate the risks associated with human error found in manual processes.

  3. Platforms: What platforms is the business using? Do customers have visibility into their software estate, so they know what they have to secure? Are business units deploying their own cloud and SaaS solutions without going through a central IT team? What endpoint security solutions are they currently relying upon and what security gaps exist?

As digital footprints grow with increased IoT deployments, more branch locations and critical developments that make network architectures more complex, visibility will remain a chief concern among your customers. Providing them with end-to-end visibility across their various platforms means you are offering solutions to the problems they are most concerned with.

Distinguish Yourself through Understanding of Customers’ Networks–and Businesses

Fortinet provides partners and MSSPs with the opportunity to fill new customer needs at the computing edge. Partners can expand into networking services, which should not only help them keep pace with new client needs, but also help them attract a new customer base. Offering managed secure services helps MSSPs win business in these critical ways:

  • Grow at existing customer sites by offering secure networking services

  • Grow new business offerings over time without having to buy additional contracts or deployments

  • Increase operational efficiency by using a fully integrated, multitenant toolset

Knowing how to secure digitization, such as at branch locations with SD-WAN, is key, but having the business acumen to fully understand customers’ business needs is what will help MSSPs stand apart from their competitors. By gathering the right information about data, processes and platforms, you can work toward moving digital transformation forward at a competitive pace.

By becoming business-focused–and staying up-to-date on cutting-edge and sophisticated new network complexities and architectures–partners can present comprehensive security strategies for their customers. And by keeping customers’ infrastructure secure, MSSPs facilitate digital transformations that these customers so critically need in order to stay relevant, grow and generally keep up with customer demands.

What Does a Comprehensive Security Strategy Look Like?

Digitally transforming networks are innately volatile, since they can expand and change with easy deployments that can grow unchecked, unmanaged and unsecured. In order to create a comprehensive strategy, MSSPs must deal with each of those risks. They will look at the overall infrastructure, including:

  • Event monitoring

  • Device management

  • Incident response

  • Governance risk

Secure networking visibility is a chief concern of managers, who have trouble maintaining application awareness in the face of widening digital footprints. Performance is also a concern, as is reliable connectivity. An obvious solution might be to increase WAN bandwidth but the cost of increasing capacity in this way makes it an unattractive option, especially in light of modern, SD-WAN solutions.

MSSPs have opportunity in every direction. For example. 41% of enterprises would like to see branch LAN infrastructure covered in their WAN management environments. That is an opportunity for service. And growing your customer base? That’s an opportunity for revenue.

Better service, increased capabilities and the opportunity for increased revenue–MSSPs can lead the way in enabling digital transformation while growing their businesses, too. It’s an enviable position to be in.

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.


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