January 24, 2022
As organizations adopt new business-enabling technologies, their security infrastructure must evolve in tandem. Many organizations purchase individual point products to meet their security needs and fill in gaps. But while this can solve the security problem for the short term, many companies find that this vendor sprawl becomes unwieldy, leading to operational inefficiencies and security blind spots. It can also lead to inefficiencies and unnecessary costs for partners.
As partners seek to differentiate themselves in this competitive market, a strong and integrated foundation that eliminates vendor and solution sprawl gives them a way to remain competitive while scaling their own business operations.
Managing New Edge Environments
The shift toward distributed networks and workforces added new edge environments, including multicloud, 5G, distributed compute, off-network devices and converged operational technology (OT) networks. As companies incorporated these new edges into their current technology stack, they often took an ad hoc approach to security. For each new security risk they came across, these same organizations found themselves adding a new vendor tool to address the issue at hand. And for a time, this vendor and point solution patchwork did mitigate risk. But before too long, cybercriminals evolved their approaches, taking advantage of these fragmented strategies. They deployed increasingly sophisticated malware, successfully breaching networks.
Managed security service providers (MSSPs) and partners who can provide an integrated solution or platform that addresses the rapidly expanding attack surface can differentiate themselves within the market. By offering a carefully crafted platform that integrates security and networking, partners solve the customer point solution problem. Equally important, partners enhance their revenue streams by reducing their own operational inefficiencies. With a platform that spans all areas of the network, channel partners minimize their internal burdens to ensure they can scale their businesses more rapidly.
Securing the new edges requires giving end-users the performance and ease of access needed to drive productivity. As customers focused on point solutions such as firewalls and VPNs, they created challenges as the two solutions often failed to work together. VPNs secure traffic, but they can also negatively impact speed and hinder end-user productivity. Firewalls can be seen as a roadblock because they add friction for the end-user even while bringing increased security.
MSSPs and partners who offer a single platform approach that tightly integrates networking and security can automate threat prevention, detection, and response. This approach gives their customers more robust security without sacrificing the end-user experience. Simultaneously, the automation enhances MSSP and partner revenue by reducing overhead. These efficiencies also lessen internal burdens that make scaling a business challenging, thereby increasing overall revenue.
Customers want solutions that can be rapidly deployed, but above all else, they need a way to secure their technologies before malicious actors can exploit vulnerabilities. And while individual point solutions can be onboarded rapidly, they become time-consuming for the long term and, in turn, increase security team burdens. Partners that can more rapidly onboard a customer with less impact on the customer’s operations are more likely win a company’s business.
That said, partners and MSSPs can incur significant expenses when they acquire and onboard new customers. An easily deployable solution can reduce these costs, though, and provide the business agility needed for continued growth.
Offering Customers Enhanced Visibility
A primary reason that customers move away from internally managing their security to a partner is that they want data-driven advice from professionals. Within their own disaggregated environments, they find that they lack the visibility needed to adequately leverage threat intelligence. With a single platform, partners can offer the visibility their customers want and need from a security technology. This reduces blind spots that often lead to security incidents. Additionally, it enables partners to differentiate themselves from a technology perspective.
A single platform view also mitigates the operational inefficiencies that make it difficult for partners to provide white-glove customer service. MSSPs can enhance their revenue streams by leveraging real-time threat intelligence and analytics. Automation allows them to provide valuable insights and advice without increasing their own internal operational costs.
Managing Vendor Sprawl Requires a Different Approach to Security
Today’s crowded partner market means finding the right technology that supports new business, customer retention and company efficiency is more crucial than ever. Starting with a strong, integrated foundation enables partners to provide a robust, broad-based set of security products and services. In doing this, they can both bring in new customers and provide the flexibility current customers need as they expand their technology stack. Simultaneously, partners must ensure they achieve the operational efficiencies that increase their margins. End-to-end integration within a single platform enables them to meet their own business growth models.
Just as customers choose partners carefully, partners must purposefully choose their technology stack to ensure they can build service offerings that keep them competitive. For partners to align their technology choices with their business goals, they should consider how to provide the best customer opportunities while also reducing internal operational costs for enhanced return on investment.
Jon Bove is the vice president of channel sales at Fortinet. He and his team are responsible for strategizing, promoting and driving the channel sales strategy for partners in the United States. A 17-year veteran of the technology industry, Bove has held progressively responsible sales, sales leadership and channel leadership positions. Follow @Fortinet on Twitter or Bove on LinkedIn.
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