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New Year, New Opportunity: Building a Stronger, Better, and More Trusted Partnership

Offer partners a layered cybersecurity strategy and combat ransomware as part of your expert guidance.

Jon Bove

January 9, 2023

6 Min Read
Security partnership, merger, acquisition
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Jon Bove

We hear it all the time: the threat landscape is continuing to expand, and bad actors are becoming more sophisticated. Concurrently, companies are struggling to keep up — both in terms of technology and staffing, while complexity increases as digital transformation marches on.

What’s needed to tackle these challenges is more trusted counsel — and for partners, the coming year represents the perfect opportunity to refresh your relationship with your customers as a trusted adviser to them in their cybersecurity journey.

Three-Pronged Problem

Customers are grappling with a three-pronged problem:

The skills shortage remains a significant issue. The worldwide cybersecurity workforce must increase by 65%, according to the 2021 (ISC) 2 Cyber Workforce Report, to properly secure enterprises’ critical assets. Although there has been progress — in the past year, the number of experts needed to close the gap has decreased from 3.12 million to 2.72 million — it’s obvious that there’s still a significant talent deficit. The organizations surveyed in Fortinet’s 2022 Cybersecurity Skills Gap Report reported that at least 80% of breaches could be directly connected to a shortage of cybersecurity professionals.

Ransomware is proliferating and getting more destructive. The FortiGuard Labs team documented 10,666 new ransomware variants in the first half of 2022, compared with just 5,400 in the second half of 2021 — an increase of almost 100%. Not only are we seeing continued ransomware attacks, but bad actors are creating new types and they’re doing it at a faster-than-ever rate and it is more destructive than ever.

A wealth of solutions creates complexity. Sometimes, too much choice can be a problem. As the security market continues to expand, there are new vendors, new tools and solutions coming to the market all the time. It can be difficult to wade through and figure out what you truly need for your organization. Complexity prevents effective security.

Becoming a Trusted Adviser in 2023

As a partner, you can help with all these issues. Your customers aren’t just looking for someone to sell them more products; they’re looking for guidance and this is a huge opportunity for partners. Especially in 2023, as budgets tighten for some organizations, TCO becomes a more common question, and a skills gap continues — having to do more with the same will be common.

Partners can help overcome the skills shortage by supplementing customers’ in-house resources with the workforce and the specialized skills they need. Partners remove or at least lessen the complexity of choice so that customers aren’t overwhelmed by all the vendors and solutions currently available. You understand how various solutions and services can play well together and provide real value.

Customers rely on partners for access to the latest technology, security expertise and threat intelligence. Knowing that you have these capabilities, your customers can feel more confident in their ability to defeat the menace of ransomware.

New Opportunities for 2023?

This year, there are a few key areas to focus on in terms of helping customers stay safe. Many of these we know about, but in a heightened threat environment with cyber adversaries increasingly doing more reconnaissance to maximize their attacks, a layered strategy is key. Areas to look for in …

… the coming year include:

  • Zero-trust network access (ZTNA) enhances existing VPN technologies for application access by reducing the trust historically demanded to connect and interact with employees and partners. ZTNA solutions accomplish this by never trusting and always verifying. Each user’s identification, the context of the access request, and each device’s posture are all verified before allowing any access.

Additionally, the device’s and user’s postures are continuously checked so that if either change, so does access. Finally, universal ZTNA operates the same no matter where the user connects from across the infrastructure.

  • Secure SD-WAN remains key for reducing security sprawl by converging security and networking functionality into one appliance. Additionally, it paves the way for MSPs and MSSPs to provide extra value-added services with little additional overhead.

  • Endpoint detection and response (EDR) is an extremely useful technology that operates at the endpoint level, which is important given that the traditional perimeter no longer exists. For partners, this opportunity remains top of mind given the sprawl of endpoints and edge devices. Since these devices’ edges serve as the entrance to the business’s critical assets, it is crucial to protect against attacks on them. The key for EDR is the ability for advanced and automated endpoint protection which can detect and respond.

  • Deception technology plus digital risk protection services (DRP): Deception technology mimics high-value software or an important device. It might masquerade as web server or a database. In an operational technology context, it may be designed to resemble an operator console or a PLC (programmable logic controller). Anyone who accesses this system is obviously a bad actor. Next-generation deception technology enables tracking the source of the threat, including the IP address and a wealth of other forensic data required to locate and stop the attacker.

DRP is threat information collected outside the network’s perimeter. A DRP service has the advantage of viewing your customer’s complete environment from the outside, the same way a malicious actor would.

This service can look at not just whether your customer’s websites are exposed, but also at the way they’re exposed. Additionally, it will scan for dangers such as typos and domain squatting, also known as cybersquatting, which can lead to the development of fake websites, as well as rogue mobile applications and other threats. The most robust DRP services look beyond immediate surroundings to anything that can have an impact on your customer’s brand.

Maximize that Cybersecurity Portfolio

Don’t count on cybercriminals making any resolutions to be kinder and gentler. In fact, expect the opposite. But the new year presents a new opportunity for you to be a loyal partner and adviser to your customers by securing their assets in today’s heightened threat environment. Think about visibility within and outside and how you can go above and beyond with solutions that might not be obvious. Make sure to include the core solutions noted above in your service-offering discussions.

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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About the Author(s)

Jon Bove

VP, Americas Channels, Fortinet

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 U.S. 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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