Nozomi Networks launches MSSP Elite program for OT and IoT services

The Nozomi program has one fully validated partner in the program, Accenture, and several others working through the validation process. The plan is to keep the program fairly select going forward.

Chet Namboodri, Nozomi Networks Senior Vice President of Business Development and Alliances

Nozomi Networks, an OT company which has embraced IT to deliver IoT security, has followed up the reboot of its ADVantage Partner Program a month ago with the launch of a brand new program for a different kind of partner. The MSSP Elite program starts out with a small set of high-end partners, including GSIs and large telcos.

“We termed this program Elite because the partners are elite,” said Chet Namboodri, Nozomi Networks Senior Vice President of Business Development and Alliances.  “They are global players. It’s a traditional program in that the partners hold the Nozomi licenses and build OT and IoT offers around our SOC services and platform management capabilities for the customer.”

Out of the gate, several partners were announced – Accenture, FireEye Mandiant, Moro Hub, and Telefónica – but Accenture is the only one to have been fully validated.

“We went through a very regimented validation process on their SOC playbooks,” Namboodri said. “They’ve been a reseller GSI for us for many years now, with OT expertise that goes back to their acquisition of Cimation in 2015, and which was bolstered by the acquisition of Revolutionary Security a year and a half ago. The  other partners are in the process of going through the validation – and there is more to come.”

Namboodri said that Nozomi has learned through hard experience that this market for advanced MSSP partners delivering IoT and OT services has only just reached the tipping point where it can be profitable for everybody.

“I’ve been watching this market here for four and a half years, looking at MSSPs and OT,” he indicated. “We have a product that was multi-tenanted and could have been used for OT from the beginning – but the market hasn’t been there.”

He noted that Nozomi entered into a relationship with FireEye Mandiant in 2017 after FireEye went through an extensive RFP process.

“We didn’t get a lot of traction when we did this in 2017, because the market wasn’t ready,” he said. “FireEye was a great offer and a great approach, and the strategy was right, but the need was latent then and didn’t surface into a lot of businesses. That changed last year and the beginning of this year. MSSP services for OT and IoT are now in prime demand, with customers asking for this type of service.”

While the earlier initiative with FireEye Mandiant was pretty ad hoc, the MSSP Elite program is a structured one.

“This is very much a programmatic approach,” Namboodri said. “I hired an expert, Annie Zhang, at the end of last year, who has stood up MSSP programs before, including at Zingbox, which was acquired by Palo Alto Networks.”

Namboodri said that program’s objective isn’t to string together 100 MSSPs.

“We are starting with five and with three more on the precipice,” he indicated. “The goal is to have 8 to 10 by the end of this year, as the market dictates. We are looking to address specific segments – not snap up all GSIs. Moro Hub is an example of this more focused type of partner. We also want to walk before we run, so while it may not be long before we get more contracts completed, we are likely to wait on these announcements until we get a more robust training process in place.”

Unsurprisingly for such an exclusive program, it has only a single tier at this point.

“We also provide SOC analyst training that we co-developed with Accenture, and we have also pulled together platform management training with certification exams. We just hired Kimberly Seale as Global Training Delivery Manager to shape these into industry-recognized certifications. We don’t have badges at this point, but we will.”

Namboodri noted that he spent ten years at Cisco, where he admired the approach that they took towards certifications.

“They had a great approach in terms of educating the world, and we are looking to model our efforts on what they accomplished 20 years ago on the certifications  front,” he said.

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