Fortinet expands professional services, partner ease of use with changes to Engage Partner Program

A major theme running through the announcements is to make it easier for more types of partners to engage in higher level value-add  activities with Fortinet.

Jon Bove, Fortinet’s VP of Channel Sales

Today, cybsersecurity vendor Fortinet is announcing a series of updates to their Engage Partner Program. The most significant is likely a new Preferred Services Partner Accreditation, aimed at partners with mature services practices and designed to let them expand their service offerings around Fortinet to a greater degree than in the past. Changes have also been made to make it easier for MSSPs to work with Fortinet. Two new cloud productivity kits, a Cloud Starter Kit and a Cloud Enterprise Kit, have been introduced for partners, with a focus on non-traditional born-in-the-cloud ones. . A new Enterprise Agreement Program has also been unveiled for MSPs. Initially, it will be available only in the U.S., but it should be available in Canada as well in a comparatively short time.

“We introduced Engage in 2020 as a global program, for the purpose of expanding beyond our traditional global partner community to incorporate more MSPs and cloud-first partners,” said Jon Bove, Fortinet’s VP of Channel Sales. “Now we are looking to drive more enablement around service practice adoption because, selfishly, we want customers to use our fabric to solve those problems. In addition, we want to be very easy to do business and drive profitability with our partners.”

The new services component, the Engage Preferred Services Partner [EPSP] significantly augments the services component which has been in place.

“We have always had CSSP for our services, but that is more L1 and L2 post-sales support for partners,” Bove indicated. “The CSSP program has been around that line of support. With the EPSP, we will skill those partners up to deliver implementation and professional services, including consultative services, on the front end and deployment. We see a tremendous opportunity to further accredit and enable our partners with this.”

Out of the gate, the EPSP will be focused on partners with a mature and established professional services practice.

“As we roll this out, it will initially focus on our expert partners and distributors, and over time we will expand it to other partners,” Bove said. “The rest of the partner community also has access to our network security expert curriculum, with NSC 1-3 being sales enablement  and NSC 4-8 being technical skilling up.”

New growth paths for partners have also been created to make it easier for them to skill up, particularly with respect to adopting the MSSP business model. Select partners, for example, are no longer required to have a SOC in place. Going forward, for those Select-level 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.

“This makes the MSSP program open to more partners,” Bove said. “Removing the SOC requirement allows us to embrace those who have a NOC instead of a SOC.”

Another innovation designed to attract and enable new types of partners is the introduction of two cloud productivity kits for Engage partners: a Cloud Starter Kit and a Cloud Enterprise Kit.

“We have tracks for integrators, MSP and cloud partners,” Bove said. “These embrace cloud partners who were not born in the channel. We want to make our technology more available for them. We see this as a tremendous opportunity to build repeatable reference architectures for these born-in-the-cloud partners.”

The Cloud Starter Kit includes a pre-selected SKU pack of FortiGate, FortiManager, FortiAnalyzer, FortiCASB, FortiWeb, and FortiMail solutions. The Cloud Enterprise Kit consists of a pre-selected SKU pack of FortiGate, FortiManager, FortiAnalyzer, FortiCASB, FortiWeb, FortiMail, and FortiSandbox. Both kits also benefit from an 80% discount.

Finally, a new Enterprise Agreement program for MSPs is designed to provide a more predictable cost structure and revenue stream with quarterly true-ups following to see what they are actually using. 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 even those they inherit to manage, making it easier to centrally coordinate all assets under their control.

“This is all about enabling MSPs to have more control over license management and license portability, and increasing the ease of doing business,” Bove indicated. “It is also about removing thought requirements for the MSSP program, to make it more embracing to MSPs.”

While the new Enterprise Agreement Program will just be in the U.S. at launch, the plan is to expand it.

“Initially, this will be rolled out in the U.S., but look to see it in Canada over the next quarter or two,” Bove said.