MSSP Business Offers Opportunities to Develop Innovative Offerings

Arabian Reseller speaks to Shadi Khuffash, the Regional Sales Manager for Carriers and MSSPs at Fortinet, about the opportunities in the region for MSSPs and how companies can transform themselves into MSSPs

What sort of opportunities are present for MSSPs in the region?
The MSSP market has been experiencing exponential growth in the past 2 to 3 years and is rapidly transforming to offer a wide-range portfolio of security services that address increasing SMB and Enterprise market demand. The percentage of companies now using MSSPs has been growing year on year due primarily to an increased comfort level of entrusting security controls to third parties.

Nonetheless, MSSPs are also capitalizing on the critical challenges faced by organizations today, which are essentially an increase in cybercrime that target enterprise networks, growing regulatory compliance and data security laws, security recruitment and budget limitations, and the rising acceptance of cloud-based services.

How has the evolving threat landscape changed the way MSSPs work today?
Today’s evolving threat landscape and gradually complex IT infrastructures are progressively increasing demands on IT teams across the globe. As a result, organizations of all sizes are opting to simplify their operations and reduce overhead by outsourcing their IT security to MSSPs who can deliver the best security to meet their individual needs.

As IT and security professionals struggle with internal resource shortages, complex technology, worries of data theft, and the increase of mobile devices in the workplace, an MSSP partnership has become an imperative for many organizations. In fact, working with an MSSP is now considered a security best practice for companies needing better defense against the latest cyber threats. MSSPs give companies access to specialized, up-to-date security technology, and teams of seasoned security experts who can respond in real-time to an attack, protecting valuable company data and intellectual property.

MSSPs can help organizations stay ahead using security services that can be delivered from a security operation center (SOCs) for extended monitoring benefits that deliver cutting-edge threat detection, threat intelligence, incident response, analytics and security device management. Such controls employed by MSSPs offer true protection for an organization to stay ahead of the constantly growing threats.

What, according to you, does becoming an MSSP entail?
Managed security services providers play an essential role in providing advanced security and compliance services to organizations undergoing digital transformation. Their ability to apply security solutions, establish consistent policies, and enable a single management view into the extended network fills a critical gap in many IT organizations.

We’ve always viewed MSSPs that managed to fall into the visionary category as up and comers. Very often, these are smaller companies with breakthrough offerings that haven’t yet evolved or grown to their full potential. In a market segment as dynamic, rapidly changing, and urgently in need of innovative solutions as cybersecurity, the lack of recognized visionary MSSP vendors signals a huge market opportunity to be filled.

The nature of the MSSP business offers an ideal playing field for fast-footed players to develop innovative offerings targeting the most vexing cybersecurity problems facing private and public organizations. MSSPs thrive by integrating off-the-shelf products with innovative thinking and effective action to address urgent customer needs. The recipe for MSSP visionary success calls for equal parts technical savvy, street smarts, and fanatical devotion to end-customer success.

How can MSPs make the transition to becoming an MSSP?
The evolution of MSP’s to MSSPs has been noticeable in terms of the differentiated offering they are bringing to the market, addressing all market segments, including delivery of customized solutions as per the organization size. I can think of several burning issues ripe for resolution by MSPs that bear the capability to transition to MSSP. Not only are these unsolved problems, but they offer tremendous rewards to whichever MSP can deliver solutions to resolve them in the marketplace.

The following are some of the ones that I believe are ripe for picking: AI & Machine Learning, Multi-clod security, IoT, Big Data, 360-Degree Threat Picture – Almost every customer struggles under the weight of managing multiple security technologies that do not talk to each other. They need a 360-degree view of the threat landscape in order to effectively protect their environments from malicious intrusions and to detect and mitigate them when they do occur.

Does your company run an MSSP Program? Please share details. What challenges can MSSPs face on the market today? How do you as a vendor or partner try and address it?
Managed security service providers (MSSPs) face several technical challenges in the infrastructure they develop, the tools they employ and the processes adopted to drive services. There are also numerous business challenges that make it difficult to provide the right services at the right time and for the right cost. All of these issues can pose barriers to entry into the market and limit profitability if not addressed adequately.

Fortinet understands that Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs, network service providers, or systems integrators) have special technology demands and support requirements. That’s why we staff experienced professionals with backgrounds in MSSP operations, product development, and training to manage our industry-leading partner program. We also design our technologies to support multi-tenancy, centralized management, platform flexibility, and high-performance networks. In addition to helping MSSPs secure customer networks more effectively, our approach creates additional revenue streams, higher profit margins, and differentiation from the competition.

Fortinet’s broad MSSP Partner Program offers unique benefits that enable participants to develop, operate, and expand their security service offerings:

  • Access to Fortinet’s developer network, official documentation, APIs, and tools originally developed for internal use to unlock advanced features and customization capabilities for Fortinet products and solutions.
  • Online, self-paced training with role-specific courses tailored to help develop sales and technical staff.
  • Support for marketing, sales, and technical activities along with dedicated account management along with access to Fortinet beta programs and invite-only events.

What are the drivers that generate demand for services and solutions offered by MSSPs?
Growing regulatory compliance and increased cyberattacks are a major driver for organizations to maintain high data and network security posture to ensure maximum protection of assets and minimum impact of potential breaches. The current cost saving pressures facing organizations such as deploying best of breed security fabric solution which may be difficult to achieve, leads to compromises in deploying effective solutions necessary to protect their networks.

Shortage of security skills necessary to ensure continues monitoring, evaluation and response to incidents before and when they occur for quick isolation and remediation are a critical concern. Such challenges may endanger business continuity, credibility and reputation of organization if not taken seriously. Therefore, MSSPs offer unique opportunity by addressing such concerns facing organizations and taking over the responsibility to protect their customers’ networks.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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