B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro
B2B Tech Talk with Ingram Micro

Episode · 3 months ago

The Importance of Enabling the Managed Service Provider


When you look at your business, you have to ask the question: Is this contextual or strategic? If it’s contextual, your next move should be to outsource—a move that many are making with their network security, Wi-Fi, endpoint protection and firewalls.  

While security is important, it shouldn’t be a company’s main area of investment—leave that to the MSSP experts.  

Shelby Skrhak speaks with Michael O’Brien , RVP of Strategic Routes to Market at Fortinet , about: 

  • Why customers are turning to managed security service providers
  • Strategic IT versus contextual IT
  • How MSSPs have evolved and their challenges 

To join the discussion, follow us on Twitter @IngramTechSol #B2BTechTalk 

Listen to this episode and more like it by subscribing to B2B Tech Talk on Spotify,Apple Podcasts or Stitcher . Or tune in on our website.

You're listening to B two B tech talk with Ingram Micro, the place to learn about new technology and technological advances before they become mainstream. This podcast is sponsored by Ingram Micro's imagine next. It's not about the destination, it's about going someplace you never thought possible. Go to imagine next, DOT INGRAM MICRO DOT com to find out more. Let's get into it. Welcome to B two B tech talk with Ingram micro. I'm your host, Shelby Skirt Hawk, and our guest today is Michael O'Brien, regional vice president of strategic routes to market for fortinet. Michael, welcome, shelby. Thank you very much, pleasure to talk to you and look forward to our session. Excellent. Well, you know, today we are talking about enabling the managed service provider, but first, Michael, tell us a little bit about fortinet. Yeah, well, you know. Thank you for that. Fortnet, as you know, is a leading supplier of products, technology and solutions and the cybersecurity and secure networking space. As a company that's really leading this space and we really touched everything that a customer and a partner needs from delivering a secure environment for all of their needs, whether it be networking, cybersecurity, data protection and protection, etcetera. So it's a great group of individuals that, you know, we wake up every day to help make things secure so that our customers and partments can go about their business well. So, when we talk about managed service providers, and specifically manage security service providers, why are customers turning to this managed model? Yeah, now, I think you know that's an insightful question and naturally everyone have a slightly different answer to that. But you know, the the animals will tell you it's because of the move from a Capex to an opex transition. Uh. Some antals will tell you it's the shortage of technology, you workers, and in particular, cybersecurity professionals. Uh. Some will tell you that it's the migration to the cloud, some will tell you that it's the migration to work at home, and I would tell you that it's all of those things and it's essentially, you know, customers trying to deal with all of those challenges and they see that, you know, there's a real need to look at what they're doing in their enterprises and to think about what is contextual to the business and what is strategic to the business. You know, it's by no mistake that often enterprises aren't outsourcing or using an MSSP for maybe their engineering efforts. Those are highly strategic to a company in the direction they're going. But it's not surprised that a lot of companies are outsourcing their network, their network security, their Wifi, their mail, their endpoint protection, their firewalls, and not that those aren't important and very strategic if they fail, but the reality is is that they're more...

...contextual to the business at hand for these companies. So we find that a lot of companies are turning to answer not only those lists of challenges that I ran through, but also understanding that their core businesses are really for either the creation of the value for their customers the creation of their products, which essentially or they're bringing the market, but their core focus from a company perspective really need to be their main area of investment and they're looking for ways to augment what they need to do by the use of these M S S P S. Well, Michael, I wonder if you can expand a little bit on the difference between strategic I T and contextual it T. Yeah, now, and you know it's interesting in the days of outsourcing. A lot of companies would look at their I t efforts and wonder how much of that I t could be better managed by professionals that have the ability to scale and or more equipped to actually manage only the infrastructure, which is, you know, hardware and software and networking, et Cetera, but also might have a concentration of professionals that that's what they do day in and day out. So when companies are looking at their I t and thinking about, all right, what's contextual and what's strategic, strategic is directly associated with how do I actually grow my business and how do I bring value to my customer? So for, you know, a financial house, it might be how they actually manage their customers accounts and apply their algorithms to figure out long term investment strategies and manage portfolios. So that would be very strategic to a financial services firm. But what might not be very strategic to a financial services firm is managing end points for all of their employees and that's more of a contextual effort. It's I that has to be done because work is being done, versus strategic. It is actually the work. So companies will look at that and kind of make a separation. And they're also naturally looking for economies of scale and a lot of the mssps have the ability to bring an economy uh and an economic value to those customers and also a reduced risk profile. And it's, you know, probably one thing, shelby, that you know customers are always worried about but quite often doesn't get addressed head on, which is, is this going to increase or reduce my risk profile? and M S SPS are experts at reducing risk profiles. So the if the difference between strategic and contextual, its strategic is the work, then contextual is is more of the the infrastructure, the equipment to work. Is that right? Yeah, you can look at it that way. Exactly right. You know, it's we all have work to do, but we all do a lot of things to support those efforts and it's the supporting efforts which are really just contextual. Yeah, yeah, well, so look at managed or M S sps. How have they evolved through...

...the years? I mean I know that this isn't exactly a new concept, but the needs of uh, the security needs have certainly evolved and changed and increased. So I guess can you tell us a little bit of how mssps have really evolved? Yeah, no, that's, you know, the the evolution of M S S P s really are coming from, I would say, three unique places, and they're all interesting and they all have their their perspectives. But we see mssps some forming from the top down. And what I mean from the top down? These are ex se LEX, these are ex local network providers, local telcos, and they've realized that, you know, the their market has changed such that the commoditization of the network and they realized that for them to really grow their business this and essentially reward their stockholders or their investors or their employees, they need to add a lot of high value services and in doing so have moved actually closer to being an MSSP and further from being either a local telco or sea leg or others. So that's one area that we see. So that's kind of from the top down. Then there's the bottom up, and the bottom up is where resellers, folks that have built businesses on being a valuated reseller and help companies like Fort Nick Row, and they've realized that, you know, the pressures in the margin, pressure on selling and reselling have really caused them to have to add additional services. Plus their customers have pulled them into that business. That said, you've done a wonderful job with all of the infrastructure you've helped me build, design and deploy, which is extremely valuable. But now can you actually help me manage it? And those partners, those value added resellers, solution integrators, with fortnette and other companies, have worked their way into being more of a managed services partner, managed services security partner, and we see that is probably the bigger part of this movement right. So that's where the majority of our MSSPS are coming from. They're growing up into the marketplace. Now the third one, and I think this one tends to be the more interesting one in a sense that I don't know that everyone, anyone, would have predicted this migration. You know five years ago, five years ago, that migration is top down and bottom up are definitely happening. But what's happening now is we see a lot of mssps that are born in the cloud. So these are mssps that have come into the market brand new and they've leveraged the best of the SAS based models. The cloud based models and they're offering a set of security service and managed services, leveraging all of these new platforms and delivery...

...methods and they're creating a tremendous amount of value for their customers in the market and really answering the need of, you know, this digital migration that's happening, the work from home, the everything as a service model, being able to leverage cloud fungibility of assets, all of the things that the cloud promises are being highly leveraged by these partners and essentially are being able to address set of problems that the folks that are coming from a legacy network may not see and the folks that are coming from the bottom reseller up haven't got there yet. Eventually, I think this is where they're all going to merge. But I think when you look at those three aspects, that's really what we're seeing. We're seeing partners come from all three of those avenues and you know, we have partners and every one of those we enjoy working with them and uh, you know, our products and services and solutions really address either in any of those paths. Well, also, looking at the successes and the challenges ahead for mssps Um I guess let's start with the challenges. What are some of those common challenges that they're facing? I guess. What should they be careful of? If if there's you know, I don't know if it's a cautionary tale or or if it's just, you know, these are the challenges ahead, and so, you know, the most successful mssps have blank in mind. Yeah, no, you know, the challenges are way more numerous and we're going to get to in this podcast, certainly, but probably the most common denominator of those challenges is they're constantly moving. You know, the threat landscape, as we like to call it, is constantly in a form of movement, and that is that new actors, bad actors, are coming in new processes or ways for people to penetrate your digital domain or coming in new tools, new technologies are being exploited. I mean, who would have thought that, you know, you know, we all would be carrying a phone with the capabilities that phones have today around on our corporate I t network and connected to some of the you know, the very sensitive data that it is. So just, you know, a normal everyday occurrence for all of us just starts to remind us of how that threat landscape has changed and I think you know the reality, and one of the things that we try to address here is that the way that we help partners deal with that is we really surround them with three things. We surround them with a set of products that are comprehensive and both integrated and integratable, and those are two different things and we can talk about that. The third thing we do is make sure that we enable those partners to understand those threat landscapes and that we give them best practices in not only determining those threat landscapes for their customers, but also addressing them for their you know, with their partners, for their customers, and then, lastly, surrounding them with people that this is their data.

You know, just like when people turn to mssps or organizations turned to mssps, you're really looking for the expertise to make sure that you don't create a learned lesson that you didn't have to create. Right and we vote, you know, many of us children and we all know that sometimes those learned lessons are the best ones you can teach your children. You let them go through it, while our job at business is to help them avoid those learned lessons and really leverage the wealth of knowledge as a company like fortnette has. So the third thing that we do is really surround them with the right people. Well, so you mentioned the you know, being integratable and integrated. Can you expand a little bit on that? Yeah, so you know, we we have a product set that will take you from a cybersecurity offering all the way into a secured network offering, into a sim offering, into a sock offering, to e D R, to xdr too analytics, and it spans the gamut of all as x of cybersecurity and that was done by the design and it is integrated. And the importance there is is that when partners are looking at products and they're looking at services offerings and bringing those offerings to market, you know it's it's one thing to pick a best in class product in every single area, but then the onus for integrating those is on the on the backs of the partner and that's a big engineering lift and many of the partners, and in particular if you think about those three routes becoming MSSP, whether it's top down, bottom up or from the side, integrating those things is very challenging. So we've done all the hard work for our partners. We've created that integrated platform, that integrated play, and it's given our mssps the ability to start on one end of the spectrum and bring offers to their customers through the entire spectrum. So integrated products are just that, products that allow you to build on top of each other. Now, integradable product is interesting in the sense that we also recognize we don't do everything. We don't do ticket management, and ticket management is a very important aspect of how an MSSP brings value to their customers. How I am in managing your tickets, and anyone listening to this is certainly called a help desk and Rana, you know a ticket on why I couldn't get outlook to work right. Well, the reality is that there's a ticket management system behind that and we need to make sure that our systems can send the appropriate alerts to those ticket management systems, integrate with those ticket management systems and then have tickets closed out appropriately and having all the A P I s available to have that integration is absolutely an integradable offering. So when you compare those two aspects of an integrated product set which helps me grow my business, and an integradable product set which helps me bring this product into my total business. We focus on both aspects of that from a product development perspective. So we've looked at how Ford Net can can...

...support mssps and provide them, you know, the help them with that that heavy lift and provide experts and and basically the team, the dedicated team that they need. I wonder if you could just share who is that customer? Who is that customer that turns to Ford Neet? I mean, is this for larger, larger businesses or, you know, are these the smaller SMB s? Yeah, so I think we could look at the market in two segments with that, shelby. So the first one is we look at the customer segment and our customers span the gambut. We have the mom and pop shops that have two or three locations and they're just looking to secure their WIFI, they're looking to have a way to manage their network and across those two or three locations all the way up to the largest enterprises in the world, uh, and some of those breach into the federal government, which is the largest customer in the world. And we're addressing some of the most complex solutions and broad solutions in both geography and technology across the spectrum. So when you look at Fort Net and you consider end points, and if you think about endpoints being any place that you're applying to cybersecurity technologies, were the number one provider in the world and is, and having that size and scope of an enterprise, you can imagine that we really do address all aspects of the enterprise, SMB, commercial market, federal market, sled market, etcetera. So I think you know, the answer on the end customer side is broad. I think the answer on the partner side and in particular MSS P S, is also broad in the sense that we have the number one, two, three, or four and five TELECO's. So if you've got a phone in your pocket or your purse, it's connected to a company that fortnet works with diligently to make sure that that connection secure. And we also have some very small start up mssps that have literally starting out with customer one, two and three. So it really does stand the gamut and you know, we find that our partners are coming to us to help them address these very small to very large problems and we're applying the technologies and products to do that. And you know, the other part of your question is really you know, how do we enable that? Right? What do we do from a fortnite perspective to bring those things to life? And you know, enablement with us is one of the things that we wake up every day thinking about. Is What are we doing to help enable our partners to bring offers out into the market? And you know, I was reckoned backed, I think it was a three m commercial. You know, we're not the paint company, we just the ones that bring the paint colors to life. Kind of a thing, right, and that's really what you know fortnite is we bring these offers to life, and the way we do that is surrounding them with people that are from the industry. First and foremost. We find that when we go off...

...and higher cybersecurity experts, our best success is often looking within the industry itself and finding people that have actually brought these offers out into the market, whether it be from a service provider at Telco, MSSP or other organizations, and when they come into fortnite they bring all that wealth of experience of going wait a minute. I've stood in their shoes, I've walked their hallways. I understand what it is to actually bring a service to offering and that allows me to have a different perspective on what would most likely be important to them. So I think, you know, surrounding them with the right people is absolutely critical. And then on the enablement side it comes down to a lot about process and tools and you know, recently fortnite just announced that it's making its UH network security educational offer available ubiquitously. So we're going to make that available to essentially anyone who wants to go through a cybersecurity curriculum, one of the best in the industry, and I think it's one of those things that fortnete leans into, which is educating that next generation of cybersecurity professionals. But the other things that we do in enablement are often things like offered development and we have people that are dedicated to going into a partner understanding what they're trying to bring to market and their job as an ORF for development team is to leverage all of the learned lessons across Fortnet, leverage all the tools, all of the best practices, whether it be how to do a proof of concept to standing up a pilot to actually prototyping and implementation. We package all of that up in a form of not only a self serve set of curriculums, but an in person classroom lead environment and an actual consulting engagement where we actually help partners bring offerers into design, into prototyping, out to market and then help them manage the life cycles of that. And when we're going in there talking about service, they understand that we understand what that means and that's an important differentiation from a lot of companies out there that will say sign into my channel program pull down my education, let me know when you're ready. Now we walk the walk. We talked to talk and we're in there with the partners helping them design and build and bring these offers out to market. Well, as we start to wrap up our episode today, we always ask our guests the same final question and that's where do you see technology going in the next year? And I know that's that's broad by design. I could be within this space or it can be, you know, technology in general. But if you're have your crystal ball, where do you see technology going, you know, in the time span of a year Um. You know, I think we're going to continue to see the evolution of these cloud based offerings and these new not only offerings but providers that are leveraging a non traditional way of...

...deploying services and offerings and I think, you know, longer than the one year. One of the things that's going to fold into that, and I think it's going to become a little bit more ubiquitous across many of the things that we do, and not only as consumers but also in enterprises, is the advent of AI and the use of AI as a way to enhance how quickly those offers can be brought to market and how to reduce the overall cost of actually delivering those and gain some additional insights and bring additional values. So short answer in short range, more cloud, more SASS. Longer range, more cloud, more SASS, with a higher pond concentration at ail. So for listeners who wanted to find out more about what we talked about today, how can they reach out? Yeah, the best thing to do is to work with their local channel, account manager and fortnet, which they can get in contact through their distributors certainly, and essentially work with their local contact for fortnet. They can also go to fortnet DOT COM and in there is a channel page and all of the contacts needed to be able to pull down more information and sign into that. So you know, we certainly look forward to hearing from them and we'd be glad to be supportive in anyway, shape or form. Excellent. Well, thank you so much for joining me, Michael. Thank you, shelby. I was a pleasure and uh look forward to our next opportunity absolutely and thank you listeners for tuning in and subscribing to B TB Tech talk with Ingram Micro. If you like this episode or have a question, please join the discussion on twitter with the Hashtag B two B Tech Talk. Until next time, I'm Shelby Scare Hawk. You've been listening to B two B tech talk with Ingram micro. This episode was sponsored by Ingram Micro's imagine next. B Two B tech talk is a joint production with sweet fish media and Ingram micro. Ingram micro production handled by Laura Burton and Christine Fan. To not miss an episode, subscribe today on your favorite podcast platform. H.

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