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Fortinet offers partner flexibility with Engage programme

Security player Fortinet has launched its partner programme with a conscious move to provide several options for partners looking to work with the vendor

Fortinet has cut the ribbon on a fresh partner programme designed to encompass numerous types of reseller models.

The overall aim of the security firm is to make sure it has options to cover as wide a range of partners as possible, and to demonstrate security expertise and value to both customers and back to the vendor.

The original plan had been to launch the partner programme at Fortinet’s partner event in Barcelona, but given the current restrictions with the coronavirus, the kick-off turned into a virtual event and was brought forward.

The broad brush strokes are that partners can opt to qualify for tiered status – ranging from the entry-level advocate through to select, advanced and expert – depending on their levels of expertise and engagement with Fortinet.

At the top end there is also a global category, which is invitation only, and likely to be confined to a select few partners.

As well as the tiered levels, there are also chances for managed security service providers (MSSPs) to distinguish themselves as being managed service specialists, as well as the option to define on business type also being available to integrators and a marketplace category that covers cloud players.

Finally, partners will have the opportunity to specialise in specific technology areas, such as datacentre, secure software-defined wide-area network (SD-WAN), secure access, and dynamic cloud.

Differentiation in the market

David Park, director channel and commercial sales at Fortinet UK, said there had been plenty of input into the Engage programme from partners, and the initial feedback had been positive.

“Prior to the launch of the Engage Programme, the partner programme was quite flat. It didn’t provide partners with the chance to identify by specialities,” he said.

He added that it had already started working with partners to migrate them over to the new levels and had informed them of what was needed to qualify for each of the tiers.

“We have taken a very consultative approach and been working to migrate [partners] across and tell them what they need to do to get the recognition,” he said.

Park added that his career had seen him work across the industry in various different roles, and he has always liked to frame the launch of fresh partner programmes by looking at it through the eyes of a partner.

“What does this mean to me? It will help a lot to differentiate partners in the market, and that has to be the key,” he said.

With the emergence of a fresh partner programme, there will inevitably be some in the channel who have not worked with Fortinet before who might be attracted by the latest programme and look to get involved.

Park said that the door was still open to fresh partners because it recognised it was looking to sell across a wide customer base and needed good channel representation.

“We cover everything from SMEs [small to medium-sized enterprises] up to enterprise carrier telcos,” he said. “We very much welcome partners who want to join the programme.

“If you look at the facts and figures, you can see that security continues to be a growth area and it is an issue that is front of mind with most customer boards.”

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