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Cato Networks cuts ribbon on managed SASE service

Firm is aiming to make life easier for those managing complex customer environments

In a move designed to make life easier for its channel, Cato Networks has handed partners the opportunity to provide managed secure access service edge (SASE) services.

The vendor is providing tools and support through its MSASE Partner Platform to enable the delivery of the services, as well as simplifying processes to speed up time to market.

Greg Duffy, product marketing director at Cato Networks, said it had been keen to respond to partner feedback and offer a service that would help them differentiate from the competition and get to market more quickly.

“One of the intents of doing this was to simplify the way our customers consume SASE, but also to simplify the way in which partners can deliver it,” he said.

“When customers buy SASE they’re expecting a single thing, a single service, but what’s underneath is often point products, or perhaps a service built from lots of different software [from] all the companies a vendor has acquired. This is a problem for partners offering managed SASE services because if a partner is delivering services based on a bunch of point products, there’s a very high workload that still sits with them,” added Duffy.

As well as the technology moves Cato is making to make it easier to manage a complex networking and security environment to deliver managed SASE, Duffy said it had responded to other items on the partner wish list too.

“They’ve told us they don’t want to be offering two services, they want to differentiate, and one [requirement] is their customer service needs to look seamless, but [also] extremely simple, because often it’s areas that they haven’t dealt with before, and if it’s simple, they can be agile and fast and reduce the risks that can come with complex areas,” he said.

“They really need to have visibility across all the customers and all the services, and the need for that goes up with SASE,” he added.

Cato is supporting the managed SASE offering with playbooks, training materials and proof-of-concept guides that partners can access and share with customers.

To make managed SASE work for its partners, Duffy said it had to provide more than just the platform and the technology.

“They don’t just need a comprehensive set of tools,” he added. “They need a comprehensive set of organisational learning. They need to have processes, procedures, playbooks, guides, and things like that, and they need training for their sales and service people.”

Cato has also smoothed the deal registration and quoting process to make it quicker for partners to translate a prospect into closed business.

“Having launched something, they also need to be able to bring the money in quickly because they’ve made huge investments,” he added. “When they have closed something, they want to be able to quickly get on with deploying it because customers get upset with long deployment cycles.”

Duffy said it was making the managed SASE tools free to its channel and expected the move to spark interest from managed service providers (MSPs) that had not worked with the vendor before, but the focus was on making sure it kept numbers at a level where it could maintain a high level of support.

“We want our partners to know that when they look for an opportunity they will not be falling over lots of other partners. So I choose not to try to manage huge numbers of partners,” he added. “We’re focusing on partners trying to go out to the market.”

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