Interview: new Fortinet partner program

1. Tell us more about the new Fortinet partner program. What is it designed for?

The Engage program transformed the specifics of interaction with partners from a static model to a dynamic one. The modern world does not allow people to stand still, new technologies require constant development and study. Now the program has 3 areas – the level of relationships (partner status), business model (3 options – system integrator, MSSP, marketplace) and specialization (shows the degree of involvement and development of competencies in a particular area of information security).

Алексей Мормуш About the Respondent:

Alexander Mormush, the Manager on work with partners of Fortinet in Russia

According to Wikipedia: Fortinet is an American multinational Corporation specializing in the development and promotion of software, solutions and services in the field of information security: firewalls, antivirus programs, intrusion prevention systems and endpoint security, and other products. In terms of revenue, the company ranks fourth among all companies specializing in network security.

In fact, now the partner program is a constructor that allows the partner to show the level of engagement, demonstrate what tasks in the framework of information security they are able to solve, and what business model they implement.

As a result of the implementation of the new program, the partnership levels have also changed, there are 4 of them in total: "Advocate", "Select", "Advance"and " Expert". Belonging to a certain level depends on the three areas of relationship listed above. In our relations with partners, we primarily focus on competencies, which is what the updated ranking of partner statuses reflects.

2. How many partners does Fortinet have in Russia, and who has already experienced the benefits of this program?

Today, we have more than 830 partner companies in Russia alone. After the implementation of the new program, the statuses of all current partners were transformed according to the new scale. In addition, we understand that organizations need time to transform according to the updated requirements, and we provide this opportunity during the transition period. In addition, we conducted a series of newsletters and webinars for all partners aimed at explaining the provisions of the new program.

We also see a significant increase in interest in training on our partner portal. This is not least due to current events in the world-specialists want to use their free time as productively as possible, and in this regard, the attendance of our training resources has increased approximately 10 times over the past month.

In addition, depending on the status, partners can now receive additional bonuses from Fortinet, for example, if they meet the set sales volumes (for Advanced and Expert levels).

As for business models, a significant degree of flexibility is also assumed here, and depending on the specifics of the partner company, you can choose one model, or even several at once, if the company works as an integrator, as an MSSP, and as a marketplace.

Another important aspect of the new program is access to the deal Registration Program on the Fortinet partner portal. This allows the company's partners to correctly plan their interaction and track license expiration.

3. Do partners have the opportunity to determine their own level of participation in the program?

The Engage Program is built quite flexibly and transparently, and partners had no problems with the transition and adaptation to new standards. The ability to choose a specialization has just simplified interaction – the partner can choose a number of solutions in a particular direction and now work only with them, without wasting internal resources on a wide range of solutions and products from Fortinet.

4. Tell us more about the levels of participation of partners?

As I mentioned, there are 4 levels in the updated partner program:

  • Fortinet "Advocate" - start a partnership with Fortinet. The requirements for such companies are low, but the benefits are also limited. For example, these companies are not listed as partners on the Fortinet partner portal.
  • Fortinet "Select" level partners are often focused on serving small and medium-sized businesses. They are displayed on the Fortinet partner portal, which is an additional competitive advantage. For this status, you must obtain a certification of level NSE-4.
  • Partner receives Advanced status due to compliance with personnel certification standards, combined with proven success in providing a full range of Fortinet Security Fabric solutions. Such partners receive additional benefits when implementing the sales plan.
  • The Expert level is provided for the largest Fortinet partners who not only demonstrate high financial performance and deliver a wide range of Fortinet solutions, but also have highly qualified certified specialists who are able to manage the implementation of the most complex client projects.
5. will it be more profitable for partners to sell Fortinet solutions?

Yes, there are certain bonuses for partners at the Advanced and Expert levels when completing the sales plan. However, the main positive feature of the new program is its flexibility – it has become easier for partners to meet the requirements of Fortinet and adjust the specifics of interaction and competence building based on the market situation and the company's customers.

6. Does the specialization of the partner for participation in the program?

Partners can choose one or several areas of specialization at once to receive additional support and benefits in their chosen areas. There are 3 main areas: security in cloud computing (Dynamic Cloud), Secure access and branches (Secure Access and Branch), protection of SD-WAN and data center (Secure SD-WAN and Data Center). Individual trainings and certificates are provided for each of these specializations, which help partners improve their skills in new areas and, thus, use additional opportunities for growth.

Many partners already speak positively about the new program. This is especially true for the specialization part. Their availability (you can get one or all of them at once, depending on the competence of the company's specialists and the desire) allows the business to further demonstrate its competitive advantages, because all this information is displayed on our resources, which the client relies on when choosing a partner.

7. How are partners and their specialists trained to implement new Fortinet products?

By default, all partners have the opportunity to complete training on the Fortinet network Security Expert Institute partner portal. In total, there are now 8 stages (NSE) to improve the professional skills of representatives of partner companies. Getting NSE 1 and 2 is free, but it is necessary for the company to be assigned the initial partner status-Advocate. Training takes place in the framework of viewing presentations and training materials, followed by passing tests. The following stages, with the exception of NSE-3, are already paid and are required to confirm the ability of specialists to work with various Fortinet solutions. For example, NSE-4 is required to work with FortiGate and switch to the Select partner level.

All preparatory materials are available on the partner portal, so you can prepare for testing both independently and on the basis of the training centers "Diona Master lab"and" Fast Lane".

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