Something we’ve all felt here at Microsoft 365 Nation is that complexity is simple and simple is complex (and easy). The blog below helps clear the confusion.
At many organizations, discussions around deploying and managing new IT and cybersecurity solutions are often met with confusion. Many companies, especially in the SMB space, do not have dedicated IT and cybersecurity teams. This means technical resources are strained when it comes to selecting, deploying, implementing, and securing infrastructure.
To effectively compete in today’s digital marketplace, organizations of all sizes are turning to technology to automate manual tasks, extend reach, analyze data, and perform other business enablement tasks. While these solutions, including cloud platforms and SaaS applications, provide organizations with the resources and efficiencies they need to expand their business beyond what they normally could sustain with their current resources, they also drastically increase complexity—not only network complexity, such as the challenges of maintaining visibility and compliance while managing disparate solutions, but also operational complexity for IT teams needing to manage an increasingly distributed and continuously evolving set of networked environments.
As organizations seek ways to reduce this operational complexity, partners who can assist in selecting and integrating tools and streamlining security processes can play a critical role in their ability to succeed in today’s markets. This is place where Fortinet partners can provide value in simplifying and securing the networks of their customers, while growing their own business.
Reducing Security Complexity for SMB Customers
There are several ways that partners can reduce the strain and complexity that SMB customers are struggling with through a combination of essential service offerings.
- Offer Technical and Threat Assessments: For organizations that do not have devoted IT and security teams, the process of evaluating the components of their distributed network, determining where security risks exist, prioritizing those risks, and then selecting and deploying the appropriate tools to mitigate those risks is daunting. Without a proper understanding of where their network is weakest, it is likely that these SMB organizations will end up deploying a patchwork of isolated point solutions. While deploying security tools across each potential entryway has the right intention, the lack of integration can actually reduce visibility and leave gaps in security.
Partners can assist by offering cyber threat assessments that eliminate this daunting responsibility from SMB teams. Cyber threat assessments monitor network activity to determine where vulnerabilities exist, as well as which applications are running within the network and what resources they utilize. It also notes bandwidth, session, and performance requirements at peak hours. With this information in hand, partners are able to provide their customers with a tailored plan for selecting essential security tools and processes that won’t disrupt performance and then deploying them precisely where the network and data are most vulnerable and valuable.
- Simplify Onboarding: Even once a threat assessment has been conducted, and your customers know which solutions are needed and where they need to be placed, there is still the act of deploying them. Partners can assist their customers with this by developing clear deployment and onboarding plans that educate the necessary stakeholders on how the tools work, what issues need to be considered during deployment, and then ensure minimal disruption to daily network operations. Streamlined onboarding ensures the success of the program by maximizing its efficiency and effectiveness, and in turn, offers partners the opportunity to expand business opportunities down the road.
- Enable Centralized Management: Even large organizations that have devoted IT and security teams still have difficulty monitoring the network to keep track of which devices are connected, who has access to data, where that data is stored, and what resources applications and workflows need to access—in addition to responding to security events. For SMBs, managing all of this with limited IT resources is nearly impossible.
This is why it is especially important that partners equip SMB teams with security tools that provide and plug into a centralized management solution that offer single-pane-of-glass visibility. This enables streamlined visibility that reduces complexity, allows teams to monitor data movement and identify anomalous activity, simplifies solution optimization, and centralizes the management of firewalls and other security tools from a single location. Fortinet partners can leverage FortiManager to enable enhanced visibility and control.
- Leverage Security Expertise: Many SMB clients do not have the resources necessary to track security trends, understand solution reports, update control rules, etc. Partners can reduce complexity and enhance security for their customers in this realm by combining their security expertise with critical reporting. Reports from partners provide essential assistance with informing security strategy. For example, FortiAnalyzer offers an in-depth analysis of the NOC and SOC to determine the scope of risk in the attack surface and then identify where immediate response is required. Additionally, partners can offer technical advice and capabilities by leveraging NSE certifications, making them an invaluable training resource for clients.
Network security is becoming increasingly complex, especially as networks expand to include new cloud resources, and many organizations simply do not have the resources necessary to effectively deploy and manage the tools they need to protect their modern, distributed networks. Leveraging threat assessments, expertise, streamlined onboarding, and centralization, partners can reduce the complexity of this process for their SMB customers, enhancing the security of their customers while growing their own business.