“Fortinet Is Heavily Investing In Partner Marketing”

Rajesh Maurya
Regional Director, India & SAARC, Fortinet

Aiming to come out of the shade of tier one partner only company, Fortinet is increasingly expanding its channel base in India. The global high-performance cyber security solutions provider is now creating an ecosystem of data center service providers and MSSPs to give customers a broad choice of solutions for protecting their infrastructures.

Fortinet which currently has over 750+ registered partners in India is also looking at expanding partner base in Class B & C cities. Apart from that, Fortinet has made substantial investments in its R&D centers in the country to provide its partner ecosystem assistance in positioning its cutting edged security solutions in the market.

In a candid interaction with Channel Times, Rajesh Maurya, Regional Director, India & SAARC, Fortinet highlights efforts of the Network Security provider around the relationship management in India and the SAARC region.

Below are the excerpts from the exclusive interaction-:

How was FY 2015 for Fortinet in terms of growth and expansion in India and the SAARC region?

Fortinet is steadily growing in India and the SAARC region. In fact, 2015 was a very good year for Fortinet in terms of growth. Our business grew at 32 per cent in the SAARC region. Every vertical business grew for us in 2015. We had very strong growth in the BFSI segment. Our BFSI business grew at around 52 odd per cent. We were able added couple of nationalized banks to our portfolio of customers. We also marked a very strong growth in the IT/ITeS segment 2015. This segment grew around 59 per cent. A lot of software companies have deployed our solutions in last one year. On the telecom side, our business grew around 25 per cent. We saw a huge acceptance of Fortinet products across the verticals in the SAARC region.

The Wireless Network Security Market is expected to reach $15.55 Billion by 2019. Which are the factors driving the Network Security industry?

Networks are currently undergoing more dramatic change than at any time in the past thirty years. Organizations are simultaneously wrestling with issues such as BYOD, IoT, virtualization, SDN, cloud, the proliferation of applications, Big Data, and the expectations of the next generation of employees to blend their work and their personal lives on a single device of their choosing, with instant access to any data at any time from any location.This has exponentially increased the attack surface that organizations need to be concerned with.

The problem is compounded by the proliferation of point security products embedded across the distributed network. The tendency as networks become more complicated is to add new security devices to an already overburdened wiring closet. It’s not enough to detect bad traffic or block malware using discrete security devices. You need a common set of threat intelligence and centralized orchestration that allows your security to dynamically adapt as a threat is discovered anywhere, not just in your network, but anywhere in the world.

Fortinet has recently unveiled Fortinet Security Fabric. What is the significance of the Security Fabric for Enterprises?

Today’s digital economy connects more users, devices, applications, and data to drive business value. Billions of new IP-enabled, non-user IoT devices are transmitting vast amounts of data traversing wired and wireless access points, through both public and private networks, across traditional and cloud infrastructures. To successfully mitigate the cyber risks in this digital economy, organizations need to implement a tightly coordinated security strategy that can govern this data across an entire network without compromising agility or performance. Fortinet’s Security Fabric delivers security without compromise and addresses the challenges brought on by the digital economy. Whether it is enterprise or SMB it has become very critical for organizations to invest in a Security Fabric.

Fortinet has predominantly been a large enterprise vendor aligned with tier-I partners. Now you are focusing on tier 2 and tier 3 partners. Is this an effort to remove the tag of tier-I partner vendor?

Not really. We have never been an Enterprise only partner company. We always had multi aspects of partnerships. We are 100 per cent channel driven company and our business is only through the channel. We have Managed Security Service Providers (MSSP) as partners, Tier one SIs partners and we also have a very strong base of regional partners. So, we have played in almost every segment and we also have partner ecosystem to address every aspect of the market. We are aligned with more than 750+ registered partners in India. In fact, we are probably the only vendor in the security space to have different teams to manage MSSPs and high end Enterprise SIs. We also have formed regional teams to manage SMB partners.

What value proposition do you offer to your channel partners that sets you apart from the rest of competition on the relationship management front?

Fortinet has invested heavily to provide increased marketing support to channel partners with leadership content and telemarketing to provide qualified leads for extending sales reach and profitability. We have assigned a dedicated Channel Account Manager in each region for major partner accounts. Fortinet’s Deal Registration Program, which is managed by a dedicated Deals Desk, helps to ensure that our partners are protected on every deal they initiate and bring to Fortinet.

Fortinet’s Renewal Tracking System provides partners with advanced alerts on customer service renewals. This helps partners achieve a very high rate of customer retention. We are probably one of the few companies which have got dedicated trainers and have invested in partner marketing. Every quarter we send information to customers in a partner kit which is well appreciated by our partners. We believe that these efforts will definitely help partners to pitch the product right.

What is the roadmap of Fortinet for India and the SAARC region in 2016?

The FY 2016 is pretty good for us in India so far. We are growing our business close to 40 per cent and we are hoping that 2016 will be a good year for us. We will focus more on human resource and will invest in domain specialist people who will be able to advise BFSI, IT/ITeS and Government customers. We will definitely invest a lot in infrastructure. We are putting a lot of emphasis on training of both customers and partners and will continue to invest in training.

On the partner management side, we will make sure that we have a point of escalation for every partner of Fortinet. We will do more and more marketing investment for partners to make sure that they have the necessary skill sets. We are building a large support infrastructure based out of Bangalore. I believe it will definitely help our partner ecosystem in India.

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