Fortinet and Linksys have partnered to develop secure work-from-home network solutions that feature hardware-as-a-service (HaaS) payment plans. Details about the new developments surface roughly six months after Fortinet invested $75 million in Linksys.
Both Fortinet and Linksys have channel partner programs. While Linksys is well-known in the consumer and small business markets, Fortinet works closely with service providers and MSSPs from the SMB sector up to the enterprise.
Linksys HomeWRK for Business | Secured by Fortinet: Product and Service Details
The jointly developed solution leverages a provision-free hardware device that replaces an employee's existing home router. Like many home networking solutions these days, a guided app helps end-users place the networking equipment in the most ideal location. The device supports WiFi 6 tri-band technology and Linksys’ Velop Intelligent Mesh software.
The equipment is further optimized for Zoom-based video conferencing, voice calls and screen sharing. Fortinet's embedded security automatically blocks suspicious malware, prevents intrusions, and filters harmful content, the companies say.
So where do MSPs and channel partners potentially fit into the conversation? A management console enables managers to monitor and diagnose the performance of all devices connected to the corporate network in real-time via a single portal. We're checking to see if that portal is multi-tenant for MSPs and MSSPs that support customers' home networks.
The other twist involves a digital line between corporate networks and home networks. Indeed, the device allows for multiple networks running in parallel. While corporate functions are remotely managed by the IT team, employees can control personal network functions to protect privacy, according to the statement.
The joint solution will be available in the United States in Q4 2021 and globally beginning in Q1 2022 via a hardware-as-a-service (HaaS) subscription plans that require no upfront investment for enterprise IT teams.
Hardware as a Service: Extending From Enterprise to SMB and Consumer Markets
Multiple hardware companies -- spanning PCs, networks and storage -- have introduced as-a-service payment models for their gear. Examples include Dell Project Apex, Cisco Systems Plus, HPE GreenLake and Lenovo TruScale.
At first glance, the as-a-service hardware models are designed for enterprise customers that want on-premises alternatives to such public clouds as Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud Platform, among others.
But take a closer look, and the HaaS business model will extend down into the MSP-driven SMB sector, Cisco Channel Chief Oliver Tuszik said during a media briefing last week. Tuszik predicted that MSPs will increasingly wrap their own managed services around HaaS solutions to deliver predictable monthly costs and reliable infrastructure to end-customers.
Apparently, Linksys and Fortinet agree -- though their HaaS strategy extends all the way the consumer networking market.
Linksys HomeWRK for Business | Secured by Fortinet: Executive Perspectives
In a prepared statement about the joint work, John Maddison, EVP of products and CMO at Fortinet, said:
“Our goal was two-fold. First, make it very simple for anyone to set up a fast and reliable home WiFi network. Second, provide enterprise IT with the ability to secure and manage the business aspects of that work-from-home WiFi network just as they do with any other device attached to the network. The Linksys and Fortinet joint venture is not just a simple OEM agreement of two distinct parties, it’s the start of a completely new market.”
Added Linksys CEO Harry Dewhirst:
"Last year, companies and their employees were catapulted into a remote work era with little to no preparation. In that time, they’ve done what they can to make it work. It’s clear that remote work is the future of work and through Linksys HomeWRK for Business | Secured by Fortinet, we are not simply providing a solution to make it work. We are providing companies a way to enable employees to securely and safely connect to their work, thrive in remote environments and operate with peak productivity and efficiency.”
Additional insights from Joe Panettieri.