Networking, MSP

Palo Alto Networks Tests MSSP Security Specializations

Ron Myers
Ron Myers

Thousands of VARs have already transformed into MSPs -- introducing backup, endpoint security and monitoring services that drive recurring revenues. But many of those MSPs have reached a market inflection point.

Indeed, some managed services, particularly PC monitoring, are now commoditized. And while demand for endpoint security remains strong, some MSPs are trying to double down on the security market -- potentially transforming into full-blown managed security service providers (MSSPs).

Amid those market realities, Palo Alto Networks has been piloting an Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP) Specialization and a Cloud Security Service Provider (CSSP) Specialization. Both are invite only; interested partners need to work with their CBMs, according to Channel Chief Ron Myers. No doubt, the effort will leverage Palo Alto's Next-Generation Security Platform.

Managed Security Services: The Land Grab

Admittedly, Palo Alto isn't alone in the MSSP game. Plenty of SaaS-based security providers -- MSSPs in their own right -- have partner programs. And Continuum is testing a SOC (security operations center) for MSPs to plug into.

Mergers and acquisitions involving MSSPs have also been hot. Indeed, Deloitte acquired an MSSP in August; Netsurion and EventTracker merged their MSSP practices in October; and Proficio raised $12 million for an MSSP push in November.

As DDoS and ransomware attacks continue to skyrocket, managed security services seem like a can't-lose bet. And that's exactly why VARs and MSPs should proceed with caution. In some ways, the market is too good to be true. If you already have some security expertise, Palo Alto's MSSP specialization could be a great value-add. But if you're new to the security market then be careful not to over promise and under-deliver to your customers...

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.