Network and content security vendor Fortinet has grown its Australian presence by approximately a third, having hired 30 people in the last six months.
With a total headcount of 115 across Australia and New Zealand, Fortinet regional director for Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Islands Jon McGettigan said that one of the key aspects for being a successful enterprise is that it needs to have a support organisation for its channel.
Fortinet has a technical assistance centre in Sydney which also increased its capacity, counting 21 tech engineers in total.
"But it's not just people on a phone, it's professional services and our technical account managers," McGettigan told ARN. "And that's really important to me. We can sell something once but we've got to support them for years to come. So that's becoming more and more of an investment for our business too."
With a total 1,500 partners, Fortinet has identified a group of key partners across gold, platinum and silver partners that the vendor is focusing on.
The list is long and it includes Data#3, Datacom, DXC Technology, Fred IT, NEC, Over the Wire, Seccom Global, The Missing Link and many others.
In terms of features to local partners, Fortinet has designed a "channel toolkit" which is a number of offers to its focus partners which might include marketing funds, case studies, workshops, training sessions that tailor towards what the partner requires.
"So we sit down with their marketing team, management, and sales team and understand what the different parts of their business need from us and we try and accommodate it," McGettigan explained.
The company has been developing individual tailored programs to apply to the partner's different needs.
The vendor has recently appointed Tim Fitzgerald as channel director for Australia, who replaced Fiona Hodges in November 2018.
"He's based out of Adelaide and he quickly identified that we need to have regional channel presence," McGettigan told ARN.
"We can't have national channel presence with people flying around. So we have people based in Queensland, New South Wales, Melbourne, South Australia and Western Australia as well. And that's really important to make sure that those local relationships are strong. And then Tim, as the manager, makes sure that the strategy for each partner is held across the country."
Fortinet uses its distributors – Exclusive Networks, Ingram Micro and Wavelink – as an extension of its channel team, with the vendor focusing 80 per cent of its efforts on those key focus partners and 20 per cent on the other partners, while the distributors do the opposite.
"So, it keeps the relationship strong across all and they [distributors] have more manpower than we have focused on that market."
5G and SD-WAN opportunities
Fortinet works not only with managed services providers but also with telecommunications providers, having AT&T, Macquarie Telecom, Telstra and Vocus Communications to name a few as its telco partners.
"When we talk about industry trends and what's coming or where is the opportunity and how are people going to be affected by technology, we're really focused in on the impact of 5G, what that's going to mean for the providers of 5G and the security they require too," McGettigan told ARN.
"If you think 5G will do is it will allow network speeds to a device and there'll be, I think it's [predicted] 20 billion devices by the end of next year that are utilising 5G globally. So what does that mean to an organisation? Well it means that their network has opened up to a whole much larger tech surface.
"Security is absolutely key because they'll be utilising more and more cloud services which also need security. You'll be accessing apps on your phone that are in the network or in a public cloud or private cloud environment and that exposes your network," he explained.
"That's where 5G is a very interesting topic around security. And that applies mostly to the cloud development approach as well. So we're starting to see a lot more cloud option in Australia."
Also, McGettigan has seen secure SD-WAN adoption increased in the country. Fortinet provides an SD-WAN functionality which means traffic can be prioritised across cheaper internet links.
"Our operating system scales across all of the boxes, from the smallest to the biggest. So whatever solution you design, you can have the right box for the right requirement running on the same operating system. So we've seen some very large deployments of over 1,000 sites in Australia where we've been displacing generally two or three bits of technology with one."