How the WatchGuard Unified Security Platform is enabling security partners to transform their day-to-day operations and develop more engaging sales propositions
It goes without saying that organisations today face a growing number of security risks and, with the rise of remote working, an extended network that is harder to monitor and control and more vulnerable to exploitation and attack by bad actors.
Not surprisingly, in almost every survey of business leaders, security is cited as the number one challenge they face.
For technology providers and MSPs, this clearly represents a major opportunity – just consider how many channel partners are now positioning themselves as MSSPs. But there are challenges too. How do you meet the growing security needs of customers in a way that they can understand and trust? And how do you do so while optimising your own resources to deliver a positive experience to your customers?
WatchGuard Technologies believes in building a security platform for partners. It has even trade-marked the term WatchGuard Unified Security Platform and, as part of this, is giving partners (and end users) the ability to control and manage tools and devices via a single pane of glass.
Ease of use, visibility and control
Tony Roberts, Technical Pre-Sales at WatchGuard Technologies, points out that unifying the company’s four technology pillars (network security, multi-factor authentication, secure Wi-Fi and endpoint security – and the different solutions within each one) onto a single platform frees partners from the complexity of managing disconnected security tools, reduces IT overhead and infrastructure costs and brings real operational benefits.
“Having a unified platform, a single pane of glass, that our end users and partners can log into and gain complete visibility over product, status, reporting and configuration saves time, effort and money. With everything in one place, you don’t need to bounce around different consoles, which becomes complex when you have to juggle multiple different types of system.
“Having everything in one place is paramount for ease of operations. It also gives you visibility, which is where the ‘always on’ WatchGuard Cloud comes into its own. WatchGuard Cloud helps solution providers that have struggled to work across various management systems to deploy and manage security for customers. With your products reporting back to a single place, you can see everything that is going on, you can get notification of detections or issues that arise, or proactively react to threats that require intervention. You are informed and clients can see that you are informed.”
In the main, this is all autonomous. Because detection, remediation, alerting and reporting can happen automatically, you don’t have to watch and monitor a client’s products constantly, but can simply react to those alerts that may require input.
A third benefit of having everything in one place, is control – being able to log-in to a single console and make changes to how a product is configured, on the fly.
“With WatchGuard Cloud, it doesn’t matter where devices are located. If I need to make a configuration change to the protection on an endpoint on the other side of the world, I can. We are geo-agnostic; we don’t care where devices are – we’ve got visibility and control and it is instant. I make a change, click save and, bang, it is done,” he says.
“The other key thing is understanding that nothing stands still, and we need to evolve in line with the threat landscape along with product feature enhancement requests from customers and partners. We always have a roadmap for our products, and they are constantly being improved, ensuring we are providing the best level of protection, more functionality and services, all without impacting the efficiency of our clients.
“That, again, is the beauty of the cloud. Users don’t need to do anything; it just happens. They log into the console and ‘Oh look, I have all these new features and functions available to me’. This industry is a very fluid environment and things change quite rapidly, but we are there to help with that enablement and to ensure that functionality is there for users to adopt.”
As an example, Roberts cites modules available within WatchGuard Endpoint on the WatchGuard Cloud. These include Data Control, which helps with GDPR compliance by identifying the location and activity around personally identifiable information (PII) on endpoints; Patch Management, with Windows and third- party patching through the same console; Encryption – the ability to control BitLocker through the console, so you can easily implement full disk encryption; and the Advanced Reporting Tool (ART).
“We can give you access to all the telemetry we capture in our EDR technology, which we call WatchGuard EDR/EPDR, so if you want to do your own research, your own querying, filters and alerts, whatever activity you want to identify, ART gives you access to all that information. With ART, there is a side- product called the SIEM Feeder, which enables anyone who has their own SIEM system to take our telemetry and feed it into their third-party product.”
Opportunities for diversification
Jennifer Ambidge, Cyber Security Practice Lead at Northamber, WatchGuard’s UK distribution partner, points out that at a time of significant M&A activity as security vendors seek to develop unified platforms of their own, the maturity of WatchGuard’s offering is a big attraction for channel partners, especially those looking to diversify their security offering.
“From a distribution point of view, talking to our channel partners and looking at enabling net new partners, the fact that WatchGuard is already in a position to take out a unified message is really compelling. So many vendors go and put all these great solution technologies into their portfolios and then don’t do the one thing they need to, which is to unify everything as part of their go-to-market and make it accessible to partners, no matter what technology area they are coming from, or which technology pillar is the dominant one in any opportunity.”
Now that WatchGuard has added wireless access point management into WatchGuard Cloud (see box copy), there are even more opportunities for cross-selling and for switching customer conversations from a focus on individual products to broader discussions around cyber security and, increasingly, managed services.
Ambidge says she has already noticed a change in the conversations Northamber has with WatchGuard partners as they look to build on the WatchGuard Unified Security Platform and WatchGuard Cloud by investing in their own resource and capabilities and adopting a different sales approach.
“I am seeing more and more partners who before were only looking at one line within the WatchGuard portfolio now looking at the broader spectrum, investing time, investing marketing resource and technical resource to support a go-to- market sales engagement that is asking the broader questions of how are you securing your data and how are you making sure that your end users are as secure and supported as possible.”
Ambidge adds that this more solutions- focused approach, which historically has been prevalent in the enterprise end user community, is now dominant in the mid- market where WatchGuard is very strong.
“No longer do end users and resellers want to talk about products; they want to talk about business issues and solution drivers, and the creation of the unified platform and WatchGuard Cloud enables our partners to do this. It is delivering exactly what the market and customers need.”
Vendor consolidation and managed services
Jon-Mark Wilkinson, WatchGuard Sales Director UK/I, adds that as well as supporting a broader sales approach, WatchGuard addresses two clear trends in the channel community – vendor consolidation and managed security services.
“A growing number of partners are considering consolidating their vendors and our Unified Security Platform, the streamlined management of network, endpoint, Wi-Fi and MFA in a single pane of glass, enables them to do that in a very cost-effective way.
“The other big change from us is that over the last 12 to 24 months we have re-architected our unified security platform and introduced flexible billing options to enable our partners to deliver the managed security services that customers are demanding. They are looking for that trusted advisor, somebody that can deliver a consolidated solution for them, and the WatchGuard Unified Security Platform, of which WatchGuard Cloud is part, enables our partners to do that.”
To find out more about the WatchGuard Unified Security Platform, please contact Northamber on 020 8296 7015 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The missing piece
This month sees the integration of WatchGuard Technologies’ fourth and final technology pillar, Wi-Fi management, into WatchGuard Cloud, giving customers and MSPs the ability to manage all WatchGuard devices through the same management portal and a single pane of glass.
Commenting on Wi-Fi in WatchGuard Cloud, Andrew Young, Senior Vice President of Product Management at WatchGuard, said: “The MSP market continues to grow at an accelerated pace, driving partners to look for centralised solutions that simplify deployment and management for customers while delivering the highest levels of security. Wi-Fi in WatchGuard Cloud gives partners the ability to layer on Wi-Fi-as-a- Service for customers and integrate it with our complete portfolio of security services like firewall, endpoint protection, MFA and more.”
He added: “Wi-Fi is an integral part of our Unified Security Platform, and now that it’s integrated with WatchGuard Cloud, it will help scale business growth for MSPs and further reduce costs.”