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MSP Landscape, an interview with Steve Martinez

We sat down with FireMon’s MSP & Cloud Operations Strategic Account Executive, Steve Martinez to discuss the latest MSP landscape. Here’s how it went:

1. Could you tell us a little about yourself and your role?

In total, I have been with FireMon about 17 years, over two tours and multiple roles. I most recently rejoined as part of the DisruptOps acquisition a little over a year ago. My current title is MSP and Cloud Operations Strategic Account Executive, which is ridiculously long. A shorter, more accurate title might be MSP Program Director. After partnering with several large companies to expand their MSP portfolio with FireMon services, it has been incredibly rewarding to see the value-add we bring to our MSSP partners and their customers.

2. What trends do you see in the MSSP space? Anything you’d like to let MSSPs know?

I recently attended MSSP AlertLive in Washington DC to better understand the needs of MSSPs. I sat in on several presentations, each bringing interesting data points regarding different facets of the MSSP business. Three topics that really seemed to resonate with the MSSP attendees were:

      • Combat Commoditization – provide meaningfully unique services
      • Automate, Automate, Automate – automation scales and reduces mistakes
      • Consider Cyber Insurance – who pays in the case of a security breach?

Combat Commoditization
One theme I heard repeatedly was “innovate or die,” “combat commoditization,” “provide meaningfully unique services.” There are so many MSSPs. Of course, there are the larger players in the business, but there are countless specialized MSSPs targeting niche markets. If you want to thrive in the business, commoditization is your enemy. One speaker that examined this topic in depth was Bob Millar. He called it “being meaningfully unique, combating commoditization and taking market share.” You must provide additional services that your competitors may not offer. For instance, you may provide firewall management, but are you recertifying each of those rules each year? Do you have a roadmap to scale your unique offerings? Think automation.

Automate, Automate, Automate
When broaching new services and becoming meaningfully unique, you must look ahead and provide services that you can automate away. People make mistakes, people don’t scale, and employees are becoming more and more expensive. Without automation, you’re left with manual effort: spreadsheets and human error. Let’s say you’re a SOC operator and you’ve got a customer, or multiple customers, with multiple devices, and a request comes in for a firewall change. You have to start investigating each and every device that’s in that path that allows that service to provide that access. While it is possible to use human eyeballs to figure it all out, 1. It takes a lot of time and 2. It is prone to human error. Then, who pays when an error leads to a breach? Think cyber insurance.

Consider Cyber Insurance
MSSPs need to be aware of the risk that’s being offloaded to them. The end customer specializes in accounting (or other business), not network security, so they find an MSSP to manage and protect their network. But then, if there is a breach, whose responsibility is it? The MSSP’s. Truthfully, there was a lot of legal jargon presented, but they went into a lot of detail about the contracts that MSSPs are having their customers sign, and where the lines of responsibility need to be clearly drawn. I think we’re going to see more and more of that in the years to come as ransomware and other threats become more prevalent. As customers assign risk off to the MSSP, the MSSP needs to cover themselves.

3. What value does FireMon provide for MSPs?

FireMon provides value to MSSPs in a number of ways, largely increasing their margins and efficiencies. In particular, we drive new revenue streams for MSSPs that are offering firewall management as a service, expanding their service portfolio with firewall assessments, policy clean up, rule recertification, and more. Any solution we provide to our customers, we can partner with MSSPs and provide to their customers. We have a large suite of solutions, for on-prem firewalls to the cloud to asset discovery. Using FireMon takes firewall requests from days to hours, depending on the complexity of the request, and allows MSSP SOC operators to tackle more high margin business, because they’re not constantly bombarded with time-consuming rule requests.

In regards to the three topics discussed above, FireMon immediately combats commoditization with new automated service offerings, and offloads some of the risk to our technology that is always up to date, never sleeps, and never calls in sick.

4. What makes FireMon’s MSSP program unique?

I think our two largest differentiators are the ability to be flexible/easy to work with, and having a reputable large suite of products that the MSSPs can take advantage of.

Flexibility – We are very accommodating when it comes to working with our MSSP partners. We understand that you have a pricing system in place. We work with MSSPs to create a solution that works for everyone involved.

Large Suite of Products – You can come to me as the one stop pro shop for a lot of the services you may need, so you’re not vendor hopping and signing countless MSAs. You sign one MSA with me and you’re done. Typically, an MSSP will start with our Security Manager (our core product), then add in Policy Planner and Policy Optimizer, and sometimes Risk Analyzer depending on the need. MSSPs may then use Cyber Asset Manager for asset discovery, and/or DisruptOps for cloud management.

5. What are the steps to become a FireMon MSSP?

Check out our website at www.firemon.com/managed-services-providers-msp/ and request a demo. We will get back to you as soon as possible!

We provide Gold Support and training to all of our partners and look forward to working with you every step of the way!

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