Fortinet Inc. is aiming to stay on top of the e-mail security market. But more than that, the Sunnyvale, Calif.-based unified threat management firm is looking to travel upmarket — with its growing managed services business as the catalyst.
Specifically, the firm unleashed the latest version of its next-generation operating system and rolled out a few new products in its FortiMail e-mail security appliance line. And the addition of a few more service options and enablement tools powering its MSSP business are among its biggest channel selling points.
Fortinet’s latest operating system, FortiMail 5.0 OS, is the engine that drives its e-mail security appliance line. Among other things, recent updates tout enhanced groupware functionality, incorporating calendaring functions, shared meeting requests and address book capabilities, as well as comprehensive Web filtering and content protection.
But the biggest boon for the channel is likely a slew of tweaks aimed squarely for its MSSP partners. ”Fortinet tends to develop all of our products with the MSSP in mind. We have a very large proportion of customer in that sector,” said Carl Windsor, Fortinet director of product management, to Channelnomics.
To that end, Fortinet’s e-mail security appliance running the new OS isequipped to be easily scaled and centrally managed, with the ability to get customers up and running easily – a boon for MSSPs governing large, multi-tenant environments.
The new features also enable a greater degree of resource partitioning and protection. That, in turn, gives MSSPs access to more nuanced analytics that can be applied to performance and optimizations services around billing and resource use.
In addition, the new OS also provides a few new options for ISPs looking to filter outgoing spam, which they can leverage to protect their IP infrastructure from being blacklisted. With that in mind, the OS provides features such as e-mail malware protection and bi-directional mail scanning.
In addition, the launch also entails releases of two security appliances on opposite sides of the spectrum — the FortiMail-200D, targeting the SMB, and FortiMail-3000D, geared for carriers, service providers and large enterprises. Feature updates include filtering performance tweaks that bolster the solution with URL filtering and suspicious newsletter detection, along with embedded encryption, quarantine, archiving, AV/AA content filtering, and e-mail rate, control and management features.
The two new mail solutions also tout service continuity that give solution providers the ability to add recovery service options on top of their palette of networking security offerings.
Meanwhile, Fortinet’s most recent OS and e-mail security appliance launch is another step in the company’s concerted effort to take incremental steps upmarket. Up until now, Fortinet has played well in a wide span of market segments that run the range from SMB to enterprise for some time. That said, it’s historically been dwarfed at the top end by larger, and better established enterprise players.
But now the gloves are coming off. And the firm is rolling up its sleeves to compete with the likes of Cisco IronPort, Check Point Software Technologies Ltd, Palo Alto Networks Inc. and other enterprise network security players.
As such, it’s revving managed services options in the hopes of taking a greater swath of enterprise mind and market share. In January, the UTM firm debuted a high-performance security blade accommodating physical, virtual and cloud platforms increasingly associated with large enterprise environments.
Earlier this month, the networking security company released cloud-based sandboxing and IP reputation services, intended to tackle rapidly heating advanced threat trends.
Now the e-mail security piece gives its MSSPs another critical layer from which to develop unique combinations of services and add value to their portfolios. And if the last two months are any indication, it’s likely Fortinet will keep its sustained assault on the enterprise managed service space for the foreseeable future. That bodes well for solution providers, who will likely have more and more opportunities to build out a flourishing MSSP practice that will be the vehicle for a grander entrance into enterprise markets.
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