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01732 759725 36 Technology Reseller talks to Jonathan Whitley, WatchGuard Regional Vice President, Northern Europe, about the company’s evolving product offering new capabilities to managed service providers (MSPs), a partner category in which WatchGuard has been experiencing double-digit growth and which Whitley identified as a key area of activity for the company. “The MSP business continues to be WatchGuard’s focus. I look at that in two parts: there's the things we do to make it easy for MSPs to do business with us, like flexible billing and making sure the ecosystem works in the way they want, by which I mean that if they have made investments in infrastructure like RMM and PSA tools, we make sure we have the appropriate integrations for them. That's one side. The other is the products we provide, the security services that they can deliver. “In both areas, we've made big advances, and we're now condensing a lot of that into one. In the UK, for example, we've launched technology integrations that allow us to do subscription billing in arrears, so customers don't have to make any upfront investments in hardware or software. That's made life much easier for a lot of channel partners and it's brought new channel partners to us as well, because at the end of the day people don't want to plan the way they do business around their suppliers. They want their suppliers to fit in with what they do.” Subscription billing is an alternative to WatchGuard’s established upfront billing options: traditional one and three-year licences; and MSP Points (Whitley likens them to WatchGuard vouchers) that MSPs buy and use to pay for products and services that they can provision and switch between customer accounts. With subscription billing, WatchGuard’s distributors can despatch, say, a firewall and start invoicing for it on a monthly basis until that device is no longer required and is returned. While there is a theoretical risk that customers could end their subscriptions earlier than expected leaving WatchGuard with excess used stock, Whitley said that subscription customers tend to buy more – and like the fact that WatchGuard has to justify its value to them every month, as they do with their customers. “The whole thing about being an MSP is that you need to justify yourself on an ongoing basis to your customer. You need to keep investing in the values that you're providing them. It’s not just about shipping tin to a customer that you then forget about for three years before reconnecting when it’s time to renew their box. That approach to business has gone, and it means customers get a better service from us and a better service from their partners. We try to invest as much as possible in working with resellers like that.” Whitley added that while some existing partners have moved to subscription billing, greatest interest has come from partners that have been built to operate on this model and haven't previously dealt with WatchGuard. “We've managed to recruit some new partners and we've got very, very ambitious plans for 2024 to continue that. We're looking at this becoming an increasingly big part of our business,” he said. Managed services So, what about the technology side, what are the key developments in WatchGuard’s four main areas of activity – network security, endpoint security, Secure Wi-Fi and identity security & multi-factor authentication? At the time of our conversation, i.e. before the launch of ThreatSync+ NDR, Whitley singled out WatchGuard MDR, launched in January, as the big new opportunity for MSPs, pointing out that it allows them to provide a managed detection and response service without having to build their own SOC, with the massive investment in licensing, infrastructure, staffing and redundancy that that entails. “We provide the eyes on their customers and inform partners if we see anomalies on their customers’ endpoints and look at remediation as well. We launched that in January and we’ve closed On June 25, WatchGuard Technologies expanded its portfolio with the launch of ThreatSync+ NDR and WatchGuard Compliance Reporting. ThreatSync+ NDR is uniquely suited to businesses of any size that operate with smaller IT teams or limited cybersecurity resources. This 100% cloud-native solution leverages artificial intelligence to offer comprehensive threat detection and response capabilities, making enterpriseclass security accessible to all. This solution, the first in the unified cybersecurity provider’s new ThreatSync+ family of products, follows January’s launch of WatchGuard MDR for endpoints, which Jonathan Whitley, WatchGuard Regional Vice President, Northern Europe, highlighted as a product to watch when Technology Reseller spoke to him earlier this year. Together, these services bring powerful A watching eye Jonathan Whitley SECURITY