David Park

Doug Woodburn
clock • 6 min read
David Park

Name: David Park

Role: UKI channel director, Fortinet

Spirit animal: Octopus

Walk-on song: One Vision (Queen)

How would you summarise Fortinet's channel philosophy?

Fortinet is strongly committed to helping our partners build long-term, sustainable growth through both our breadth of products and our ongoing focus on innovation. We enable you to differentiate your offerings and expand your business.

Right now, we are facing a global cyber skills shortage. This is why Fortinet is committed to training one million security practitioners globally

Tell us about Fortinet's partner programme in 100 words or fewer…

Fortinet provides our partners with a valuable, flexible platform to build a profitable and highly differentiated security practice with the industry's best solutions to drive customer success.

How many partners do you work with in the UK? 

We work with more than 60,000 active partners globally.

Are you looking either to expand or reduce that? If so, what partner profile does this apply to?

We are always looking for the right partners to enhance our ecosystem, whether that is to address a particular segment, industry vertical or area of expertise, such as cloud and DevOps, operational technology or global enterprise solutions.

Have you made any major changes to your partner programme recently, or are you about to?

We work with integrators, MSSP and cloud providers. Each of them has different their own business model and requirements, which is why we tailor our partner programme with three concepts in mind: engage, expand and specialise.

First, we define the level of our partner engagement, so it's aligned to their level of experiences and business requirements. Second, we help them select the right business model that works for them. We know that each of our partners transact in different ways, so we've built in flexibility to meet their needs. In 2019, we introduced the third concept - to help our partner differentiate themselves with specialisations. This includes training, enablements and targeted solutions in areas such as SD-WAN, SD-Branch, LAN Edge, data centre, adaptive cloud security, zero trust access, operational technology and security operations.

Describe your perfect partner?

For me, the perfect partner is one that wants to grow their business with Fortinet and understands how our platform approach will assist them in delivering critical solutions and services opportunities to meet their customer needs.

In which areas would you most like to see your partners invest over the next 12 months?

Right now, we are facing a global cyber skills shortage. This is why Fortinet is committed to training one million security practitioners globally. Hence we have developed our training programme and widened the accessibility to the on-line learning tools and certification programme.

Fortinet's Training Advancement Agenda (TAA) and NSE Training Institute programmes provide cybersecurity training and certifications, career growth resources and hiring opportunities to make a career in cyber attainable for all.

In addition, we have an initiative called FortiVets helping those from a services background transition to a career in Cyber security. Since 2013 this program alone has benefitted 2500+ veterans and military spouses. https://www.fortinet.com/training/veterans-program.

How do you see vendor channel programmes and channel engagement models evolving over the next few years?

We see huge market opportunities SD-WAN, LAN Edge, SD-branch, data centre, adaptive cloud security, zero trust access, operational technology and security operations. Supporting our partners specialise with unique skills sets in these areas will be a key focus for us in the next few years.

At Fortinet, we will be consolidating our training programmes and prerequisites, to make it simpler and more accessible for our partners.

What are your priorities for the next 12 months?

We have two priorities in the next year to support our partner network. First, we are investing in our country teams to ensure that we have local resources to deliver against our company's growth plans. Second, we are introducing solid working practices to accommodate for the new hybrid style of working from a customer and partner perspective.

Do you feel Fortinet is doing enough to cater for non-resale partners, including those that sell technology as a managed service, ISVs or agents?

Absolutely! MSSP has been at the core of our channel partner programme for many years now and it represents a large portion of our ecosystem. The programme has specific tracks and is continually evolving to accommodate the evolution of partner identity.

Is direct-channel conflict ever an issue in your partner ecosystem, and if so how do you mitigate that?

There is no conflict, Fortinet is 100 per cent channel focused. Our priority is to enable our partners to help them grow their business.

Name one trait you prize highly in partners, and one you deplore?

Integrity is one of the key traits I look for in finding the right partner. We are equally committed to being transparent in our ways of working with our partners.

As we work with our partners to navigate through an increasingly uncertain world, there are plenty of opportunities to look further afield. Many vendors and partners fall short by focusing on short-term thinking. This is limiting their business growth. We work differently at Fortinet - we work in collaboration with our partners to plan ahead, to ensure their organisations and their customers are protected today and in the future.

How do you feel Fortinet's margin proposition stacks up against your peers?

We continually run checks with our core partners to ensure that we represent margins and services opportunities in step with the market. As validated by the industry analysts, Fortinet continues to deliver high performance platform-based security solutions at the best price per megabyte.

If you could wave a magic wand and change one aspect of your channel performance or strategy overnight, what would it be?

I'd like to see more diversity in the industry. Not only in people's experience and background, but also in the applicant's interest and skills set to apply for roles that increasingly span across more than one specialism.

[My spirit animal is] an octopus - it's different to everything else on the planet. I have a lot of respect for that!

What's the most challenging aspect of being a channel leader?

My key focus is to expand our team with new talent and diversity. Inject new energy, drive and passion to win. And of course, to help our partners and their customers take greater control against cyber threats.

Tell us something about yourself most people won't know.

Tough question, I'm quite open and honest about things. I guess most people wouldn't know that I have never been to Nando's.

What is your spirit animal?

Octopus - it's different to everything else on the planet. I have a lot of respect for that!

What would be your walk-on song, and why?

One Vison by Queen. I recently saw them play at the O2 with Adam Lambert, the song reminds me that in this industry leadership is all about meeting the common goals of our team, our partners and our customers.

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