A Smarter Approach for Managed Security Service Providers


Security helps businesses increase their productivity by safely enabling applications, cloud services, mobility and connected internet-of-things devices. However, many organizations lack the cybersecurity skills, automation and resources to keep up with today's rapidly evolving security threats. This is driving demand for managed security service providers, or MSSPs, to deliver services that help their customers minimize business risk.

This evolution of the security model represents an enormous opportunity for MSSPs, with the estimated total addressable market for managed services at more than US$15 billion in 2017 and projected to grow to $30 billion by 2021. However, capturing this market opportunity is not a simple proposition. The MSSP market is broad and varied, and security consumers are savvy and sophisticated in their requirements.


An MSSP's value is in its ability to establish itself as a trusted security adviser. MSSPs must be able to demonstrate their ability to enforce higher standards of protection and compliance than their clients could achieve in-house. As organizations expand across multiple locations and migrate to public, private and SaaS cloud environments, they rely on MSSPs to deliver seamless, scalable and automated security. With the wide range of legacy architectures and security point products on client networks, MSSPs are challenged to manually stitch together insights from many disconnected sources before they act. This results in rising operating costs and growing challenges to prevent cyberattacks from affecting customers.


Palo Alto Networks® helps MSSPs accelerate their clients' transitions to managed services. With the Palo Alto Networks Security Operating Platform, MSSPs can prevent successful cyberattacks from affecting clients' networks by simplifying and automating security operations with best-of-breed technologies deployed as a single platform. The platform provides consistency and flexibility to support all enterprise deployment scenarios, including cloud, mobile and network. The MSSP Engagement Framework delivers a portfolio of tools and resources to educate teams, simplify offerings, ease deployments and accelerate profitability in this increasingly complex market.

Partner with Palo Alto Networks

We are the global cybersecurity leader. Our mission is to protect our way of life in the digital age by preventing successful cyberattacks. We safely enable tens of thousands of organizations with our pioneering Security Operating Platform, which provides highly effective cybersecurity across clouds, networks, and mobile devices.

We serve more than 50,000 customers across a multitude of industries in more than 150 countries. Over 85 of the Fortune 100 and more than 60 percent of the Global 2000 rely on us to improve their cybersecurity posture. Gartner Research has identified us as a leader in the Enterprise Network Firewall market six consecutive times,1 and both J.D. Power and TSIA have recognized our exceptional service and support. Across the world, customers love our security and consistently award us the highest loyalty ratings and net promoter scores in the industry.

A Smarter Approach: The MSSP Engagement Framework

To help our MSSP partners deliver profitable and agile services, we have developed the MSSP Engagement Framework. This framework takes a programmatic, operational approach to MSSP enablement by mapping tools and resources to functional business operations.

Figure 1: Overview of the MSSP Engagement Framework

Built on a foundation of award-winning programs and organized into four business functions, these resources are designed to engage, enable and support MSSPs' day-to-day operations.

Smarter Programs

Palo Alto Networks realizes the heavy investment required to create new and innovative offers for your portfolio. Therefore, we have developed the NextWave Partner Program to deliver high returns on your investments and reward you for building more profitable, value-added services around our products. The program rewards and enables authorized partners who are delivering managed services by providing them with significant marketing, sales, technical and financial incentives for sourcing and driving customer opportunities. As part of our NextWave Partner Program, we have developed two programs that cater to the needs of our service provider partners:

  • Delivers greater profitability to top-tier partners who have invested in us through a managed business that takes a platform approach to security.
  • Trains partners to develop a managed business that takes a platform approach to security.
  • Protects the MSSP that uncovers end customers who require managed services to enjoy the benefits of next-generation security.
  • Offers business enhancements to MSSPs that require alternative services to support a managed services model.
  • In addition to the features and benefits of MSSP Specialization, allows partners to develop a cloud infrastructure business using a platform approach to security.
  • Offers business enhancements to CSSPs that require alternative services to support an on-demand services model.

We believe in protecting your investments without diluting our partner community. Therefore, we invite only select partners capable of, and committed to, educating their customers to join the NextWave MSSP and CSSP programs as we transform the managed security market together.

Education and Accreditation

As mentioned, an MSSP must be its clients' trusted security adviser, able to articulate, identify and enforce higher standards of protection and compliance than their clients could alone. An MSSP must understand product capabilities as well as best practices for installation, configuration and operation to deliver more complete, accurate and trouble-free deployments.

Training from a Palo Alto Networks Authorized Training Center as well as online resources, communities and blogs will help prepare your Sales and Engineering teams as they build, engage, operationalize and support their client bases. Our trusted security certifications prove your teams have the cybersecurity knowledge to articulate security value, prevent successful cyberattacks and safely enable applications.

  • The Accredited Sales Executive: Foundation on-demand learning program enables MSSP sales organizations to effectively sell the full line of Palo Alto Networks products and services.
  • The Accredited Sales Executive: Platform Associate on-demand learning program, the second level in the series, builds on the Accredited Sales Executive: Foundation program.
  • The Palo Alto Networks Accredited Systems Engineer: Foundation on-demand learning program begins the pre-sales enablement curriculum for systems engineers. In addition to learning how to explain and demonstrate the capabilities of the Security Operating Platform, attendees will learn how to handle common objections and explain the platform's superiority over other offerings. For maximum flexibility and differentiation, we offer three PSE levels: Foundation, Associate and Professional.
  • Online technical training and demos offer deep dives into our products and tips on how to map MSSP client challenges to our platform.
  • Operations training arms MSSP security operations center engineers with self-paced, online courses built to educate them on the technical features and functionality of our products, technology and security services. These trainings cover a range of topics, from installation to configuration and management.
  • The Accredited Configuration Engineer exam awards proof of the basic knowledge required to successfully configure Palo Alto Networks products and services. It also serves as a study aid to prepare individuals for Certified Network Security Engineer certification.
  • Palo Alto Networks Certified Network Security Engineer certification is a formal test, proctored by a third party. Those who pass prove they have the in-depth knowledge to design, install, configure, maintain and troubleshoot the vast majority of implementations based on the Security Operating Platform.
  • Palo Alto Networks Lightboard Series and video tutorials constitute a library of free informational videos on a range of subjects, from new product highlights to in-depth configuration of specific features.
  • Unit 42, the Palo Alto Networks threat intelligence team, shares regular research insights, including blog posts, white papers, videos and podcasts.

Smarter Engagement Models

Not all customers are alike. Different industries have varied security requirements depending on their size, infrastructure, applications, regulatory and reporting requirements, and the types of data and assets they must secure.

  • Large enterprise customers represent a high-touch, low-volume sales model and typically consume customized offerings. These customers require one-off support and are typically slow to deploy.
  • Small/Medium enterprise customers represent a higher-volume, transactional sales model and typically consume partially customized offerings or hybrid management models.
  • Customers of small/medium enterprises represent a high-volume transactional sales model and are typically open to packaged offers that provide budget-friendly security that meets their size, compliance and reporting requirements.

MSSPs must be able to design and deploy services that meet the challenges of these varying customers in a timely fashion. Although large enterprise customers will continue to require customized offerings and one-off support, MSSPs who build repeatable service offerings for larger segments of clients will achieve greater scale and profitability. Additionally, repeatable offerings will simplify the customer's buying experience, ease deployment and configuration, simplify upgrades, and maximize their lifetime value.

  • Palo Alto Networks has created a tiered set of security service options with corresponding templates and tools (see Figure 2). The three tiers offer easy-to-understand, prebuilt packages designed to fit your customers' size, budget and security requirements.

Config template




Customer security template

Protection from known threats with next-generation firewall and threat prevention

Protection from known and unknown threats with next-generation firewall and threat prevention

Protection from known and unknown threats with next-generation firewall, Threat Prevention, URL Filtering and full

WildFire support

Subscription licenses


Threat protection

Threat Prevention, URL Filtering, WildFire

CSSP alignment


Bundle 1

Bundle 2

Firewall infrastructure template

Interfaces/routing/DHCP server/NAT

Zones 2-3

Zone protection

High availability


MSSP management bootstrap template

Operations access

Logging servers and alerts

Custom reports

Configuration management


Figure 2: Tiered security services

Additionally, these offerings deliver baselines for provisioning and troubleshooting that simplify deployment and provide a repeatable security posture for the MSSP client base. These service packages contain security best practice profiles, profile groups and MSSP base policies to simplify service activation and ensure technology is correctly configured. They include:

  • Our migration tool and "configlets" ease unique customer configuration requirements, such as blacklists, whitelists, Active Directory® and log integration for User-ID™ technology (not templated).
  • Security templates, such as predefined best-practice configuration for security policies, security profiles and updates, help automate customer onboarding and accelerate service instantiation, activation operating procedures, and deployment templates, including:

Firewall infrastructure with base configuration, including interfaces, zones, routing and NAT.

MSSP management bootstrap with a comprehensive set of XML management APIs that make it quick and easy to deploy operational components, such as access, logging and configuration management.

As your customers' business needs grow, you can easily upsell incremental services without truck rolls or network disruption. This will yield significant additional revenue with only a nominal increase in cost.

Smarter Resources

Palo Alto Networks offers multiple resources to help MSSPs reach new customers, demonstrate value, provide security assessments and upsell new service offerings. These resources are designed to be used throughout the customer engagement lifecycle and include:

  • Ultimate Test Drive: Exposing Prospects to a New Way of Thinking About Security Ultimate Test Drives are free, guided, hands-on experiences designed to enhance your customers' understanding of how our products solve their problems and improve their security posture.
  • Security Lifecycle Review: Helping Your Customers Gain Visibility and Insight The SLR is generated using statistical data collected during a defined analysis period from a Palo Alto Networks next-generation firewall installed in tap mode. This report provides actionable intelligence on the applications, web traffic, content types and threats traversing the network, including recommendations on how to reduce overall risk exposure.
  • Cyber Range: Hands-On SOC Training Palo Alto Networks Cyber Range is a network exercise environment that tests your team's communications, processes and use of cutting-edge technology to combat a variety of real-world threats your customers may face.
  • Prevention Posture Assessment The PPA is a complimentary consultative assessment, in the form of a guided discussion, of your customer or prospect's prevention capabilities across all areas of architecture.
  • Best Practices Assessment The BPA is a comprehensive audit of your customer's current policy configurations against best practices, which produces a curated set of recommendations on how to improve your customer's security.

Smarter Marketing

Once a managed security service is ready for launch, it is critical to develop a successful go-to-market sales enablement strategy. A smart strategy for internal sales resources and/or external sales channels will increase the success of any service.

Palo Alto Networks offers our MSSP partners a broad range of marketing enablement support services. Once a service has been developed, Palo Alto Networks can partner with your Sales and Marketing teams to identify and deliver go-to-market strategies and initiatives that will articulate your unique value proposition and increase your odds of success. We offer a portfolio of marketing enablement support services based on the scope and size of your business:

  • Pre-built marketing assets
  • Integrated campaigns
  • Video marketing

A Framework for Success

From service creation to support, from deployment to Day 2 operations, from sales and marketing to campaigns, Palo Alto Networks offers our MSSP partners true partnership. Through the MSSP Engagement Framework, we deliver training, technology, tools and resources to help MSSPs meet their customers' challenges and accelerate time to market with agile, profitable service packages. The MSSP opportunity is huge, and Palo Alto Networks is dedicated to helping our MSSP partners take full advantage of it.

Figure 3: Detailed view of the MSSP Engagement Framework