Why Critical Start Became a CPSP with Palo Alto Networks

May 18, 2018
3 minutes

A Certified Professional Services Partner (CPSP) is an elite status achieved by Palo Alto Networks services partners who have proven their ability to deliver quality services to our customers by leveraging our best practice deployment methodologies. Chris Yates is a Senior Security Architect working for Critical Start in Oklahoma City, Okla. Critical Start is one of our partners who have achieved CPSP status. This is Chris’s story.

My career, until a couple of years ago, centered around the corporate environment. I had only one client: my employer, and I had a very limited perspective on how technology partners, resellers, and services delivery organizations worked. I did, however, have expectations on how I thought they should work based on my experience from the other side of the table. Over the years, I had developed a very jaded view of organizations claiming to be Value Added Resellers (VAR). I understood how certain manufacturers chose to sell their products through partners, and that some of those partners provided services around those manufacturers’ technology; but I was often disappointed in those services, preferring to utilize internal resources – and my own research and learning – to accomplish my objectives. What value were these resellers adding, exactly?

Now I work on the other side of the business, at a cybersecurity consulting firm that performs product fulfillment as well as services. I also understand better many of the challenges organizations like mine face in providing quality services as well as selling products. There are partner relationships to maintain, sales goals to attain, services certifications to obtain and maintain, and the list goes on.

As I started to build and formalize a network and cloud security services delivery practice, I found that Palo Alto Networks had something called their Certified Professional Services Partner (CPSP) Program. I inquired with my leadership and was given the go-ahead to pursue the program.

I must say that the journey has been quite fruitful. Our practice, and my team members, have benefitted greatly from the Customer Simulation Lab training, where we get trained in the same tools, techniques, and practices that internal Palo Alto Networks Professional Services engineers receive.

As we’ve developed our portfolio of network security services, I’ve relied heavily on the engagement with Palo Alto Networks channel management to ensure that the services we develop align with what customers need. I’ve received open access to much of the existing services documentation from Palo Alto Networks, including statement of work (SOW) templates, service delivery methodology documentation, phased migration process documentation, etc.

This elevated level of support from Palo Alto Networks came as a part of our participation in the CPSP program.

In summary, it’s really a win-win-win for Palo Alto Networks, the partner, and our clients. Palo Alto Networks gets the participation of qualified, talented, and certified partner engineers and service delivery personnel, as well as their collective organizational machinery to execute service delivery. Partners get resources like training as well as engagement from Palo Alto Networks to help build and maintain skills and personnel certifications. Most importantly, clients get a quality service that can be delivered by a partner they can trust to engage with as a trusted advisor past the life of a single engagement. Customers can rest assured that not only are the partners certified and qualified but also that Palo Alto Networks is following up with post-delivery surveys and metrics to ensure that they deliver quality services.


Learn more about the CPSP program

Subscribe to the Blog!

Sign up to receive must-read articles, Playbooks of the Week, new feature announcements, and more.