Cato Scores MSP Deal with Expereo


By: R. Scott Raynovich

Cato Networks announced a partnership with Europe’s Expereo, whereby the managed service provider (MSP) will resell Cato’s secure access service edge (SASE) service across its global network of 12,000 locations in 190 countries.

The deal further cements Cato’s ongoing strategic expansion from its origins as a provider of software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) to a dealer in cloud-native SASE services. And it reflects a broader industry trend toward SASE solutions sold by service providers, as opposed to being implemented by enterprises in house, which is a tack viewed as a complex and costly project best left to outside experts.

The complex nature of SASE is reflected in Cato’s cloud-native service, which incorporates the functions of firewall-as-a-service (FWaaS), cloud access security broker (CASB), secure web gateway (SWG), and zero trust network access (ZTNA). The SASE movement means that enterprises and service providers alike are interesting in integrating these functions with network access.

Why MSPs Now?

So why is Cato partnering with Expereo now? It looks like a good way to scale, while at the same time take advantage of a SASE market that is hitting its stride.

Clearly, integrating many of the cybersecurity functions and networking together is a major challenge, hence the drive for MSPs and specialized SASE providers such as Cato to work together. Having scored an early win with its SASE service, Cato has an advantage as a pioneer in building out capabilities and infrastructure in the SD-WAN and SASE markets.

Cato sees that it can significantly extend its reach via MSP partners. Like individual enterprises, communication service providers (CSPs) and MSPs also face complex challenges implementing SASE.

Expereo is the latest in a line of MSPs that Cato has enlisted to resell its cloud-native SASE solution. Others include Horizon Telecom, another MSP located, as is Expereo, in the Netherlands; Ignition Technology, based in the U.K.; SecureCraft in Singapore and Malaysia: Datrix Ltd., based in the U.K.; KDDI worldwide; and CDW in the U.S.

To boost its partnership strategy, Cato offers its own application programming interface (API), the Cato Cloud API, unveiled in December 2020. Cato prides itself on being an easy and speedy fit with MSPs since then.

Cato’s partnership strategy has paid off not only in sales but with investors. In October 2021, Cato scored $200 million in Series F funding on a valuation of $2.5 billion. This was followed in December 2021 by an unspecified amount of investment by Swisscom Ventures.

Who Is Expereo?

Expereo is an ideal example of Cato’s MSP strategy. This company offers its own SASE and SD-WAN services, which will continue to be offered with or without Cato SASE services. Expereo also offers broadband services, international services, and edge services based on Cradlepoint. The deal with Cato is not exclusive.

Headquartered in Amsterdam, Expereo was founded in 2004. In 2014, The Carlyle Group (Nasdaq: CG) took a majority investment in the company, and in 2018, CG sold that majority stake to European private equity firm Apax Partners. In February 2021, another equity firm, Vitruvian Partners, took a majority stake in Expereo. Apax Partners remains a minority shareholder.

You can read the details on the emerging SASE ecosystem in our 2021 SASE report here. In March, Futuriom will be publishing the results of its annual SD-WAN and SASE Managed Services Survey. The results from last year can be seen here.