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You probably wouldn’t buy a car without taking it for a test drive, and MSPs shouldn’t purchase cybersecurity tools without a solid test run, either.

Enter a major perk in any managed service provider (MSP)’s toolbox: the NFR (not-for-resale) license. An NFR license enables an MSP to test a product internally for free.  

But not all NFRs are created equal. It’s important to know the best NFR licenses that vendors offer — licenses that are actually free and provide you with a true product experience for your research process. 

Keep in mind, a partnership is a two-way street. Vendors provide NFRs to help you sell their solutions. If you determine you can’t or won’t be selling a solution after your NFR experience, be a good partner by informing the vendor, providing feedback as to why, and relinquishing your licenses.

Benefits of an NFR License 

A vendor that offers an NFR license is a positive sign for MSPs. Here are some of the benefits: 

Why Eat Your Own Dog Food When You Can Drink Your Own Champagne? With an NFR license, you can intimately get to know a tool and determine if it truly lives up to its hype. When you know a product is the real deal, you’ll feel much better about selling it to your customers. Using an NFR prevents you from leaning on customers as guinea pigs, and enables you to familiarize yourself with the product, which will in turn boost your confidence when selling, onboarding, discussing and managing the product with customers.    

Operational Efficiency. Vendors who work with MSPs know that operational efficiency drives gross profit. As an MSP, you’ve probably had the unfortunate experience of needing to rip and replace a product that you weren’t able to properly vet, which is a major setback and a waste of time and money. 

MSP-Friendly. NFR licenses are partner-specific — so at a bare minimum, a vendor that offers an NFR license probably knows what an MSP is, has an established partner program, and is tapped into the community. Plus, a vendor offering NFR licensing understands that the goal is to show the value of a product, rather than trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. 

How To Take Full Advantage of an NFR

To take full advantage of an NFR, it’s important to treat it like a real product deployment. That way, you can feel completely confident communicating any quirks to your techs and customers. 

  • Integrate. Integrate the product with your existing apps and services to familiarize yourself with the process. 
  • Use support. Read documentation; call the support team to familiarize yourself with the customer service team. Use both normal support channels as well as MSP-specific customer support, if the vendor offers it. 
  • Train your techs. Encourage techs to play around with the tool and get familiar with it, too. 
  • Leverage your channel managers. Even if there isn’t a stated NFR program, ask your channel support team. They’re there to enable your success. The worst that can happen is that they say no.

Top NFR Licenses for Cybersecurity

The best NFR licenses are full-featured products that give you the same experience you can expect for your clients. Make sure to read the agreements to understand what limitations might be in place, such as:

  • Making partners pay money before providing NFR licensing
  • Short-term expiration dates – at that point its a free trial
  • Use only for lab or demo environments
  • Fewer licenses allowed than required for testing

Here’s a list of the best, free NFR licenses from cybersecurity vendors:

1. Duo Security

Duo Security, a multi factor authentication and SSO provider, has offered NFR licenses to MSPs since 2017. The Duo Security MSP program includes 50 internal licenses of any edition of Duo, with no expiration date.

Duo is a mature product offering that is well known for its ease of use. MSPs will enjoy an extensive documentation library with easy-to-follow instructions on a variety of technical processes. Other benefits include:

  • Pay-as-you-go pricing 
  • Single multi-tenant management console 
  • No minimums or commitments

2. Sophos 

Sophos XG Firewall LogoSophos offers a variety of cybersecurity products, including endpoint protection, firewalls, and extended detection and response (XDR). Most — but not all — products are covered under the NFR licenses. Some higher-end hardware appliances and products within larger suites are not available as an NFR, according to Sophos. Benefits include:

  • Single management console 
  • Integrations with key RMM and PSA vendors 
  • Flexible pricing

3. Cisco Umbrella

Cisco Umbrella (formerly OpenDNS) is a product that combines multiple technologies, including firewall, DNS-layer security, and cloud access security broker (CASB). Umbrella has a longstanding history in the MSP space, and is the first product included in Cisco’s Secure MSP program, which enables MSPs to purchase products directly from Cisco and deploy to their customers. Other benefits include: 

  • Single management console
  • Pay-as-you-go pricing 
  • 24/7 support

4. Phin Security

Phin Security is a security awareness and phishing simulation platform. Founded in 2019, Phin Security is a startup solely focused on MSPs. Their MSP Advisory Council helps them stay attuned to the unique needs of the channel market. Other benefits include: 

  • Free NFR to get started
  • Loginless learning management system

5. Blumira

Blumira is a cloud-based security information and event management (SIEM) that can satisfy cyber insurance requirements, as well as compliance log monitoring and retention requirements. Blumira combines SIEM with SOAR capabilities and is designed for IT teams to easily use without cybersecurity expertise. Our platform analyzes data from your customers’ full tech stack and delivers guided playbooks with every meaningful finding, enabling IT teams to resolve issues faster without experiencing alert fatigue. Other benefits include: 

  • Access to our Top Paid Edition
  • Unlimited log ingestion with 24/7 SecOps support.
  • View your data to build and schedule reports
  • MSP Portal to self-provision accounts
  • Multi-tenancy support
  • Affordable per-user pricing 
  • No security expertise required

Blumira’s NFR is completely free to get started; sign up in a matter of seconds to get full access to the product. 

Learn more about Blumira’s MSP program>

Free Bonus!

MSPs can use their MSP Portal to add their clients into Blumira’s Free Edition for M365. This secures your clients M365 environment for free and helps you sell them on the value of a paid edition!

Learn More About NFRs

Watch our on-demand webinar with Jeremy Young, Director of Partner Strategy, and Chris Furner, Senior Sales Engineer, to learn more about the NFR licenses mentioned here, and to hear more about Blumira’s MSP program. 

Are we missing NFRs from your favorite vendors? Drop us a line in the comments below, and we’ll add it to the list.

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