Maybe it’s the heat of summer, but the last month or so has seen a frenzy of activity by major security players looking to court managed service providers.
Sure, security has long been a fundamental underpinning of what most MSPs deliver to their customers every day, but July saw a rapid ramp-up of activity among security leaders looking to secure their position and favour with managed service providers.
First out of the chutes in July was Trend Micro, which announced preliminary details of a new MSP program that will debut later this year. Trend has had “loose” MSP program for a number of years, with different flavours around the world and very little consistency. But, a survey of its partners in U.S. and Japan showed that a whopping 85 per cent of its partners are starting, or have moved towards managed services, it decided it was time for a worldwide framework.
And the same survey showed that there was opportunity for the vendor to help – Trend Micro said that same group of partners are struggling with profitability, but the most successful partners in the transition are the ones who’ve gone “full MSP” or as close to is as possible.
To support those partners, the company has introduced a new self-serve license management platform, accessible through its distribution partners in the U.S. and Canada, with broader availability in the near future. And by October, Trend has said it will roll out a full MSP partner program, one that will focus on its cloud and virtualization security offerings.
It’s been a turbulent month for Symantec, with former CEO Enrique Salem being oustered in favour of chairman of the board Steve Bennett amidst the feeling that the security giant is falling behind in the cloud evolution. But the company still found time to introduce a key tweak to its strategy for working with managed service providers, introducing the Symantec Partner Management Console, its own tool for providing multi-tenant management of its cloud-based tools, including Symantec Endpoint Protection.cloud and Symantec Backup Exec.cloud. Translation: Although the company’s cloud strategy has been criticized as falling behind the time (leading to Salem’s departure), Symantec is taking clear steps to get it together when it comes to moving its MSP partners to the cloud.
Need more proof? Symantec also made the aforementioned two “.cloud” offerings to its ExSP licensing program – Symantec’s version of the “pay-as-you-go” monthly subscription plan for service provider partners – a key element to making the products more attractive to MSPs for whom monthly recurring revenues are the lifeblood.
And lest MSPs be concerned that the strategy would emphasize Syamtnec’s cloud-based management console over the management tools many MSPs already know and (hopefully) love, the company also plans to make nice with third-party monitoring and management consoles, introducing Kaseya, Level Platforms and LabTech.
Meanwhile, McAfee finds itself in much the same position as Trend Micro – it has long embraced MSPs, but has done so in limited and “one-off” kinds of ways. And like Trend Micro, it’s responding by taking the best of what it’s doing in various geographies around the world and combining them into a cohesive worldwide MSP program.
In the early days, McAfee is focused on recruitment – it currently has “a dozen or so” partners in full MSP mode, simply because its previous approach of having separate contracts with each did not scale beyond that small number of partners. But in designing a worldwide MSP program and opening it up to the company’s distribution partners, the company clearly has its eye on a much larger number of partners. And like Trend, much of that growth will likely come from partners who are already into their own managed services journey. In fact, the company said it designed its MSP program to have a bit of something for everyone – from full-on MSPs, to hybrid solution providers, through to more traditional VARs who are still trying to figure out their own managed services transitions.
McAfee’s MSP partner program is focused around two of the company’s own consoles – its flagship ePolicy Orchestrator and its SaaS Management Console, although the company said it has made support for third-party RMM tools a priority due to partner demand.
With that flurry of activity complete, it’s safe to say that all of the major security players have (granted, evolving) managed services plans in place. They clearly see a growing opportunity in working with and through you.
Are you seeing increased opportunity for security sales to your managed customers? What makes a good security partner program for you, and who’s your go-to vendor when it comes to security? We’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject in the comments below.