Symantec Cooperates, Competes With MSP Partners

October is shaping up to be a busy month for Symantec's various online software efforts. While the company prepares to launch Symantec Protection Network (a software as a service platform for partners), Symantec is also promoting its Managed Security Services (MSS) to customers. Here's what Symantec's strategy means to managed service providers.

The Symantec Protection Network has been in beta for several months now. I expect Symantec to launch it as a production network within a few weeks -- or even a few days. That's good news for existing and potential Symantec partners. Initially, Symantec Protection Network will support storage services that partners can offer to their small and midsize customers. And within the next few months, Symantec will extend the online system to support security services.

I've spoken with a few Symantec VARs on background in recent weeks, and they sound pleased with Symantec Protection Network's design, simplicity and reliability.

For the most part, Symantec is positioning the protection network as a "software as a service" offering. A few Symantec insiders call it a managed service, but they are careful to draw a line between the Symantec Protection Network and the company's established Managed Security Services (MSS) business.

In contrast to the Symantec Protection Network (designed for small businesses and partners), Symantec is out promoting its MSS as an enterprise solution that protects customers from bots, malicious programs and other threats. MSS, it's safe to say, involves Symantec working closely (and often directly) with its largest customers.

I've pinged the company to start a deeper discussion about MSS's current focus and future direction, and we'll be sure to offer some thoughts on that topic later this month.

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