Kaspersky Lab, the endpoint security software company, has quietly beta tested a managed services partner program with seven channel partners. Now, Kaspersky is opening up the MSP partner program to VARs and MSPs that attended this week's 2012 North American Partner Conference in the Bahamas. Here's what's next.
Instead of casting a wide net, Kaspersky Lab wants to make sure it engages the right partners on the managed services front. Chris Doggett, VP of channel sales, North America, briefed interested partners earlier today at the conference. The MSP briefings sessions were confidential but I did sit down with Doggett for breakfast to get a feel for Kaspersky's MSP strategy.
The effort allows MSPs to organize their customers into virtual groups. Here's a hypothetical example: An MSP could leverage 500 secure endpoint licenses from Kaspersky, and then deploy those licenses across 20 different customers (for an average of 25 licenses per customer). A single dashboard allows the MSP to view and manage each customer deployment accordingly.
Kaspersky bills the MSP on a monthly basis, with per-endpoint prices declining as the MSP increases volume purchases. Doggett said it basically costs MSPs nothing to get started with Kaspersky in the managed services market. Doggett did not discuss exact pricing with me but I believe he shared specifics with MSPs during briefings today.
Doggett indicated that Kaspersky's platform allows MSPs to manage smart phones, notebooks, PCs and servers -- including such operating systems as Windows, Mac and Linux. I think he also mentioned Android though I don't recall an Apple iOS mention. It's a safe bet Kaspersky will also offer extended mobile device management and systems management capabilities over time.
Reality CheckIn some ways Kaspersky is a bit late to the MSP managed security market. Trend Micro, for one, has worked closely with MSPs for at least two to three years; McAfee, now owned by Intel, gained an MSP following when the company acquired MX Logic. Symantec spent 2011 ramping up MSP engagements and related software integrations; and Sophos is gearing up for a similar run.
Senior VP Nancy Reynolds concedes that Kaspersky Lab needs to help VARs and MSPs with recurring revenue models and opportunities. “It’s about time, truly,” Reynolds said during an interview yesterday. “We’re not the first. We’re not the only. It remains to be seen about us being the best. But I think what you’ll see... we are very easy to do business with.”
Which Kaspersky partners will embrace the managed services partner program? Doggett likely gained some clues during this morning's sessions with channel partners...