Sometimes I just can't let go of a hunch. For a few weeks now, I've been asking MSP platform providers if they would ever open source their software. The open source approach, as you likely know, would allow customers and VARs to add incremental value to MSP software components.
Neat, but most MSP companies told me they haven't considered such a strategy. That will change next week, when Untangle launches an MSP Partner Program focused on open source network security.
Under terms of the program, MSPs will be able to offer Untangle’s network security solution to protect customer networks from spam, viruses, spyware, adware, and unwanted content (like stuff written by me, perhaps). The hardware as a service program requires no up-front payments from the MSP. Instead, managed service providers can pay a monthly fee -- similar to a lease fee -- while charging their customers a slightly higher fee to generate ongoing profit.
I don't have a feel (yet) for the quality of Untangle's products and services. But I'll be sure to do some investigating during the MSP Alliance conference in San Jose on Sept. 24 and 25.
As you may know, I'm a bit of an open source fanatic myself--blogging regularly about the topic at AllAboutUbuntu.com and TheVARguy.com. If fact, I'm hearing some rumblings that Untangle expects to leverage Ubuntu -- a fast-growing version of Linux that's particularly popular on desktops -- in the next few months.