Symantec Software as a Service: Friend or Foe?
It happens every time a software company pushes into managed services. The media immediately begins to speculate: Will the managed service empower VARs or compete with them? In the case of Symantec’s new managed services platform, VARs are participating in the development and roll-out process. So far, so good, The VAR Guy hears.
After months of speculation by The VAR Guy, Symantec officially unveiled its Symantec Protection Network today. The platform, the company says, is designed to deliver easy-to-use security and availability offerings to small and midsize businesses. Ah, but there’s the twist: Initially, the system offers online backup–a clear differentiator between Symantec’s product portfolio and those of its rivals (McAfee, Trend Micro, etc.).
Think of the Symantec Protection Network as an online store where VARs and their customers will be able to choose from a variety of managed services. First up is the Online Backup Service, which is undergoing beta testing now and scheduled for general availability later this year. The system will include use-based pricing, setup and configuration tools.
During a recent phone chat with The VAR Guy, Symantec aggressively promoted its commitment to VARs. Naturally, the company anticipated some media members and some partners to express concern about channel conflict. Symantec is working overtime to meet those concerns head-on, and is encouraging VARs to resell the service.
Symantec will also blur the lines between managed services and traditional server software. Consider, for instance, the long-term implications for Backup Exec. Short term, the storage software will continue to protect on-site data. Longer term, however, the software will work with the managed service, pushing older information off-site to a secure server managed by Symantec.
Naturally, Symantec isn’t the only managed storage service making noise these days. EVault, acquired recently by Seagate, is pushing hard into the channel. And smaller companies like eFolder are seeking VARs to resell and re-brand storage services as their own.