To modify an old saying, If you sell a man a fish you will earn revenue for a day. If you do his fishing for him, you’ll earn revenue for a lifetime! That statement sums up a sentiment more and

September 7, 2012

3 Min Read
Security VAR or Security MSP? Why Not Be Both?

By Symantec Guest Blog


To modify an old saying, If you sell a man a fish you will earn revenue for a day. If you do his fishing for him, you’ll earn revenue for a lifetime! That statement sums up a sentiment more and more VARs are feeling today: Providing managed services for their customers can be more valuable than offering single purchases of various solutions. So which model is right for you? It’s simple — with the right partners, you can transform your business and reach success as both a security VAR and an MSP.

Many VARs are content with their current business model. They have a line of solutions they provide, with periodic updates to product lines and occasional new product introductions. And that model has worked, so they haven’t seen much of a need to change things. But VARs shouldn’t expect this model to work forever.

Today, there are new, better ways for VARs to serve their existing customers and new customers. For example, in addition to the initial sales model, there are always opportunities for project-oriented service providers to expand on the capabilities built into solutions. Managing the software after the sale is a business opportunity with high potential. And more businesses these days are looking for expert help with their deployments. Eventually, partners can develop their own custom outsourced IT services, which provide even higher profits, but it’s easy to get started selling and managing off-the-shelf SaaS. And you can begin down the path of custom solutions for your customers where it’s YOUR capabilities that differentiate the solutions with your customers.

Last year, Symantec made a strategic MSP announcement, dedicated to giving our partners the opportunity to expand their portfolios toward the MSP business model and likewise to expand their profitability. As a supplement to that strategy announcement, Symantec recently introduced the Partner Management Console.  This unique tool enables our partners to utilize a single console to monitor and manage their Symantec Backup and Symantec Endpoint and is complementary to the existing Symantec remote monitoring and management (RMM) integration strategy. It facilitates immediate trials for new customers, simplifies customer setup and provisioning, and includes tools to provide status and security reports for the customers while reducing the management costs for partners. Symantec also introduced the enhanced subscription-based licensing program, ExSP, which makes it easier to purchase Symantec solutions via a subscription-based model, thus reducing the licensing fees as the partner’s business volume increases.

It may seem like an uphill climb to transform your business model from a VAR to an MSP, but it doesn’t have to be an impossible challenge. While it will take time to transition and increase your visibility in the market, there are simple steps you can take to get the ball rolling. You can begin by examining your current solutions and offering basic ongoing maintenance to your customers, gradually expanding to other services and solutions as you become more comfortable. A slow but steady progression will prove to be the most successful approach.

Remember, your customers already trust you and look to you as an expert in providing the solutions that they need. In many cases it will be more cost-effective for them to trust you to maintain their IT environment. As you progress toward becoming a managed services provider, you can leverage this built in trust and your expertise to expand your business while simultaneously helping your customers grow theirs.


John Eldh is VP of channel sales for the Americas at Symantec. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of The VAR Guy’s annual sponsorship program. Read all of Symantec’s guest blogs here.

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