Sale of Avast Managed Workplace sharpens vendor's security focus

Following Barracuda Networks' purchase of Avast Managed Workplace, an RMM-free Avast plans to build out its SMB security portfolio; other news from the week.

Cybersecurity vendor Avast said a bolstered security portfolio is in the works following the divestment of its RMM software to Barracuda Networks.

Barracuda, a security, networking and storage vendor, revealed it would acquire Avast's remote management and monitoring tool, Avast Managed Workplace, late last week. Additionally, Barracuda signed a master reseller agreement with Avast, allowing Barracuda to offer Avast Business CloudCare, Management Console and Antivirus products.

With the acquisition of Avast Managed Workplace, Barracuda joins the ranks of vendors such as Datto, ConnectWise and Kaseya offering software suites for managed services providers (MSPs). Meanwhile, for Avast, the sale opens an opportunity for the vendor to align more tightly with its core business focus: cybersecurity for SMBs.

"At the end of the day, apart from us creating this partnership to expand the reach of our endpoint security to a large base of MSPs ... [the Barracuda deal] also gives us the ability to focus on security. ... Managed Workplace was important for us, but it wasn't part of our core," said Kevin Chapman, senior vice president and general manager of the SMB division at Avast, in an interview.

The Avast Managed Workplace divestment "allows us to put more investment on security and providing strong protection capabilities for our partners" and SMB customers, he said.

Avast views SMB security as a gap in the market, Chapman noted.

"SMBs are not adequately protecting themselves," he said. "We know SMBs want one place to go, but they need a ... layered security solution, and they want it economically available."

He added that SMBs also want cybersecurity protection that is easy to manage.

Partners can expect news about the Avast security portfolio in the next several months, Chapman said. While he couldn't provide details on the upcoming announcements, he said "this is us looking to expand our portfolio to provide that layered security solution, and we are very excited about bringing that to the marketplace very soon."

Dell EMC revises global partner program

Dell EMC partners can expect a sleeker, more user-friendly partner program in the year ahead.

In an online broadcast this week, Dell EMC unveiled the latest version of its global partner program. The program, which will largely remain aligned to 2018's strategies, introduced several updates to make it easier to engage the vendor.

"We are committed to providing more self-service and automation as we drive process improvements," said Joyce Mullen, president of global channel, OEM and IoT solutions at Dell EMC, during the partner broadcast.

Notable Dell EMC Partner Program 2019 updates included the following:

Training and competencies. The Dell EMC Partner Program's three tiers -- Gold, Platinum and Titanium -- are based on attaining specific training, total revenue and service revenue requirements. In terms of training, partners must earn one competency to achieve Gold status, two for Platinum and three for Titanium.

Dell EMC will now count partners' service delivery competencies toward training requirements, said Darren Sullivan, senior vice president of global partner strategy and business operation at Dell EMC.

Additionally, Dell EMC is looking to move more authorized partners into the partner program's entry-level Gold tier. To join the Gold tier, partners now need only one pair of sales and systems engineers to complete training, Sullivan said.

"We hope this change allows more partners to achieve Gold status and financial benefits," he noted in the broadcast.

Sullivan said Dell EMC's training program will introduce new competencies throughout 2019, beginning with a Data Analytics Solutions Competency.

Revenue requirements. Dell EMC eased the program's revenue requirements to a single revenue path. This means partners no longer need to sell multiple lines of business to meet the tiers' requirements, according to Sullivan.

"Partners are overwhelmingly taking advantage of selling across our full portfolio, reaping significant financial benefits as a result. Reducing to a single path makes it simpler to navigate ... to tier attainment," he said.

In 2019, Dell EMC will continue to offer tier credit multipliers on certain product sales, according to Sullivan.

"Storage and data protection revenue will count three times toward tier credit, and hyper-converged infrastructure revenue will count 1.5 times," he said.

Rebates and incentives. Dell EMC's rebate structure from last year will remain intact, with few changes. The incentives, which include base, growth, services and new business rebates, will now be tracked and credited to partners automatically. Dell EMC will continue to offer its Midrange Tech Refresh and Competitive Swap rebates for storage technology in 2019, Sullivan said.

Dell EMC partners can also expect a simplified process for claiming and receiving market development funds, said Cheryl Cook, senior vice president of global partner market at Dell EMC.

Deal protection. As part of a push to reduce channel conflict, Mullen said Dell EMC has invested in educating its internal sales team on engaging with partners. The company plans to launch an "official badging program that rewards team members who pass courses on rules of engagement, leveraging the channel for success and channel market programs," she said. "Rules-of-engagement violations are significantly down year on year, in large part, because" of Dell EMC's efforts.

Siemplify launches channel program

Siemplify, a security orchestration, automation and response (SOAR) vendor based in New York, has unveiled a worldwide channel program for security-oriented value-added resellers, large account resellers and systems integrators.

Bradd Barmettler, global head of channel at Siemplify, said the company is looking to recruit strategic partners that offer security information and event management (SIEM), or other security products, into a security operations center (SOC). Siemplify targets enterprises and managed security services providers (MSSPs) as end customers.

SOAR offerings work in conjunction with SIEM, automating the research that SOC analysts would typically have to do on their own as they work through lists of SIEM-generated alerts. Security experts believe SOAR tools can help streamline and improve a security team's everyday processes.

Siemplify said its channel program, dubbed Partner First, includes a more cost-effective pricing model and guaranteed margins "even in nonstandard pricing engagements." An upcoming partner portal will let channel companies access deal registration, sales and technical enablement, lead sharing and document access.

Siemplify works with 15 partners. Barmettler said the company has created a list of 26 partners it seeks to recruit and aims to sign up at least 18 of those by the end of 2019. The company may also sign up 10 to 15 additional partners on a more opportunistic basis.

Barmettler said the goal is to recruit "strategic partners" with which the company can build profitable relationships over the course of multiple deals. "The idea is, we don't want to have a partner ... on every corner doing one deal," he said.

While the company recruits VARs, large account resellers, integrators and consultants, MSSPs could also play a channel role. MSSPs are typically Siemplify customers, purchasing the SOAR software to use on its customers' behalf.

MSSPs, however, may also resell Siemplify's products in certain circumstances, Barmettler noted. For example, an enterprise customer may want to own the SOAR software, but outsource the management to a third party. In that case, an MSSP could resell Siemplify's product and then manage it for the customer.

Siemplify's Partner First program follows the launch of the company's Nucleus Channel Partner Program, which debuted in 2016.

Other news

  • D&H Distributing has appointed Jason Bystrak as vice president of the company's cloud business unit. Bystrak was most recently vice president of worldwide channels and distribution at Axcient and, prior to that, was global executive director for technology partner enablement at Ingram Micro Cloud.
  • LogicMonitor, a performance monitoring platform vendor, kicked off a partner program for MSPs, resellers, systems integrators and technology integrators. The program, called the LogicMonitor Partner Network, offers sales and marketing collaboration, training and certification programs, dedicated partner managers and deal registration, among other features.
  • Dimension Data, a managed service provider and integrator, has begun implementing technology from Sparkcentral, which offers a customer service offering based on the WhatsApp messaging service. That move follows an agreement between the two companies covering the EMEA region. Dimension Data said it is currently the only technology integrator distributing Sparkcentral's software in EMEA.
  • Accenture this month will open an Applied Intelligence Studio for Mining in Johannesburg, the largest city in South Africa. The studio aims to help mining companies use AI and data science to solve analytical problems. The South African mining industry encompasses coal, diamonds, gold, platinum, titanium and other minerals.
  • Backup vendor Veeam Software revamped its North American ProPartner program. Enhancements include a new partner training platform, additional marketing resources, and growth rebates for partners in the program's Gold and Platinum tiers.
  • Netsurion, a managed network connectivity and security provider, launched a network management and security orchestration offering for businesses with multiple locations. BranchSDO targets enterprises in the retail, restaurant and hospitality industries, Netsurion noted.
  • Distributor Telecom Brokerage Inc. added and NexVortex to its portfolio.'s offerings include cloud-based monitoring and management, while NexVortix provides Session Initiation Protocol products.
  • Symmetry, a managed services and hosting provider, joined the AWS Solution Provider Program.

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