AVG Kicks Off First-Ever Cloud Summit

Amsterdam-based AVG Technologies introduces its first Cloud Summit today, a conference AVG bills as an opportunity to educate partners on its cloud-centric vision, the ways in which the company has been transforming and its strategy to support that road map going forward.

A few years back, the online security and management vendor sharply shifted its focus from endpoint antivirus products to security and device management platforms for the SMB market. It was a course that brought the company into the cloud and closer to its channel.

"This is sort of our coming-out party," David Haadsma, senior director of product management at AVG, told CRN.

[Related: AVG Steps Up Office 365 Remote Management Offerings]

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More than 200 MSPs have converged on Phoenix to hear what AVG has been doing since the course correction, and, according to AVG execs, to offer further guidance for product development and channel strategy.

Marco La Vecchia, AVG's vice president of channel sales, told CRN that since January, AVG has signed on 1,000 new MSPs as partners.

"Our value proposition is resonating very well," La Vecchia said.

The transformation under way started in 2011, when AVG conducted a number of partner and customer surveys. What it learned was that "security wasn't everything," Haadsma told CRN.

The company's channel partners were more concerned with offering their customers remote monitoring and management (RMM) and professional services automation (PSA) solutions.

AVG had just acquired BSecure, a parental control and filtering software vendor of which Haadsma was CEO. That product became the backbone of CloudCare, a cloud-based administration platform for antivirus, content filtering, online backup and email security.

Based on the information the company learned from its surveys, and from conferring with its partners, "we started looking forward to stay relevant," Haadsma said.

That led to the acquisition of Level Platforms, and, ultimately, the release of Managed Workplace, the company's remote management platform.

This week's summit is not only a chance to update partners on where those platforms are headed, but also "to tell partners that AVG listened to them, and it understands the needs of the channel," Haadsma told CRN.

At Cloud Summit, AVG will preview for its channel partners two major additions to its flagship products: the Managed Workplace 9.0 release that introduces greater automation, reporting and alerting, and a new IDentity-as-a-Service (ID-a-a-S) component for CloudCare.

The ID-a-a-S offering introduces AVG's first Secure Sign-on gateway -- a product born from a partnership with Centrify, a developer of unified identity management solutions. Secure Sign-on involves multifactor authentication, mobile device management and mobile application management all through Active Directory.

Joanna Brace, vice president of product marketing, told CRN that the new products are part of AVG's efforts "to build services in the cloud and mobile to give the channel the tools they need."

"We've made that investment, and we're upping the ante on that," Brace told CRN.

AVG CEO Gary Kovacs will deliver a keynote this morning.