AVG Reveals New IT Management Solutions At Cloud Summit

AVG Technologies previewed for hundreds of partners attending its first-ever Cloud Summit two new products emblematic of the company's transformation from offering end-point security software to cloud-centric remote security and management solutions.

Most of the buzz at this week's conference in Phoenix surrounded a new Secure Sign-on portal that will enable MSPs to implement multifactor authentication to control access to AVG's security, mobile device and mobile application management solutions, as well as more than 2,500 popular cloud-based applications.

CloudCare SSO, the IDentity-as-a-Service (ID-a-a-S) offering that directly accesses Active Directory is technology enabled by a partnership with Centrify, a Visionary ID-a-a-S vendor on Gartner's Magic Quadrant.

[Related: CEO Kovacs Recasts AVG As Cloud Player]

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"We need to make identity management much simpler," AVG CEO Gary Kovacs told partners in his keynote on Tuesday.

David Haadsma, AVG's vice president of product management, said it was important to create for MSPs and their customers a secure container for all their apps, even those from AVG's competitors.

"We're not going to stop that; we want it to happen," Haadsma told partners.

AVG's first partner summit was also the occasion for unveiling a beefed-up version of Managed Workplace, the company's flagship remote management solution spawned from the acquisition of Level Platforms last year.

Managed Workplace 9.0 significantly upgrades the platform's functionality to tightly integrate and streamline services managed through the console, according to Kovacs.

"We've updated Managed Workplace to enable you to be much more efficient and save money," Kovacs said.

The new reporting and alerting, patch management and automation capabilities are "beyond anything we had," Kovacs said.

The new release, which becomes generally available by the end of November, greatly increases automation in setting up and managing devices. It adds enhanced reporting and alerting capabilities to make it easier for MSPs to respond quickly to issues before they get worse, and makes the patch management process more efficient by effectively scheduling available updates, reducing windows of vulnerability.

Increased automation will make MSPs' jobs easier, allowing them to do more with less and be more profitable, according to Haadsma.

"That's what you guys asked for. Your No. 1 request," Haadsma told partners.

NEXT: What MSPs Wanted

Jordon Sargisson, operations manager at Hurricane Computer Solutions, an MSP based in Calgary, Alberta, echoed that sentiment. The new automation capabilities in the 9.0 release will make it much easier to set up new devices for customers, he told CRN.

"Everyone's excited about AVG Managed Workplace and its automation. It's something that should save us a lot of time," Sargisson said.

Michael Courtney, vice president of Job Cost Inc., an AVG partner in Naperville, Ill., said his company has been impressed with every previous Managed Workplace release, "then AVG comes out with 9.0 and blows us away again."

The latest version will allow his technicians to be more efficient and cost-effective when servicing clients, Courtney told CRN, adding that his staff can't wait to start using the Secure Sign-on portal as well.

"We've been waiting for a company to come up with a truly seamless way to have a secure single-source login to give us the ability to service and deploy apps to all of our clients in one portal. AVG is giving us that ability now with SSO. It’s truly going to revolutionize and optimize the way that we service our customers, which will drive service offerings and revenue further than we've ever imagined before," Courtney told CRN.

AVG execs also announced some other product upgrades.

Kovacs earned applause when he told MSPs that CloudCare, AVG's remote security platform, is finally moving from a Flash-based front end to a full-HTML front end.

All the new offerings are part of AVG's efforts to rethink "how we bring all of this into the cloud and manage that transformation back to help you support and manage your customers," the CEO said.

AVG is currently beta-testing CloudCare 3.3, which also adds remote-control improvements, centralized master controls and a new user interface. The product will be available to partners for free on a not-for-resale basis in December, then fully rolled out sometime in the first fiscal quarter of next year, according to Haadsma.

While AVG is building out its own data centers to support the new cloud services, it's also hosting some accounts, most of them international, with Amazon Web Services "to cut down on latency and provide better services" to ensure "fast, stable, reliable, high-uptime cloud-based services," said Mike Foreman, general manager for SMB.

Foreman also told partners that AVG will make changes to its billing system, and is currently selecting a best-of-breed SaaS billing product. He said he wants it to be easier for solution providers to reconcile their bills with customer usage.

The AVG execs told CRN that putting together all the systems, from the sign-on portal to mobile device management to remote security management, is AVG's vision for offering one unified system to manage data, devices and people.