CA Prepares Total Protection For SMBs

By this summer, CA plans to have a complete new set of integrated IT management, security and storage products for SMBs, as well as a midmarket channel program that champions quality control through governed access to the new products, CRN has learned.

Aimed at resellers catering to the midmarket, CA's Total Protection Suites will be a new group of product SKUs that deliver "the sophistication of high-end products with a simple front end," said Jim Geronaitis, vice president of BrightStor product marketing at CA.

Integration of the new product SKUs should be completed within the next three months, Geronaitis told CRN.

"It comes down to the direction CA sees in the market: integrating system management, backups and security. We're seeing it in SMBs and in the enterprise," Geronaitis said. "Customers also need ease of acquisition, especially for SMBs."

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Making sure the Total Protection Suites deliver on their promise to provide top-notch functionality through an SMB-friendly interface is essentially what Islandia, N.Y.-based CA's new SMB channel program is all about, said an East Coast CA partner tapped to beta test the new products. The partner, who requested anonymity, said the Total Protection Suites will be "very attractive" to SMB customers but likely not available to all of CA's midtier resellers.

CA's SMB program will have rules that extend from the vendor's recently launched Enterprise Solution Provider (ESP) program, which defines CA's reseller channel according to VAR expertise, and ensures the proper delivery of service and support by restricting the availability of its enterprise and commercial products along the same criteria, the CA partner said.

"It's all about quality assurance. [CA] wants to make sure there is technical support behind these bundles," the partner said. "If the volume products don't work, there is no upsell."

To this end, CA will partner with ISVs and solution providers to deliver services around the vendor's ArcServe, antivirus, antispyware and desktop migration software, Geronaitis said.

CA declined to provide the details of how Total Protection Suites will move through two-tier distributors or which distributors would have access to the new SKUs. But like CA's ESP program, throttling back the availability of products through certain distributors will be key to maintaining quality and resale margin, the source said.

Beyond margin, the pricing of the Total Protection Suites will be important, as customers may expect to see significant discounting for integrated product suites vs. the cost of purchasing the same tools separately, said Norman Hirsch, president and CEO of NH&A, a CA partner in New York.