Network Associates Raises McAfee Shield

New distributor pacts push antivirus service

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Network Associates' deal with Tech Data to sell its McAfee managed antivirus service is the latest in a series of distributor partnerships the vendor has struck to broaden McAfee's market reach.

Network Associates announced last month that Tech Data would offer the Web-based service to its network of solution provider customers. Earlier this year, the vendor also announced similar partnerships with Ingram Micro and Merisel.

"It's a solid strategy of expanding Network Associates' ability to put this great managed-service product into the hands of as many end users as possible," said Mike Menegay, vice president of channels at Network Associates, based here. "And the best resource for that is through the reseller channel."

The distributor partnerships are working as Network Associates had hoped, Menegay said.

"More resellers are reselling the service," he said. "More of the resellers' end users are understanding what managed services mean. Our strategy of working with distribution was to allow all our resellers to work with their preferred distributors and, under normal credit facilities and financial relationships, offer [the service to all end users."

Tamra Muir, vice president of software product marketing at Tech Data, said about 25 of the distributor's solution providers have expressed interest in the McAfee managed service, for which she declined to give pricing.

Tech Data will offer the antivirus service to solution providers. Earlier this year, the vendor inked deals with Ingram Micro and Merisel.

The partnership with Network Associates, which expands the virtual software offerings of Tech Data's Software Licensing Specialized Business Unit, allows the distributor "to offer a different way to deliver security," Muir said. "This helps address some of the complexity of installing and managing antivirus [protection," she said, adding, "There's nothing hotter than security."

Ingram Micro, which began offering the McAfee service in March, is pleased with the response it has gotten from solution providers, said Andy Magsarili, director of vendor management for software at Ingram Micro.

"The resellers are seeing the benefits [of the service and are able to convey that to their customers," he said.

Ingram Micro declined to say how many of its solution providers are selling the McAfee service, but Magsarili said demand is growing. "It's ramping well," he said.

Compeware Technology Associates, a Dallas-based solution provider, offers customers the service through both Ingram Micro and Merisel, said CEO Charles Carlson.

"The managed service piece of the McAfee software has been really beneficial to us," he said. "It allows us to offer our clients [something that maximizes utilization of their IT personnel, and in some cases may allow them to reduce their internal IT costs by reducing head count. It allows them to focus their IT personnel on things other than antivirus [matters."

Providing the McAfee service through distributors has also allowed Compeware to offer customers additional benefits such as better pricing and enhanced service levels, Carlson said.

"Our distribution partners have focused on making sure the service runs well," he said.

Ingram Micro hopes to soon expand its managed security offerings with 24x7 firewall and intrusion-detection products, according to a spokeswoman.

Tech Data also is talking with other security services vendors, Muir said.

"This is a whole new world, and we'll have to see how it pans out," she said.

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