Malwarebytes Inks Distribution Deal With Tech Data, Readies Partner Program

Antimalware vendor Malwarebytes has signed a distribution deal with Tech Data in a move executives say lays the foundation for a formalized partner program that will be rolled out later this year.

Through the partnership, expected to be formally announced Thursday, Tech Data will help Malwarebytes drive partner recruitment and brand awareness, the security firm said. The security software can be bundled with other security offerings and should appeal to managed service providers looking to provide another layer of protection at the endpoint behind standard antivirus.

Founded in 2008, Malwarebytes has been mainly a consumer tool. The firm unveiled a small business and enterprise edition of its software in 2012. With the software, MSPs can deploy agents to remote clients to detect rogue antivirus, other malware and unwanted software, such as browser toolbars. The agents are configurable and can be customized to the client's requirements.

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Malwarebytes mainly has reseller relationships with partners, but a program is in development to broadly distribute the software to managed service providers and consultants, said Dave Allison, senior director of channel sales at Malwarebytes. Allison formerly served as director of channel sales at Adobe Systems, and before that he worked in senior channel roles at Symantec and Kaspersky Lab. He started at Malwarebytes in July with the goal of building out a formal partner program. The Malwarebytes software isn't a replacement of antivirus but should be viewed as an additional layer of protection, Allison said.

"Our challenge is that we're in a broad category; it's very crowded and [there are] lots of solutions out there at the endpoint," Allison said. "We are that second line of defense for the customer, and we have seen tremendous growth and opportunity with that."

The crowded space includes a variety of antivirus vendors that have similar capabilities. Much like antivirus software, Malwarebytes uses heuristics and signatures and can detect and block malware. The San Jose, Calif.-based firm also has offices in Europe and a global team of researchers.

Allison said the company works with MSP management platforms and can be catered to service providers that specialize in a customer vertical.

Service providers that have used the product informally with clients say it works well with most antivirus software. Malwarebytes has been an effective tool for clients that are consistently dogged with malware infections, said Matthew Stuart, an IT Consultant Blacksburg, Va.-based Virginia Tech Corporate Research Center. The managed service provider has about 275 individual clients with a total of nearly 2,000 seats. Stuart said Malwarebytes' software works well with Vipre's antivirus suite, which is installed at its client's endpoint machines.

Stuart's firm worked with Malwarebytes to implement a monthly licensing scheme after Stuart configured it to work more remotely in conjunction with his company's LabTech management console.

"It's not antivirus, but it's really helped control some problem systems," Stuart said. "It's really effective in detecting and removing potentially unwanted programs."