McAfee's MSP Program Now Includes Hardware, More Security Software

McAfee expanded its MSP program, making its line of network security appliances and authentication products eligible for purchase on an on-demand or subscription basis to MSPs.

The MSP Program, launched last year, had been limited to the company's endpoint security software. About 160 channel partners that have adopted security as a managed service qualify to purchase the software through the program, said Gavin Struthers, senior vice president of worldwide channels at McAfee, which is transitioning its name to Intel Security as new products are unveiled.

Santa Clara, Calif.-based McAfee said this week that its next-generation firewall line, security information event management appliance, intrusion prevention system and malware analysis sandboxing appliance are now eligible under the MSP Program. The company also added its authentication software via its McAfee Cloud Identity Manager and its two-factor and one-time password software.

[Related: Transitioning To Managed Services? Remember, Time Is Money ]

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McAfee will continue to make changes to the program over time to address deployment trends and help partners deploy the technologies, Struthers said. About two-thirds of MSPs in the program aim at small businesses, Struthers said, and the other one-third service large enterprises that are outsourcing parts of their IT program.

"We've been seeing growing interest and excitement around our MSP program, and expanding the portfolio to include hardware was the big one for us to crack," Struthers told CRN. "With the growth we're seeing, it's clear that our customers are looking for more predictable costs around security."

McAfee, Symantec, Sophos and other security and technology vendors are overseeing MSP programs in a bid to help a growing number of MSPs reduce their up-front and/or capex expenses in relation to IT security. Under the model, MSPs get equipment and software deployed to service end clients under a monthly subscription or pay-as-you-go plans. MSPs tell CRN that the model can be very successful over time, but initial costs can add up. In the security market, many firms are standardizing on one or two vendor platforms to keep costs down and to limit the amount of skilled and certified staff needed to service the software and appliances.

Managed services is a difficult part of the business for solution providers to start and manage, said Michael Knight, CTO of Greenville, S.C.-based Encore Technology Group. In a recent interview with CRN, Knight said both vendors and solution providers struggle to make it work.

"Managed services and cloud services are entirely different animals as far as making them run and ubiquitously work and not worrying about that one customer at a time," Knight said.

McAfee's MSP Program expansion follows a number of moves in recent months that have impacted channel partners. In addition to the phasing out of its brand name for the new Intel Security moniker, Struthers is working on a complete overhaul of the SecurityAlliance Partner Program. The goal, he told partners in October, is to simplify the program, eliminating partner programs the company inherited through acquisition.