CRN Exclusive: Kaspersky Launches MSP Program, Looks To Provide More Recurring Revenue Opportunities For MSSPs

Kaspersky Lab is expanding its partner program to address the growing opportunity for managed security services, giving partners a chance to build recurring revenues while providing customers with more flexibility in how they purchase security technology.

On Monday, the company launched a new program for MSP partners that falls under the umbrella of Kaspersky's overall partner program. It includes exclusive access to volume-based pricing, a separate MSP price list, formalized monthly licensing, product and security training and certification, technical support, and sales and marketing materials.

Products that fall under the program for MSPs include Kaspersky Endpoint Security Cloud, Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business Basic, Kaspersky Security for Virtualization, Kaspersky Security for Mail Server and Managed Service Agreement. The company said it plans to add more products throughout the year.

[Related: Kaspersky Lab's North American Channel Chief Bois Leaves Security Vendor]

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The program launch builds on partner program updates Kaspersky rolled out in January, which added increased regional support, advanced rewards and technology offerings, and new regional Partner Summits. The company also laid the groundwork for this week's MSP program with the launch of a new managed service provider offering.

Michael Canavan, senior vice president of B2B sales for Kaspersky Lab North America, said the launch is designed to respond to the growing opportunity Kaspersky sees for partners around managed security services, and the value that brings to customers. He said the new program will help Kaspersky partners make the most of the opportunity, with the training to keep pace with industry trends, a strong technology product, and a billing model to meet how customers want to buy.

"From a business perspective, this is an area where we're starting to see a lot of existing partners that have an interest in making a transition from being a traditional VAR to an MSP. We've had a lot of demand," Canavan said. "What's unique about security and where the big value comes in for partners and MSPs is we are dealing with a constantly evolving landscape. You need the technical foundation … but you also need to know how to adapt that product based off a dynamic evolving threat market. That is the huge value MSPs can provide."

While other security vendors also offer MSP partner programs, Kevin Lozeau, director of North America channel marketing, said Kaspersky will differentiate itself based on the efficacy of its technology, including a deeply integrated solution set. He said efficacy is especially important for MSPs, who assume a significant amount of security liability for their clients and face loss of money, labor cost and reputation if clients are hit by a security breach.

"We feel we have a very unique offering in the market with our product efficacy and a single pane of glass, holistic solution. We look at our managed services offering is only adding to that and opening up an ability for a different segment of the marketplace to deliver it to our customers as well," Lozeau said. Canavan added that MSP partners can also improve efficacy by helping customers fully implement security solutions and turning on all functionalities, an area many customers are missing out on.

Michael Knight, president and chief technology officer at Encore Technology Group, a Greenville, S.C.-based Kaspersky partner, said the new program will be key to helping his company provide the procurement options, as both capital expenditures and operational expenditures, that his customers might want.

"Kaspersky has brought forth a program we can leverage across our commercial and midmarket teams, absolutely," Knight said. "We have a situation where Kaspersky is delivering fantastic tried and true solutions, but rather than having to use the Capex, they are now delivering it for Opex for MSPs. That's been pretty big for us and what we're trying to do."

Knight said Encore's managed services business is the "largest growth opportunity" for the company and where it is investing the most in its own business. He said the company has already shifted from 90 percent projects and 10 percent recurring revenue five years ago, to 45 percent recurring revenue and 55 percent projects today. The expectation is the company's recurring revenue percentage will exceed project revenue within the next year, he said. As more solution providers shift to this model, he said it is key that vendors like Kaspersky offer programs like this to help meet their evolving business needs.

"Any solution that is truly viable has to have a Capex mechanism, which is the typical resell, as well as an Opex, MSSP and MSP solution. If those companies are not focused on that at some point they will lose major market share," Knight said.

Kaspersky's Lozeau said it will continue to build on its MSP strategy, including adding more of its products as well as integrations with major PSA and RMM tools.