Avast Launches New Business Portfolio And Partner Program, Combining Its Channel Forces With AVG

A year after closing its acquisition of AVG to consolidate two anti-virus giants, Avast is now relaunching its business portfolio to integrate the two technology portfolios and rolling out a new partner program.

Avast Business, announced and launched on Wednesday, includes three new anti-virus offerings and three management offerings. The solutions are all aimed at the small to midsized business market.

"Since the acquisition last fall, we have been working really hard here to integrate the AV business and the Avast business organization," Avast Business Managing Director Sean Sykes said. "It's really now coming to the market formally with the unified Avast Business brand, product portfolio, and service that will support the new business brand."

[Related: Q&A: Avast CEO On AVG Acquisition And Why Large Endpoint Security Companies Aren't 'Dinosaurs']

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The three-tiered anti-virus offering, which combines technology from both AVG and Avast portfolios, is broken down into Avast Business Antivirus, Avast Business Antivirus Pro, and Avast Business Antivirus Pro Plus. Each offering includes increasing amounts of security protections, ranging from full endpoint protection for file, email, web, spam, Wi-Fi inspection and more with the Avast Business Antivirus offering, to also include identity protection, password management, and data protection services for the higher-tiered offerings.

Avast also announced three new management offerings to its Avast Business portfolio. Avast Business CloudCare allows for Avast Business Antivirus Pro Plus to be available as a security subscription managed through the CloudCare web-based security portal. The company also announced the Avast Business Management Console, which allows for centralized management and updates of all Avast endpoint solutions, and the Avast Business Managed Workplace for remote monitoring and management, endpoint protection management, and site security assessment.

Sykes said the new products fill a gap the company saw for effective, affordable security for the SMB business customer. He said that gap is amplified as more small and midsized businesses are hit by sophisticated cyberattacks, such as the recent WannaCry ransomware attacks.

"There is a gap in the market right now and we believe our experience bringing affordable, easy-to-use, but highly effective security solutions to the market will allow us to support the SMB in a way that other organizations haven't been able to in the past," Sykes said.

Eric Gorman, executive vice president and COO of Integrated Enterprise Solutions, said he is also seeing the same trend of increasing concern from SMBs around security. He said smaller companies used to think they were "too small" to be targets for hackers, but that is "not true anymore" and companies are starting to invest.

"We are finding that even more and more these days that the smaller companies are concerned about security … We are seeing a lot of our customers, especially the smaller ones, start to ask about security," Gorman said.

Gorman, whose company came to partner with Avast through the AVG side of the business, said the new product launches will help his business streamline both its security practice and its RMM use. He said his business uses Avast Business Managed Workplace, Avast Business CloudCare, and the Avast Business anti-virus offerings.

He said the integration between the two portfolios will make it easier for his technicians to run the company's managed services business and new additions – such as security assessments – will help Integrated Enterprise Solutions build its security practice.

"They're not only putting the best of Avast and AVG into anti-virus, but also into the managed workplace product, which for me is huge because as an MSP that's my go-to tool … They are streamlining things for us and making it easier for us to service the customer and enhance the services we provide for the customers," Gorman said.

With the new portfolio, Avast also announced the launch of a new partner program. The new program, which officially launches September 6, will replace the previously separate Avast and AVG partner programs with a single, consolidated program with around 15,000 partners worldwide. The new program includes new unified systems, including a refreshed partner portal and integrated billing process, and certifications for the newly-launched Avast Business portfolio.

Sykes said Avast will put emphasis on education for partners in the new program, including training for staff. He said Avast will also put focus on delivering leads to partners and lead generation.

The portfolio and partner program launches come as Avast looks to launch a new brand following the acquisition of AVG, which was first announced in July 2016 and closed in August 2016.

The brand launch comes as the endpoint security market hits an inflection point, shifting away from traditional, signature-based antivirus to next-generation endpoint security technologies. Sykes said Avast faces a challenge of awareness when it comes to the endpoint security market, calling it a "best kept secret" when it comes to the company's business portfolio. He said much of the company's channel investment will focus on educating partners not only on the technology, but also the company's new brand and offerings.

Sykes said Avast plans to differentiate itself with its broad data set and next-generation technology. He said Avast is adding to that with identity and data protection technologies.

Integrated Enterprise Solutions' Gorman said he decided to stick with AVG, now Avast, through the acquisition transition because of the company's product plans after the integration and its communication with partners. He said he was able to give a lot of feedback around the integrated product offerings in their beta phases, and looks forward to further investments around security assessments and the anti-virus for zero day capabilities.

"Overall they have been a good partner in terms of communications and listening to what we have to say. From my perspective, that means a lot. In the last year, I never felt I needed to look anywhere else. It was just a matter of working with them and waiting for the announcements of the product integrations," Gorman said. "With Avast and AVG, and now with the combination, I feel like I can get the quality and all the services I need from one vendor."