CA Sharpens Protection Suites For SMBs

CA Protection Suites r2 pack the vendor&s Desktop DNA, eTrust and BrightStor products into a single disk and user interface, said George Kafkarkou, senior vice president of worldwide SMB and consumer channel sales for CA, Islandia, N.Y. The six new suites give VARs an easier way to load and manage the functionality of all three products, he said. They start at $325 for a five-user license.

John Maxwell, president of 301 Computers, a CA Affiliate Partner in Waldorf, Md., however, said the bundled nature of the Protection Suites makes it difficult to sell to customers who want best-of-breed solutions from mixed vendors.

Tech Data, Ingram Micro and Synnex will distribute the three Protection Suites that are fashioned for users running Microsoft Small Business Server and Midsize Business environments, Kafkarkou said. All six of the new Protection Suites will also be available online from CDW, PC Mall, TigerDirect or CA&s direct sales Web site, he said.

The original Protection Suites were only available online, and partners were credited for referrals using a trusted agent model that paid them when customers entered a partner&s promotional code during the transaction. How many partners got paid for referrals is unclear, because CA does not break out that figure, Kafkarkou said.

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CA added a Small and Medium Business Specialist program last week that offers online support and sales collateral.

The SMB program may be too little too late, said Jill Gruetzmacher, director of business relations and partner development at A.E. Business Solutions, a 50-year-old VAR and CA Affiliate Partner in Madison, Wis.

“I couldn&t tell you who our channel manager is now,” Gruetzmacher said, adding that CA&s online sales have cut into A.E. Business Solutions& CA product sales “dramatically.” The VAR has not received a promotional code from CA, she said.