Channel chiefs, Channel partner programs, IT distribution, MSP, Networking

AVG Embraces Distributors for SMB Security, MSP Push

Fred Gerritse
Fred Gerritse

AVG Technologies is working more closely with distributors as part of a global SMB push. Among the latest moves: EarthBend, a value-added distributor of business telecommunications and IT solutions, has agreed to offer AVG's security and MSP portfolio -- including CloudCare and ManagedWorkplace -- to channel partners.

The AVG-EarthBend relationship is part of a broader AVG strategy developed by Fred Gerritse, senior VP and GM of AVG Business. After AVG stumbled a bit in the SMB market last year, the company hired Gerritse to drive a reorganization.

Much of AVG's channel strategy now leans heavily on distribution partners -- particularly EarthBend, Ingram Micro, Synnex, Lifeboat... and perhaps another value-added partner soon.

RMM for MSPs: Via Distribution or Direct?

Some skeptics wondered if AVG would become overly dependent on distributors, especially in the RMM (remote monitoring and management) software market. MSPs leverage RMM to proactively maintain customer networks. Generally speaking, most RMM software is sold directly to MSPs since the software sometimes requires hands-on training and education.

Gary Kovacs

During a recent briefing with ChannelE2E, Gerritse said partners can still acquire Managed Workplace directly from AVG. But the distribution model gives the security and MSP software company additional global reach, he added.

AVG's SMB partner program has several core priorities for the rest of 2016. But already there are signs of progress. After stumbling in 2015, the Managed Workplace business is now growing "double digits," according to Gerritse. And the overall SMB business is on track to be a break-even organization in 2016 after losing money in 2015, according to an April 2016 earnings call with CEO Gary Kovacs.

RMM, SMB Security: Intense Competition

Still, AVG faces intense competition on multiple SMB fronts. Most of the major RMM software providers now have strategic security relationships in place. And their RMM footprints are far larger than Managed Workplace, ChannelE2E believes.

Nevertheless, AVG believes the CloudCare platform offers considerable upside, and growing synergies with Managed Workplace will carry the business forward, company officials say.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.