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OPAQ sharpens channel focus

OPAQ is looking for MSPs grounded in networking and security, while Nerdio has launched a sales tool for MSPs offering Microsoft Azure services -- more news from the week.

OPAQ, a network security cloud company in Herndon, Va., has adjusted its partner strategy and is tweaking its channel...

programs to more fully support managed service providers.

The company, which aims to enable MSPs to provide security as a service, has gone through a partner criteria reassessment, according to Lynn Tinney, senior vice president of channels at OPAQ. Tinney, who joined OPAQ earlier this month, said the company intends to increase its partner roster, but will be selective in doing so.

A partnership depends on whether OPAQ and a channel company "are relevant and valuable to each other," she said. A good fit, she added, "reduces the time to mutual revenue for both us and our partners."

Tinney said the company is looking for partners who know how to sell services, understand the cloud and share OPAQ's midmarket customer focus.

In addition, "we want partners that understand the network world as well as the security world," she said.

The customers OPAQ partners serve are going through network modernization and deploying technologies such as software-defined WAN. She said those customers have security issues, but lack the in-house staff to conduct assessments and monitor networks. Such companies are more likely to turn to partners for support.

On the channel program side, OPAQ is continuing its transition from targeting resellers to a service provider focus. Tinney said OPAQ is designing the program to include elements that appeal to solutions-oriented service provider partners rather than "straight-up, top-line revenue, traditional hardware resellers."

Tinney said she believes the company is 70% to 80% on track with that program objective, but will continue to make tweaks based on partner feedback.

"We definitely have a dose of [program tweaks] coming, [but] right now, our program wouldn't go through any major, wholesale changes," she said.

Webroot seeks increased adoption in MSP space

Cybersecurity vendor Webroot Inc. said it is aiming to get MSPs to embrace more of its security suite in 2019 -- specifically, its domain name system (DNS) protection and security awareness training products.

According to Charlie Tomeo, vice president of worldwide sales at Webroot, based in Broomfield, Colo., more than 13,000 MSPs use Webroot's products today. Many of those MSPs do so through their remote monitoring and management (RMM) platforms. Webroot integrates with RMM and professional services automation (PSA) software vendors such as ConnectWise, Kaseya, Continuum, Datto Inc. and Pulseway. In addition to DNS protection and awareness training, Webroot provides endpoint security and threat intelligence tools.

Tomeo said that Webroot is bolstering its portfolio at a time when MSPs are increasingly feeling pressured to address customers' security vulnerabilities and concerns.

In terms of top security threats in 2019, Tomeo said cryptojacking -- a technique used by hackers to mine bitcoin -- should be on MSPs' radars.

"I think the thing we are going to see more of is [attackers] are going to leverage [cryptojacking] not just to use you for a resource. ... They could do so many more things to that machine," he said. He noted that attackers could mine users' personal identifiers such as keystrokes.

Channel news from AWS re:Invent 2018

At the AWS re:Invent conference, held this week in Las Vegas, AWS CEO Andy Jassy discussed partner opportunities around multi-year enterprise cloud migration projects.

AWS channel executive, Terry Wise, also highlighted how the AWS' sales enablement efforts have helped to boost partner performance.

Nerdio launches MSP sales tool

Nerdio, a platform from Chicago company Adar Inc. that provides an IT management platform for public and private clouds, unveiled a sales tool that lets MSPs create Microsoft Azure sales packages.

The tool, called Plans Designer, is offered free of charge and works in conjunction with Nerdio's Cost Estimator tool. Both tools are part of Nerdio for Azure, an IT automation offering for the Azure cloud. Cost Estimator determines the cost of running IT in Azure, taking into account such elements as Office 365, RDS CAL and Windows server as well as cloud costs.

Cost Estimator bundles those components and calculates a per user, per month cost to the MSP, said Vadim Vladimirskiy, CEO at Adar. The new Plans Designer tool takes that cost data and lets MSPs add their mark-up and create a pricing page. For example, a service provider could use Plans Designer to create bronze, silver and gold Azure plans with tiered pricing.

Other news

  • Ayehu, which provides an AI-based IT and security automation and orchestration platform, has launched its Global Partner Program for MSPs, OEMs and systems integrators. The company's partner base includes Cognizant, Capgemini and Everbridge.
  • LivePerson Inc., an online messaging company, integrated its commerce platform with Datto Autotask's PSA software. The integration lets Datto Autotask users access the commerce platform to communicate with customers, LivePerson said.
  • Digital imaging vendor Epson America Inc. rolled out a new incentive to entice more partners to join its CapturePro Partner Program. The incentive offers up to a 10% credit memo with tiered goals that begin at $5,000 in scanner sales in the first six months, Epson America said.
  • Aventis Systems Inc., a hardware, software and services provider, has become a Synology Inc. reseller partner. The arrangement lets Aventis provide Synology's network attached storage offerings.
  • CompTIA has appointed James Hwang, COO at NexusTek, to the industry association's Channel Advisory Board. NexusTek is an MSP based in Denver.

Market Share is a news roundup published every Friday.

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Companies such as Nerdio aim to help MSPs provision cloud services. Would you use such services? Why or why not?
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