Trend Micro renews MSP program to respond to reseller challenges

Security vendor adjusts approach to MSP following conversations with resellers

Trend Micro has rebooted its Managed Service Provider (MSP) program in Australia.

According to Trend Micro SMB director, Mark Sinclair, the move is a response to the needs of local resellers.

After Sinclair was promoted to the role in July, he says the first thing he did was go out and talk to top performing partners.

“I went and saw 20 of them over a couple of months, just to see how their business is going and what types of challenges they were facing,” he said.

“I quickly realised managed services is something they were all offering, and I was really surprised by that."

Not only did he see that the resellers were all offering managed services, they also faced some specific challenges.

“When I asked why managed services, they all said something similar, and that was, ‘I need to do it to survive,’” Sinclair said.

In these tough times, resellers have found the “break fix” model that may have suited them well in the past was not giving them the growth they needed.

“They really needed an offering they could grow with and survive with in these tough economic times,” he said.

“If they hadn’t done it, they probably wouldn’t be in business today."

Thinking globally, acting locally

The top Trend Micro resellers were telling Sinclair they had to do managed services, their customers were demanding it, they needed it for cash flow, and they needed it to grow and survive.

In response to that, he looked at what the vendor could offer with MSP and admits it was “reasonably limited.”

“It was our traditional product range on a pay-per-month service,” he said.

When Sinclair asked these resellers specifically what is it about managed services with existing software that they found challenging, they said it takes too long to provision.

“Most security vendors were just offering straight standard security software that wasn’t specifically designed for managed services,” he said.

“With traditional software licensing they also had to buy up front, and then they had to on-charge to their customer, creating a cash flow issue.”

Sinclair says he took all of that feedback and then went to Trend Micro’s global development team to see what they were doing on a global level.

What he found was they had actually developed a License Management Portal at that time, an online portal to allow MSP resellers to provision licenses in real time.

“They had developed it many months before, but they were slowly rolling it out to global business units,” Sinclair said.

Trend Micro Australia then reviewed the pricing to make it more competitive with traditional software licensing models.

“We took the license management portal, the monthly pricing, and our new product offerings, which are MSP built from the ground up, and then brought them together under this new banner of Trend Micro’s MSP program,” Sinclair said.

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