Those new capabilities represent a down payment on a long-term strategy by Avast to differentiate itself from competitors as the managed services software maker best able to help MSPs meet increased need among SMBs for security services.
“We’re continuing to invest in traditional RMM type features but we’re placing a significant amount of our focus and investment now in that security space,” says Sean Sykes, managing director of AVG Business. “That’s where all of the opportunity and the requirements are going to be from the market for our partners.”
Now in general availability, Managed Workplace 11 was unveiled on the opening day of ChannelCon, the SMB channel conference that Downers Grove, Ill.-based membership organization CompTIA is currently hosting in Austin, Texas. The new release allows MSPs to evaluate and report on the effectiveness of their customers’ password policies, patch management, and anti-virus software through the same interface they use to perform other administrative tasks. Those features are standard components of the updated software provided at no additional cost.
Managed Workplace 11 also includes a scoring tool for measuring the severity of a customer’s security exposure and a dashboard that gives MSPs centralized access to comprehensive security information about all of their clients.
There’s also a security assessment reporting component that lets MSPs show businesses where they’re vulnerable in terms they can easily comprehend. According to Sykes, that feature’s simplicity and clarity both distinguish it from the stand-alone security reporting solutions most MSPs rely on today.
“There are lots of tools, but they’re difficult to use [and] the reports are not necessarily customer friendly,” he says.
Those systems typically provide no means of remediating vulnerabilities either, he adds. Managed Workplace 11, by contrast, integrates with anti-virus software from both AVG Business and its parent company, enabling MSPs to identify and address security gaps through a single platform.
AVG Business is the new identity of the former AVG Technologies N.V., which Avast purchased a year ago for $1.3 billion. Adding security functionality to Managed Workplace and forging seamless ties between that system and Avast’s anti-virus products is a core element of the company’s ongoing initiative to position itself as a leader in both security and network management software.
In connection with that effort, Sykes says, Avast is building out a security service delivery framework that will allow MSPs to assess, secure, and monitor customer environments easily, effectively, and affordably in a time of rapidly proliferating threats.
Indeed, U.S. businesses and government agencies suffered 40 percent more data breaches in 2016 than the year before, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center. Analyst firm IDC expects global outlays on security technology to climb 8.2 percent this year to $81.7 billion in response to that trend.
“SMBs will be looking to MSPs to help support them and deliver these services,” Sykes says. “There’s a massive opportunity here when you think about transforming your business to support this need.”
Avast is betting MSPs seeking to capitalize on that opportunity are eager to partner with RMM makers that have extensive in-house security expertise.
“You want to go to a vendor that specializes in security,” Sykes says. “That needs to be their bread and butter.”
The addition of security site assessment capabilities to Managed Workplace puts Avast in competition with RapidFire Tools Inc., of Atlanta, which makes the Network Detective IT assessment solution. Elsewhere at ChannelCon today, RapidFire Tools announced the addition of approved scanning vendor services to Network Detective’s PCI compliance module.