In the culmination of a process nearly a year in the making, Avast Software has rolled out a new endpoint security suite, new partner program, and new corporate identity for its business-focused solution portfolio.
The new product family combines elements of Avast’s own security offerings with assets the Prague-based vendor acquired last year through its $1.3 billion purchase of AVG Technologies N.V. Though that deal closed last September, Avast has been operating AVG as a discrete entity called AVG Business by Avast until today. Going forward, all of the company’s commercial security and managed services solutions now reside in a single consolidated operating unit named Avast Business.
“We’ve been working pretty feverishly here to integrate the companies,” says Sean Sykes, managing director of Avast Business. “It really has been all about bringing the best of both companies together into one platform.”
That platform includes endpoint security products for both the Microsoft Windows and Apple MacOS operating systems. Avast Business Antivirus merges file, email, web, and behavior shields from AVG’s code base with Avast’s artificial intelligence technology and a threat detection network informed by data from over 400 million endpoints.
“We’ve got this rich data just because of the sheer size of the base from which we’re collecting information,” Sykes says.
Avast Business Antivirus is also available in Pro and Pro Plus editions. The former adds data protection services for Microsoft Exchange and SharePoint to the base package, along with a “Software Updater” that patches third-party solutions and a “Data Shredder” that permanently deletes unneeded information. Avast Business Antivirus Pro Plus supplements those features with identity protection for Wi-Fi connections and password management functionality.
Partners have three options for managing those security products. Deployable either on-premises or in the cloud, Avast Business Management Console provides centralized control over any Avast Business Antivirus SKU. In addition, companies can manage Avast Business Antivirus Pro Plus directly from within either the Avast Business Managed Workplace RMM solution, which was formerly known as AVG Managed Workplace, or Avast Business CloudCare, the vendor’s free, hosted endpoint security administration system.
Sykes points to the integration between Avast’s endpoint security software and Managed Workplace solution as especially important for channel pros looking to expand beyond device management into security or vice versa.
“[It] provides an opportunity to generate leads and new service offerings,” he says, adding that it increases profitability as well by enabling technicians to manage and secure endpoints through the same interface.
Also debuting today are a new Avast Business Global Channel Partner Program and Avast Business Partner Certification Program, both of which replace formerly separate Avast and AVG offerings and include incentives designed to encourage enrollees to enhance their security and product skills.
“We’re going to be rewarding our partners for that knowledge by linking it to a number of competitive discounts that are going to be tied to training achievements and certifications, as well as the volume of business they give us,” Sykes says.
A new Avast Business partner portal serves as a consolidated gateway not only to training and certification materials but to product, support, sales, and marketing resources as well. Significantly, the portal also includes functionality for processing product orders, invoices, and payments online.
“An integrated billing platform was one of the top requests from our customer base,” Sykes says. “We’re making it much easier now for our partners to do business with us.”
Avast Business plans to phase out the Avast and AVG solutions its new endpoint security portfolio replaces gradually.
“We recognize that our partners are going to require a period of time to transition off of our legacy products as they move to the new products, and we’re going to be providing them with an appropriate period of time to do that,” Sykes says.
Partners will initially be allowed to retain elite membership status or certifications they achieved in the sun-setting Avast and AVG programs as well.
“Everything will be grandfathered until mid-2018,” Sykes says.
Avast made a down payment on the strategy and offerings unveiled today in July when it shipped a new release of Managed Workplace equipped with built-in security site assessment functionality, a scoring tool for measuring the severity of a customer’s security exposure, and a dashboard that provides centralized access to comprehensive customer security information.