The MSP Charge – Kaspersky

Comms Business Magazine (CBM): Can you give us a Channel strategy update?

Russ Madley (RM): We are a 100% Channel focused organisation and my job is to look after all our indirect activities. Before I joined Kaspersky I actually worked for a reseller for just over ten years. This has been good for understanding what the Channel actually needs from us, their vendor, and my strategy really sits behind that ethos. As a reseller, the top things we wanted from a vendor were firstly making sure they had a good technology, another was making sure we retained margins so we increased our profitability, and then finally we wanted them to be easy to do business with.

We have gone through a transformation with the Channel over the last three and a half years and the majority of my team have actually now worked in the Channel previously. This was important to me as we can go into partners and understand the stresses and strains they are going through. One of the big strategy pieces for this year is enabling the Channel more. We’ll be doing that’s by attending events with them, more training, and basically looking at how we deliver on those three core areas I mentioned.

CBM: How exactly are you helping partners retain their margins?
RM: We changed our partner programme this year so we could increase the retained margin for partners. We now give out more protection to partners when it comes to deal registration and their incumbent partner when it comes to the solution. This increases the retained margin by another 10%, our platinum partners now get protection up to 25%. We are firm believers we need to invest in the Channel and give them good profitability, if we do that they will want to sell more and that’s good for everyone.

CBM: You have around 800 partners right now, is the mix of partners changing right now?
RM: We have a mix of partners including some specialist partners all the way up to some big ones like Softcat. A big focus for us right now is actually the MSP community. People really want to give the responsibility of maintaining, updating and management of a solution they are buying to a third party so they can focus on core business. End users want to take the risk away when it comes to their IT infrastructure so that is a trend I can only see growing this year.
We’ve seen procurement change at end users too, people want to pay on a monthly basis rather than a yearly or multi-yearly basis. That’s really where the MSP solutions we have come into their own.

CBM: Is security still high on the agenda for organisations?
RM: Security is higher on the agenda than ever. With all the main stream coverage and regulations coming in people are now looking at how they can secure information and stop that being leaked out into places it shouldn’t.

Compliance has been the biggest driver of security over the last ten to fifteen years but now the digitalisation of organisations, including the power we have with our smartphones and laptops etc, things are very different now. We are seeing a lot of resellers that are moving from that box shifting mentality moving into selling security.

CBM: Is endpoint security being overlooked?
RM: I think there are a lot of specialist security players that don’t take endpoint security that seriously. They seem to be more interested in the firewalls, the gateways, the emails and the consulting services that go around that. That is a big area that were concentrating on, we help our new partners increase their wallet share within organisations. We look at what they are selling into their end users, are they looking into things like security awareness training, DDoS protection etc. There are plenty of organisations who just aren’t having that end security conversation right now.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine