ESET gears up in Managed Service Provider market

ESET has been in the MSP space for a while, but is now making a push to increase their presence there. They also indicated that they will shortly be releasing their first offering specifically built for the cloud.

Cameron Tousley, ESET Partner Community Manager

WASHINGTON D.C. – Cybersecurity vendor ESET is increasing its focus on the managed service provider space. It was the topic of their Tuesday presentation at the CompTIA ChannelCon event here. They also just upgraded their MSP Administrator tool, and vendor integrations. And they are reporting strong MSP momentum in revenue growth and partner recruitment.

“Our MSP business is an emerging one for us,” said Cameron Tousley, ESET Partner Community Manager. “It is still in the single digit level as a percentage of our business, but it will hit double digits this year.”  Their MSP revenue growth is up 46 per cent compared to the first half of last year, and MSP partner recruitment is up 27 per cent over the same period.

“We have technically been in the MSP market since 2013,” Tousley said. “We started with ConnectWise as our sole investment. We built an integration with them and signed a distribution deal with them, and we did that for two years. We then created many plug-ins for other vendors, and that got us in front of a lot more MSPs. At that point, we started our Partner Services Team, and really got all-in on the MSP business.”

Tousley commented that the MSP interest they are seeing at ChannelCon has been evolving.

“Three years ago, at the CompTIA event in Chicago, there was a lot more VARs in the room at our presentation, and even a couple of years ago, it might have been a 50-50 balance with those who had already developed an MSP practice,” he said. Now, more of them have managed services as part of our model. We did a session here this morning of moving from a VAR model to the MSP model, and how we make it easy for them, and we had a lot more MSPs in the room. There were a lot of hybrid practices.”

So why would organizations which had already begun the transition to an MSP practice be attending a session on how to do that?

“It’s a continuing learning process,” Tousley said. “They are validating if they did things right. MSPs were taking notes during the presentation.”

ESET has just beefed up its MSP tools as well. They just announced a new version of the ESET MSP Administrator, which streamlines MSP billing and licensing operations.

“This is the next iteration of the Administrator,” Tousley said. “It has a new architecture, and some new functionality and reporting announcements.”

Tousley believes that another new addition, upgraded plug-ins for ConnectWise and AutoTask, as well as an entirely new one for SolarWinds MSP, will be even more significant for MSPs.

“SolarWinds is a brand new vendor for us, and the great part about having an integration with them is it gives us a reason to get to their user conference and promote it,” Tousley said. “The upgrade from the older integrations is also significant. The old ones required an on-prem server and ESET management console. Now, we have removed the necessity for a management console or even a potential cloud version of it. Removing the software that was previously needed means that 100 per cent of the MSP’s experience will be with their RMM of choice. It’s a time saving for them, and will add to the bottom line of revenue.”

Tousley said that the new ESET marketing center, introduced in late April and powered by end-to-end marketing automation company MindMatrix, is getting a good response from MSPs.

“Automation is key for MSPs, and a lot of them don’t have dedicated marketing people,” he stated. “With this, they can upload and do content syndication, social marketing, email campaigns and other things within the platform. It’s for all partners, but we are seeing good MSP pickup on this.”

ESET has added new technical experts to its Learning and Development team, which develops technical training programs to  help MSPs become trusted security advisors.

“We have grown our headcount here,” Tousley said. “We have also added resources to our ESET Security Days.”

These are partner-hosted events supported by ESET, which are similar to lunch and learns, but have a couple of differences.

“At these, ESET will partner up with a few complementary vendors who might be from areas like backup,” he said. “They also do the event at a fun spot, rather than just do a presentation over lunch.”

All of this makes Tousley bullish on ESET’s MSP prospects.

“We believe that over the next two to three years, it will increase exponentially,” he said.

ESET is also preparing to launch its first formal cloud product.

“The primary audience for this, initially, will be the SMB market,” he said. “We scaled down our remote management market slightly, because it doesn’t need the feature richness of our full remote administration. We will offer the fuller version for the cloud next year, and market it to two different audiences.”

Tousley also stressed that ESET doesn’t see the formal cloud offering as a huge deal.

“The cloud is not some mysterious thing now, and we have a lot of MSPs already offering us in the cloud,” he said. “We would help them set it up in whatever cloud they wanted to put it in. We haven’t seen the lack of a specific cloud product as a huge hurdle. Similarly, a lot of people think this will be a show stopper, but it’s really not.”

Stephen Cobb, ESET Senior Security Researcher

ESET has been a regular attendee at the ChannelCon event.

“We have been a CompTIA member for a long time,” said Stephen Cobb, ESET Senior Security Researcher. “We like it for a number of reasons. Their commitment to educating the market very much parallels our view. We have great technology, but we understand its limitations. For it to be effective, you have got to educate the end users. CompTIA has been working for many years to build pipeline to generate cyberskilled workers.”

Cobb noted CompTIA’s recent Building a Culture of Cybersecurity report.

“This report, which is more of an executive level piece, is the sort of thing that comes out of listening to members, and finding out what they need,” he said.”CompTIA does a great job supporting that market, and we like to play a role in it.”

Cobb indicated a further benefit to ESET of the ChannelCon event specifically.

“It is the best place to go to meet the channel,” he said.