Malwarebytes introduces first partner program for MSPs

Malwarebytes has managed its MSP partners as resellers until now, but as that segment of the market grows, the company will be rolling out a program specifically designed for MSPs following a successful pilot in Australia.

Cris Martinez, Senior Director, RMM and Strategic Partnerships at Malwarebytes

Today at the RSA Conference, security vendor Malwarebytes is announcing the upcoming launch of a new partner program designed specifically for their MSP partners, who until now have basically been managed as resellers in the Malwarebytes partner program. The new program provides them with Malwarebytes OneView, a multi-tenant management console purpose built for MSP. By the time the program goes live in a month, a tiering system and a base level of certifications is expected to be available, with more certifications rolling out as the program matures. Utility-based billing – a top priority for partners – will not be ready at launch, but is scheduled to roll out later in the year.

“This is a brand new program,” said Cris Martinez, Senior Director, RMM and Strategic Partnerships at Malwarebytes. “It was piloted in Australia, on a dry run, to see what the expectations were, and how much involvement we would get from the MSP community.”

That feedback was positive, with the Australian partners determining that the new program addressed key pain points for them.

“We are introducing this now globally primarily as the result of feedback from our MSP customers,” Martinez said. “They didn’t have a place in the program before. Essentially, MSPs were positioned as resellers, which didn’t fit their needs. They asked for an MSP-focused program and management components. The other reason we introduced this was the evolution of the product suite around endpoint protection and response. Both were in flight at the same time.”

Martinez said that giving MSPs the capability to have more management authority was an important ask.

“We are really giving the MSP an easier way to manage our products and to do business with us,” he stated. “Sometimes it’s a pain to make adjustments to products and services, so we are giving power to the MSP to make adjustments on their licensed seat counts, and to be able to add products. We are stepping out of our way to let them do this management on their own.”

Malwarebytes has around 2000 total MSPs.

“In terms of seat size, our sweet spot is between 150 and 3500,” Martinez said, acknowledging that was a pretty broad target zone. “A lot of small MSPs come to us because we have worked with them from usage in the home.”

Martinez said that the program has three basic components.

“The first is the Malwarebytes OneView console, which is fully multi-tenanted,” he indicated. “They can do everything through this, with all licensed management components, billing and invoicing.”

The second element is MSP volume pricing.

“MSPs are a slightly different animal,” Martinez said. “They do it all, so they get a little leeway on the product price because they evangelize and support, in order to provide them with more fruitful margins.”

The third element is flexible billing options – but not a utility billing model, although Martinez said that they are working on that.

“What we have now is a monthly-based billing option where we break it into 12 monthly invoices so they don’t have a charge up front,” he said, “It is designed as a stopgap. Utility-based billing is what they really want, but there is much more back end systems work to deliver that. We plan to have that in place in the second half of the year.”

As of today utility-based billing is not the only feature that isn’t quite built yet, but the plan is to have much of it ready when the program goes live.

“We are looking at doing a multi-tier program – Silver, Gold and Platinum – with the tier based on a combination of seat count, total contract term and certification,” Martinez indicated.

Certifications will be a key component of the program, and while they are not yet complete, Martinez said that some of them will be ready at launch.

“The certifications will be specific to MSPs, and certification will be required for higher tier levels,” he indicated. “We will be adding additional items as we evolve them.”

Martinez anticipates that the development of this MSP program will allow Malwarebytes to significantly grow their MSP base.

“We already have a lot of MSP partners today, but we do want to grow the MSP community, and want them to grow their business in conjunction with us,” he said. “A good portion of our existing MSPs were originally on-prem resellers who developed an MSP capacity. They often offer a multitude of services, including break-fix. The program’s flexibility will help them there, in terms of what they can offer as a bundle.”

Martinez thinks that this growth will be accelerated by Malwarebytes’ next generation endpoint protection and response offering.

“It will let them take control of the ransomware issue,” he said. “That’s where we se this growing. It has a rollback feature which allows a rollback to a healthy state if a customer is hit by ransomware. That should be a real silver bullet.”

The program is scheduled to go live on April 9.