Webroot sweeps up malware threats

(Image: Stockfresh)

18 September 2018

Webroot has come a long way over the course of its 21-year history. From its early days in anti-spyware and adware with Webroot Spy Sweeper, the company has expanded its security footprint significantly, primarily through acquisitions, to become the “the number one security solution for managed service providers and small businesses”, providing endpoint protection, network protection and security awareness training.

Primary among those acquisitions was the purchase of BrightCloud, a Web content classification and security services provider which brought machine learning, and UK cloud-based anti-malware company, Prevx, which brought cloud intelligence, both in 2010.

Webroot is not new to these shores. The company opened its European headquarters in Dublin in 2010, housing its finance and customer support team. Over the years, the operation has grown to include the threat research team, marketing and sales and a much expanded support team.

The Irish presence is very important to the company. David Kennerley, director, threat research at Webroot, says it’s important for channel partners to understand that “we’re here, we’re an Irish-based company with an Irish-based customer support and Irish-based threat team that looks after them.

Webroot is also keen to emphasis its channel credentials. President and CEO Mike Potts was recently listed in CRN’s 2018 list of top 100 executives. “This is an exciting time at Webroot and the IT channel is a key factor in our growth strategy,” Potts said at the time. “We have a strong network of MSPs who serve small and medium-sized businesses today that we will only continue to strengthen in the future.”

“A lot of people feel secure because they’ve got anti virus and a firewall and they do back ups, but there can still be inherent weaknesses within the business. It’s a good way for resellers to lead.” – Adam Nash

The company has distribution agreements in Ireland with CMS and Exertis and sales are close to 100% through the channel. It is very popular with managed service providers (MSPs). Most of its customers are in the SMB to mid-enterprise space. “In the business space our customers tend to be up to around 2,500 seats but we have enterprise customers with closer to 20,000 endpoints under management,” says EMEA sales manager Adam Nash, “that’s our sweet spot”.

He estimates Webroot has more than a thousand MSP partners in the UK and Ireland. The company has plans to grow its global MSPs numbers from 14,000 to as many as 20,000 by the end of 2019. “We’re trying to become the de facto security suite for MSPs,” he states.

Nash believes there are three factors “that bring MSPs to us and keep them with us”: ease of management, efficacy, lightness and speed. Webroot is “very, very easy to manage because it’s all hosted in the cloud. Typically, MSPs could be spending five to 10 hours a week managing anti-virus, but they’re probably only spending half an hour after moving to Webroot.”

The solution is robust and works well at reducing the risk of infection. In terms of speed and performance, testing has shown it to be “the lightest and fastest solution for Windows 7, 8 and 10”. Webroot integrates with all the leading automation platforms, which “makes it easier for MSPs to bed it into their platform”.

Kennerley believes the company’s “one console approach that can manage all the security layers” is a very attractive proposition for MSPs. “We’re looking to give MSPs exactly what they want so they can manage security on behalf of their customers. We helping them to change from MSPs to MSSPs [managed security service providers] with the products we can offer them.”

He notes that “the console is what really stands out” for MSPs because “they can manage multiple SMBs from the same console. What stands out is how quickly it can be deployed and how quickly they can see the value of the product.”

Kennerley acknowledges that there are other security vendors in this space but emphasises that Webroot’s products are “reliant on 10 years of expertise or more in machine learning and cloud – we were using cloud before it was called ‘cloud’. We were calling it ‘herd intelligence’ because cloud wasn’t even a term”.

Business market plans
In addition to its MSP ambitions, the company is also keen to grow its presence in the business user space. “Most people who test our product like it,” Nash remarks, “so we’d like to spread our wings a bit. They can get their AV set up in 10 minutes, log into the console, create a policy and be ready to grow. We need the help of distributors and resellers to get to the business market.”

“…we were using cloud before it was called ‘cloud’. We were calling it ‘herd intelligence’ because cloud wasn’t even a term” – David Kennerley

He accepts that it can be more difficult for vendors like Webroot to get ahead of the queue with resellers against more well-known rivals but the company is determined “to go out there and evangelise and drive that demand. You have to be in charge of your own destiny, no one is going to bring business to your door. We want to reach people that aren’t aware of us and that don’t currently stock our solutions. We’ve got some great MSPs and we need to go out there and find more partners to work with to sell our products to business users”.

Nash argues that Webroot’s products are well-suited to resellers who are starting to move to offer services because tin is no longer the cash cow it was. “We provide a great way for resellers to dip their toe in the water and start to offer managed services without needing to understand that much about how to deploy software,” he claims.

One way to entice resellers and make the Webroot pitch more attractive to their customers is the vendor’s emphasis on user education through security awareness training. This includes a learning management system, a phishing simulator, interactive courses and activity reports to measure progress.

“There’s always one person within the network responsible for clicking on a suspicious link,” Nash says. “If you can raise awareness in the business, you can reduce the risk quite drastically. Viruses and malware are always evolving, so you need to train staff to be more vigilant. A lot of people feel secure because they’ve got anti virus and a firewall and they do back ups, but there can still be inherent weaknesses within the business. It’s a good way for resellers to lead.”

With so much of the Irish market falling into the SMB and mid-market categories, Webroot believes its solutions are perfectly suited to many Irish businesses. The company’s message to Irish channel partners is that whether they’re an MSP, a reseller or a distributor, it’s happy to talk to them and to engage with them.

Webroot is giving channel partners a free one-month trial of all its business products. To avail of this exclusive offer, visit




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