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Looking to make it much simpler for managed service providers (MSPs) to provide remote services, AVG Technologies released an upgrade to its remote management and monitoring platform that now includes the ability to take control of a remote desktop for free.

Version 9.2 of AVG Business Managed Workplace now includes remote control software developed by ISL Online that can be invoked directly from with the AVG dashboard, according to Francois Daumard, vice president of global channel sales at AVG.

AVG is also including integrated backup and recovery software, enhanced the password-protection capabilities of the antivirus software it includes in the platform, and for the first time, support for Mac OS client.

Thanks to the remote control capability, MSPs now have the option of either providing remote control as a value-added service to retain customers or charging for the service to create additional revenue, said Daumard.

“For MSPs, remote control is a pain,” said Daumard, “We want to make remote control entirely free.”

MSP Training and Challenges

Overall, AVG is investing heavily in MSP training to make sure its partners are profitable, Daumard said. AVG also launched Accelerator Partner Academy, which provides free on-demand training courses to the company’s channel partners. The online training consists of six modules and an associated certification as well as business transformation training delivered via three modules and a separate associated certification.

The biggest challenge facing MSPs these days, noted Daumard, is that the barrier to entry to becoming an MSP is falling to zero. As such, the number of competitors that MSPs have is increasing rapidly. As a result, MSPs that are the most efficient from both a technical and business perspective will be best able to compete over the long haul.

While there’s no shortage of managed service platforms to choose from these days, the ultimate decisions MSPs need to make concern the degree to which they want to integrate additional services, versus basing their business on the most preintegrated platform they can find.

Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for more than 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.