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Kicking off its annual partner conference in Scottsdale, Ariz., N-Able CEO Gavin Garbutt took the wraps off a set of new enablement initiatives aimed at helping his MSP partners transition existing customers to the managed services model.

In advance of the upcoming launch of the company’s flagship N-central 7.0 remote monitoring and management platform, N-Able is changing its licensing model, adding a second type of license for partners’ goody bags. The new Essentials software license will be offered free to all N-able partners with a current N-central maintenance and support subscription. One Essentials license will be granted for every Professional license that partners purchase, he said, and that offer stands in perpetuity.

The Essentials license is a lightweight version of the existing Professional license type, and because it is free, N-Able believes it can help jump-start managed services sales among SMB customers that to date have eschewed the outsourcing IT model, he said.

As an added incentive to the Essentials announcement, Garbutt said the company is rolling out, for the first time, a security module called Endpoint Security Manager, which includes fully integrated AV, anti-spam, anti-malware, personal firewall and host intrusion prevention for Windows devices. Two of the security licenses will be available for free for one year for every n-Central Professional license that an N-Able MSP owns. The security technology found in the new endpoint module was OEMed from Panda Security.

All told, the investments in new enablement initiatives, including marketing and prospecting support, will help address key barriers to entry that have prevented MSPs from converting existing SMB customers that buy IT transactionally.

“Those barriers are complexity, cost and providing a key value to SMB customers,” he said. “We have now eliminated the cost factor and the complexity factor has been eliminated, and we are giving our partners a key value proposition to address the No. 1 pain point for SMB customers: endpoint security.”

Garbutt told Channel Insider that on average N-Able’s partners today only serve 10 to 20 percent of their customers in a managed services model. The remaining 80 to 90 percent of customers purchase IT in the traditional product- and project-based manner. The goal with the new programs is not to attract more partners to the fold, but to drive managed services conversion rates among existing partners’ customers.

“This is a real investment in channel enablement, and it’s how we win that 90 percent land grab,” he said.