McAfee is thinking small.

The Santa Clara, Calif. security vendor is offering its channel partners a new way to get small businesses to renew their licenses with practically no work on their end.

Under this new renewal program, McAfee will send its small business users an automatic alert 90 days before their licenses expires to ask if they want to renew. The business can then renew the license online using a credit card.

The partner that originally signed up the customer will then collect a margin on the renewal fee, explained Dave Dickison, senior vice president of North American Channel Sales for McAfee.

The program is aimed at businesses with 100 or less employees. In many cases, Dickison said, McAfee partners end up losing money when it comes time to renew licenses for these companies.

“In many cases, the cost to the partner in sales time and processing exceeds the profitability of the transaction,” Dickison said. “This program eliminates many of those costs and allows the VARs to maintain their profitability.”

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VARs can keep track of which customers are up for license renewals through McAfee’s MAX partner portal.

Dickison said the new program should not be seen as a direct sales model for small business customers. He added that McAfee partners approached the company and asked for a better way to address renewals with small companies.

“The partners approach us and said they can’t renew at the low end of this space,” Dickison said. “The partners came to us and asked how we could jointly solve this problem. Now, we can get the renewal rates and the partners get a higher profitability.”

After a pilot program earlier this year, McAfee launched the program in the early part of November. Dickison declined to discuss the specific margins that McAfee was offering VARs through this renewal program.

Jefferson Nunn, the president of Mind Dragon of West Lake Village, Calif., has been a McAfee partner for several years and was recently briefed on the new renewal program.

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Nunn, who considers himself more of an IT consultant than a traditional VAR, told Channel Insider that the program would not affect his business that much. He said most of his profits come from supplying companies with IT, not renewals on individual products.

Nunn said that what he wanted from McAfee was good security products that he could use to sell solutions to his customers.

“They make a great product,” Nunn said of McAfee. “What I make my money on is labor and the documents I produce for my clients.”