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CA Preps Launch Of Protection Suites

Five different anti-virus, anti-spyware, and system restoration software bundles called Protection Suites are set to arrive from Computer Associates International in July.
Five different anti-virus, anti-spyware and system restoration software bundles called Protection Suites are set to arrive from Computer Associates International in July, said David Luft, senior vice president of SMB product development, Islandia, N.Y.

Targeted at seat counts of 250 and below, CA's Protection Suites will combine CA's eTrust Antivirus, PestPatrol Anti-Spyware and BrightStor ARCServe Backup products, said Luft. A CA Desktop Protection Suite for PCs and laptops, a CA Server Protection Suite, a CA Business Protection Suite for both server and desktops, and Business Protection Suites for Microsoft Small Business Server Standard Edition and Premium Edition make up the five offerings, he said.

"What small businesses want is something easy to install," said Luft, adding that the Protection Suites would also reduce the number of products SMBs will need to evaluate.

CA's Protection Suites will not be integrated, single console offerings that install all at once until an upgrade takes place this fall, said Luft. Then, in about the September timeframe, the suites will offer "a single install, and a single dashboard," said Luft.

CA will sell its Protection Suites almost exclusively through its Web site, employing a "trusted agent model" for the channel, said George Kafkarkou, senior vice president of SMB and Consumer Channels. This means resellers will send customers to CA's Web site, armed with a promotional code that the reseller gets from CA, explained Kafkarkou. When the customer purchases a suite using that promotional code, the reseller receives "cash back" for the referral, said Kafkarkou, who did not disclose the referral fee's size. CA will email promotional codes to CA channel partners before the July launch of the Protection Suites, he said.

Alan Weinberger, chairman and CEO of The ASCII Group, a distributor and CA partner in Bethesda, Md., said he welcomes the new suites and likes the trusted agent model because it puts the onus of credit, collections and returns on CA, not the reseller.

In contrast Rob Killen, owner of CA reseller, Diversified Technologies, Cape Code, Mass., was less comfortable with the idea of sending customers to the CA Web site. "I'd probably lose some business," said Killen, who explained that his value derives from directly serving his customers.

Starting prices for the Protection Suites range between $325 and $1,099 for a five seat licenses, according to CA.

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