Symantec confirmed its managed service provider strategy today at ConnectWise's IT Nation conference in Orlando. The Symantec MSP effort includes security and storage software integrations with RMM (remote monitoring and management) software providers, and growing promotion of service provider licensing. Is the effort radically new or different? Perhaps not. But Symantec's moves are worth noting. Here's why.

In some ways, Symantec has been a sleeping giant in the managed services industry, MSPmentor has noted multiple times. Symantec Channel Chief Randy Cochran has been dropping MSP strategy hints throughout 2011. Now, the strategy is official.

Symantec's MSP partner effort starts with its service provider licensing program, which offers pay-as-you-go subscription licensing to service providers. That's important, but it's also standard operating procedure across the MSP market, where dozens of storage and security companies have long promoted service provider licensing into the MSP market.

Also of note, Symantec is integrating key solutions -- Backup Exec and Symantec Endpoint Protection -- with a range of RMM software platforms -- including Kaseya, LabTech, Level Platforms, and N-able. Those are important steps... but yet again, many security and storage companies already offer such integrations.

But here's where things get extra interesting. Symantec plans to increasingly promote its cloud platforms -- Symantec Backup Exec.cloud and Symantec Endpoint Protection.cloud -- to MSPs.

In some ways, Symantec is "new" to the MSP market, only now starting to attend events like IT Nation. But don't be fooled. Cochran and the Symantec team have been studying the MSP business model and mind set for more than a year. One prime example: Symantec has worked closely with Level Platforms, both on the technology front and on road shows, for more than a year I believe.