After several months of rumors, Kaseya and Symantec are preparing to announce deeper software integrations. The emerging relationship could help MSPs (managed services providers) to remotely manage Symantec Backup Exec -- whether the storage software runs on-premise or perhaps even in the cloud. Here's the update.

Symantec has been studying the managed services market for several months. The company participated in a major Level Platforms road show earlier this year, and Symantec has also announced integrations with Level Platforms. By May 2011, speculation at the Kaseya Connect User Conference suggested that Kaseya and Symantec were discussing an integration relationship.

The New Deal

Fast forward to the present. In a blog post, Symantec's North American Channel Chief, Randy Cochran, confirms that a Symantec-Kaseya relationship is coming. Cochran wrote:
"Through our partnership with Kaseya, Symantec MSPs will benefit from delivering Backup Exec as a remote service thereby reducing costs associated with site visits to customers. This technology also offers greater visibility into users’ backup environments. Now, our MSPs will be able to monitor their users in real time to make sure backups are successful and user data is available in the event of a disaster. These benefits ensure our partners can deliver predictable profitability."
Don't forget: Symantec also is preparing a cloud edition of Backup Exec, so I suspect the Kaseya-Symantec relationship could eventually extend to cloud storage services (though that's speculation on my part).

Signs of Progress

I concede: I used to criticize Symantec for overlooking the managed services market. And I worried that Symantec -- an on-premise storage and security giant -- would somehow miss the opportunity to help VARs and MSPs with recurring storage and recurring security revenue opportunities. Moreover, I criticized Symantec for scheduling its 2009 and 2010 partner conferences heads-up against ConnectWise IT Nation, the largest MSP-related event of the year.

Now, Symantec's relationships with Level Platforms and Kaseya are clear signs of progress -- though Symantec is playing catch-up in some ways. A lengthy list of cloud storage, on-premise storage, and security software providers already integrate with Level Platforms, Kaseya and other remote management tools.

So, where might Symantec be heading next with MSPs? Here's one potential destination: This October, Symantec and N-able Technologies are hosting partner conferences the same week in Phoenix/Scottsdale, Ariz. It could be an ideal time for Symantec to raise its visibility even more in the managed services market...