ConnectWise IT Nation Explore 2019: Complete MSP Conference News
ConnectWise IT Nation Explore 2019 kicked off June 13 in Orlando, Florida. This is a “technical” event for MSPs (managed IT service providers) that run ConnectWise’s business management, automation and cybersecurity software.
IT Nation Explore 2019 arrives at a key time for the software provider and MSP community builder. Thoma Bravo acquired ConnectWise in February 2019 — the latest evidence that private equity is eating the MSP and MSSP software markets. As part of the buyout, ConnectWise veteran Jason Magee succeeded co-founder Arnie Bellini as CEO.
Fast forward to present day and the IT Nation Explore 2019 conference. What should attendees and the broader MSP ecosystem expect? Here’s live coverage from the conference…
1. New CEO, Familiar Face, Strategic Plan: Magee has been CEO for about four months now, but in many ways he’s not ‘new’ to the job. Nor is he new to the IT Nation partner ecosystem. Magee was running ConnectWise’s day-to-day operations ahead of the Thoma Bravo deal. He also managed key deals — such as the Sienna Group acquisition for managed security services. Thoma Bravo signed off on ConnectWise’s 2019 and long-term strategic plan before buying the company, so partners should generally expect the same IT Nation-type DNA at the company.
2. ConnectWise Technology Roadmap: That will surface Friday morning, June 14. ChannelE2E is scheduled to meet with Chief Product Officer Jeff Bishop and Chief Customer Officer Craig Fulton that day. I’m particularly curious to see if or how Bishop and will address cybersecurity during the conversation.
The FBI and the Department of Homeland Security have specifically warned MSPs and their software providers that hackers are specifically targeting the industry with island hopper attacks. Does that reality mean ConnectWise and the broader MSP software industry have to adjust their software R&D, DevOps and other best practices? We’ll be asking.
3. ConnectWise Cybersecurity Strategy: We’ll also grab some time with ConnectWise Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) John Ford, the former owner of Sienna Group. During a call earlier this week, Ford touched on the company’s learnings from two recent security issues — including a brief ransomware attack in Europe that ConnectWise ultimately contained.
Looking forward, MSPs should keep a close eye on ConnectWise Identify, a risk posture assessment tool that partners can leverage within their own businesses and in customer settings. The tool is an ideal way for partners to extend Quarterly Business Review (QBR) conversations with customers from traditional performance metrics to risk metrics, and potential cybersecurity solutions.
4. ConnectWise-Cisco Relationship: The two companies quietly began working together more than two years ago. The first formal, public announcement surfaced around November 2017. Fast forward to present day, and Cisco continues to expand its portfolio of “as a service” integrations with ConnectWise. Marc Inderhees, Cisco’s go-to-market managed services lead in the Global Partner Organization, explains the company’s overall MSP-SMB strategy here. We’ll be listening for potential updates at the conference.
5. Funded for Growth?: The exhibitor list includes numerous companies that recently received funding and/or participated in M&A deals. We’ll be seeking progress reports on those deals and more.
- Auvik Networks, which provides network-centric RMM for MSPs, raised US$15.58 million in May 2018 then acquired Talaia for network traffic analytics in October 2018. The company is ramping up for its own partner summit — Frankly MSP Live — in January 2020.
- Barracuda Networks went private in 2017 and has the same owner as… ConnectWise. More recently, Barracuda acquired Managed Workplace, a niche RMM software platform that competes with ConnectWise Automate. It’s a safe bet the company will focus mainly on security and data protection during this gathering.
- Liongard, which develops automated system discovery and documentation software for MSPs, recently raised $4.5 million in Series A funding. CEO Joe Alapat explains the overall MSP partner strategy here. ConnectWise veterans Adam Slutskin and Mark Sokol have also joined the team.
- Passportal, the password management and documentation software provider, was recently acquired by SolarWinds MSP. We’ll seek an update from Passportal leader Colin Knox.
- Perch Security, which offers a SOC and co-managed threat detection and response, has raised $9 million from ConnectWise and Fishtech Group in October 2018. We’ll be watching for more synergies with ConnectWise.
- Sophos recently acquired Rook Security, a Top 20 Managed Detection and Response company. In many ways, Sophos is emerging as a Master MSSP that MSPs can leverage for a range of services.
- Veeam, the data protection provider, recently raised $500 million from Kaseya parent Insight Venture Partners. The company is growing fast, but faces new competition from cloud data protection companies Cohesity, Druva and Rubrik. Plus, keep an eye on StorageCraft. The company’s latest offering is MSP-centric. We’ll share more details on that soon.
- Webroot, the cybersecurity specialist, was recently acquired by Carbonite. The Carbonite team has a “do no harm” approach to Webroot’s MSP-centric partner program. But we’ll be watching for storage, data protection and endpoint protection synergies to emerge.
- Whom did we miss? Email me: Joe@AfterNines.com.
6. App Store – ConnectWise Marketplace: The company on June 24 will activate a new version of the ConnectWise Marketplace — essentially an application and services store for MSPs. The upgraded store will feature new transactional capabilities that simplify the purchase and billing process for partners, ConnectWise says. The Marketplace will also support for both license and usage-based purchasing and billing. Current ConnectWise partners will be able to make purchases via the Marketplace and this functionality is expected to be available to non-partners in mid-2019. Initial third-party options include Webroot and Bitdefender.
7. ConnectWise Marketplace vs Pax8?: In some ways, it sounds like ConnectWise Marketplace and cloud distributor Pax8 are on a collision course with each other, ChannelE2E believes… We may explore that a bit more fully in the days ahead…
8. ConnectWise Dashboard: The company also unveiled the ConnectWise Now — which provides partners a single location from which to manage such business areas as sales, marketing, service and finance.
9. Single Sign-On (SSO): ConnectWise has activated single sign on for its entire product suite, enabling partners to manage user access to all applications from a single location, the company says.
11. Hosted Telecom: SkySwitch, provider of a white label platform for hosted telecom resellers, now integrates with ConnectWise Manage.
10. More ConnectWise IT Nation Explore 2019 News: Got info to share? Attending the conference and want to potentially meet? Let me know. We’ll update this blog multiple times daily through Saturday, June 15. Email me: Joe@AfterNines.com.
Original story posted June 12, 2019. Updated June 13-14, 2019 with additional news developments.