Content, Channel markets, Channel partners, MSP, Small business

Continuum Security Operations Center: Will MSPs Embrace SOC?

New VeriShip CEO Michael George
Continuum CEO Michael George

Continuum is expected to preview or officially launch a security operations center (SOC) for MSPs on Tuesday during the company's Navigate 2017 conference in Las Vegas. The move could be a defining moment for Continuum and its MSP partner base. Many of those partners are seeking a more effective way to deliver managed security services to SMB customers -- especially amid cyber talent shortages and surging attacks involving malware and ransomware.

Continuum CEO Michael George at the 2016 conference hinted a SOC was under development. By the time the company was acquired by Thoma Bravo in June 2017, Continuum was beta testing the SOC.

Fast forward to this week's conference, and deeper details or a full-blown launch could be on tap. Famed hacker Kevin Mitnick delivered Monday evening's keynote. Michael George stepped onto stage with Mitnick to discuss the SMB cyber opportunity for MSPs. And George's keynote on Tuesday morning will focus on effective cyber warfare. No doubt, we'll get some SOC news at some point during that keynote.

Continuum's Security Operations Center: 5 Questions MSPs Need Answered

Among the key questions Continuum must answer:

1. What's The Business & Financial Model?: Continuum already offers outsourced NOC (network operations center), help desk, RMM (remote monitoring and management) and BDR (backup and disaster recovery) to MSPs. On paper, a SOC service sounds like a natural extension to Continuum's existing portfolio. But the company will need to ensure the financial model is a fit for end-customers, MSPs and Continuum itself.

2. What's the Underlying Technology?: Continuum already has close working relationships with Cisco Umbrella and Webroot, among others. Which third-party technologies are embedded in the SOC? I don't know but we'll be checking to see how the SOC handles SIEM (Security Information and Event Management), endpoint, network and cloud security.

3. Who Owns the Risk?: In the event of a breach, who's liable -- the end customer, the MSP or Continuum? How exactly are those relationships, dependencies and risks stated in the SLA (service level agreement)?

4. What's the Rollout?: Continuum has a growing presence in English-speaking countries across North America, Europe and Australia. How soon will the SOC be available in each region, how is 24x7 addressed, and where is the SOC heading next?

5. Who's the Competition?: Traditional Continuum rivals -- names like Autotask, ConnectWise, Kaseya and SolarWinds MSP -- aren't in the SOC market. Nor do I think those rivals will build out their own SOC. Instead, Continuum will potentially run into some of the Top 100 MSSPs, a portion of which offer SOC services and MSP partner programs.

Another Example SOC for MSPs

Potential rivals include names like Arctic Wolf Networks, which offers SOC as a service to MSPs.

The service, called AWN CyberSOC, includes security engineer support; incident response and compliance support; and fixed monthly pricing, the company says. That fixed price includes the following services:

  • Managed detection and response (MDR)
  • SIEM replacement
  • Regulatory compliance support
  • Behavioral analytics
  • 24×7 Real time alerting
  • Unlimited log analysis with machine learning
  • Regular vulnerability scans

How will Continuum stack up against that? No doubt, the company will emphasize its overall platform approach -- NOC, SOC, help desk, RMM, BDR -- for MSPs.

We'll share details when we hear them on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.