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Passportal: MSP Password, Documentation Services Grow

Warranty Master CEO Dan Wensley
Passportal President Dan Wensley
Colin Knox, head of community engagement, SolarWinds MSP

Passportal, which develops the Ocular password management platform for MSPs, continues to experience strong growth -- especially as the company branches out with new products and services across security as a service, self-service password resets and documentation.

The diversification effort surfaced in early 2017, when Passportal launched a secure MSP documentation platform. Fast forward to present day, and partner adoption of the company's MSP offerings continues to accelerate, according to  CEO Colin Knox and President Dan Wensley.

"Things are going very well for Passportal," Knox says. "We maintained another year of triple-digit growth . In late 2017, we built out a new office. It's more than double the size of our previous place, which was needed for additional staff and planned staff additions this year."

Wensley, meanwhile, points to platform momentum. Since the launch of Docs 2.0 (for documentation) and Blink (for self-service password resets), the company says:

  • 25 percent of Passportal partners now use the Docs module;
  • 30 percent have added the Blink self-service password reset app; and
  • 58 percent of new partners are adding Docs and or Blink at time of partnership.

Passportal now has more than 1,000 MSP partners, according to the company's  website. Revenues are undisclosed since the company is privately held. But it sounds like more growth initiatives will surface this year. With that goal in mind, Passportal attracted funding in mid-2017 from Accelerate Fund II, an early-stage angel co-investment fund in Alberta, Canada. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Security Focus, Emerging Rivalry

In describing the company, Wensley points to security as the core foundation from which additional services are built. "As you know we are a security solution first and foremost," Wensley says. "The Ocular Platform delivers documentation management as an integrated part of a password security and technician access control solution that differentiates us from other solutions. Further, with Blink Partners can deliver a more secure self-service and automated password reset solution as a service."

Chris Day, co-founder, ScalePad

In some ways, Passportal competes with IT Glue -- which started in the MSP documentation world and then extended into password vaulting. Though privately held, IT Glue pulled back the curtain a bit on its financials in late 2017, saying that annual recurring revenues had pushed beyond $25 million. Last I heard, the company had about 4,000 MSP partners.

Most recently, IT Glue launched MyGlue — which allows MSPs to build a new recurring revenue stream by bringing the power of documentation and password vaulting downstream to their clients, CEO Chris Day told ChannelE2E last month.

Passportal R&D Milestones

Still, Passportal is quick to assert its R&D milestones as well. "Passportal was the first solution that delivered a mobile app (Blink) that MSPs could deliver to their clients as a net new security service solution," Wensley says. "This may be the best kept secret in the Channel. A net new service that not only is delivered as an app but delivers increased security, reduced down time for users, and also eliminates password reset tickets for MSPs which lowers their service delivery costs while delivering a better solution to users."

In recent months, both IT Glue and Passportal have sent me extensive feature and function lists about their respective products. I appreciate those updates, and I do read them closely. But I've gotta concede: I'm not hands-on with tool testing, so I'll defer to MSPs to sort out the respective software capabilities on their own.  

In terms of Passportal's view of the world, Wensley recommends MSPs embrace password management and documentation using this approach:

  1. Start with securing your client credentials (passwords), protecting them while benefiting from improved operational efficiency.
  2. Add documentation management as an integrated solution to further enhance scalability and consistency in service.
  3. Deliver automated password reset service that delivers security and reduces costs.

Required MSP Services

Much in the way that PSA (professional services automation) and RMM (remote monitoring and management) allows MSPs to automate their SMB customer engagements, Wensley now sees security and documentation as core MSP building blocks for next-generation operational efficiency.

"As you and I saw firsthand over the last decade, technology innovations such as RMM and PSA changed the way IT service companies operated internally, and resulted in the delivery of a better service to the SMB market," Wensley assets. "Passportal and IT Glue are, in my opinion, the new foundational solutions that will advance the channel yet again, delivering the next step in MSP operational efficiency and expanded value to customers."

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.