Continuum's buyout of CARVIR, confirmed today, further differentiates the MSP-centric technology company from traditional rivals like ConnectWise, Datto, Kaseya and SolarWinds MSP, ChannelE2E believes.
No doubt, each of those companies are pushing hard into the managed security services market. But most of the efforts involve ISV (independent software vendor) technology integrations or endpoint security technology alliances.
Those are all worthwhile efforts. But Continuum is tackling the security opportunity in a different way. Indeed, the company is leveraging its decade-long experience as a NOC (network operations center) provider to build SOC (security operations center) and related services for MSPs to leverage in the SMB (small and midsize business) sector.
Continuum Security: An MSP Differentiator?
Continuum unveiled its security strategy in November 2017 during the company's Navigate conference. The news set the stage for extensive beta testing and the recent commercial launch of various SOC and related "Profile and Protect" services. Those services allow MSPs to define, adhere to and determine how their current services are protecting their clients against common attack vectors, such as phishing and ransomware, the company says.
The CARVIR acquisition introduces new services to Continuum's catalog. They include:
- Detect & Respond – Endpoint (powered by SentinelOne) offers monitoring and analysis of endpoints to identify and remediate active security threats for SMB end-clients, the company says.
- Detect & Respond – Network & Compliance (powered by EventTracker's SIEM technology) identifies and remediates attacks within networks and endpoints, and helps SMBs meet common regulations like PCI, HIPAA and GLBA.
Continuum's Existing Rivals
Of course, Continuum's traditional rivals aren't standing still. Among the recent and potential moves to watch...
- ConnectWise: The company is building technology alliances with multiple security vendors. Watch closely for new potential milestones at next week's ConnectWise Automation Nation 2018 conference in Orlando. Among the key tools to watch: The ConnectWise Advanced Security Dashboard, which so far includes a partnership with Cisco Systems.
- Datto: The company built a network device featuring unified threat management capabilities in 2016. And Datto's business continuity services certainly play a key role in ransomware mitigation and data protection. On the flip side of the business, Datto's Autotask offerings increasingly emphasize endpoint protection. But an overarching security strategy? I suspect we may hear updates next week during DattoCon18 in Austin, Texas.
- Kaseya: The company's portfolio includes AuthAnvil with various Security as a Service capabilities. Plus, multiple security companies integrate with Kaseya's RMM and PSA offerings.
- SolarWinds MSP: The company estimates that 80 percent of small business owners are rethinking their security strategies and associated partnerships. Related research from SolarWinds suggests major security executive concerns about the evolving cyber threat landscape. VP Tim Brown is urging MSPs to embrace these 10 steps for a proactive security model. SolarWinds, naturally, also offers a range of security-related tools.
The key takeaway: All of the major companies above are pushing hard into security, helping partners to safeguard customer assets with various tools, training and technologies. But to the best of my knowledge, Continuum is the only company among the group above striving to build and own a complete SOC (security operations center) for MSPs to leverage worldwide.
Continuum: Emerging SOC Rivals and Challenges
The Continuum journey won't be easy. Many companies now offer SOCs or related services to MSPs. Among the companies to watch:
- Arctic Wolf Networks, which has extended its SOC as a service to MSPs and Splunk customers.
- ChannelSOC, which surfaced at the CompTIA ChannelCon 2017 conference in August 2017;
- CyberBit, which offers a SOC to MSSP partners like MNS Group;
- Forsite, which ConnectWise distributes to partners;
- NetEnrich, which manages cybersecurity for a range of partners; and
- Trusted Metrics offers a home-grown Elastic SOC to partners.
Still, I haven't seen a de facto market leader emerge. Why? Perhaps the answers involve variables like technology diversity within customer settings. Also, MSPs need financial models that effectively reward both the SOC vendor and the MSP -- at a price point that end-customers find appealing.
Nevertheless, Continuum CEO Michael George is upbeat. He points to the company's decade-long experience offering NOC (network operations center) services to MSPs. The learnings from that sector bode will for the company's current security journey with MSPs, he adds.