Datto Veterans Launch Zorus Cybersecurity for the IT Channel
Numerous cybersecurity startups are striving to engage MSPs (managed IT services providers). But which of those security startups actually understand an MSP’s business and technology needs?
One answer may involve Zorus, which has an executive team who have worked in and around the MSP market for roughly a decade. Indeed, CEO and Founder Greg Gage previous was director of research and development at Datto, the MSP-obsessed provider of data protection, business management and IT automation solutions. Also, Zorus Chief Operating Officer Najaf (‘Naj’) Raza previously was VP of international operations at Datto. And Datto founder Austin McChord is on the Zorus board.
Poke around the Zorus website, and you’ll see that the company is helping MSP partners to monitor, filter and secure web traffic for remote workers and office workers alike.
But what inspired the company’s launch — and how is Zorus evolving amid the current Work From Home (WFH) stampede that MSPs must navigate, manage, and monetize?
Zorus CEO Greg Gage answers those questions and more in this ChannelE2E interview.
ChannelE2E: Zorus is focused on security delivered through MSPs. But the security market is quite crowded. What makes the company unique?
Gage: We’ve decided to go down the path of filtering people’s internet using an endpoint level proxy rather than the traditional DNS filters you see out there in common use. The upside of this is granularity and control: Where a DNS filter may block an entire domain because one part of it has a potential security risk, we can isolate those risks and only block those that are truly threats. A good example of this is WordPress where you have many blogs – some are safe and should be allowed through, while others may be used as a platform for spreading malware or ransomware infected software. This applies to phishing sites hosted on public platforms as well. You don’t want to block the entire domain, just the threats.
On top of this we’ve layered in a comprehensive content filtering suite that allows you to block other content besides security threats, and given the user complete control over what they want to block or allow through.
Our goal is to improve the quality of web filtering by using technology appropriate to the times we live in. DNS filtering simply does not provide adequate filtering in most cases as the vendors must make very broad decisions on what should or shouldn’t be blocked based only on the base domain e.g. ‘google.com’, which is all the data they have to work with.
ChannelE2E: Some of your team members are Datto veterans. Did the business journey at Datto influence how you’re building Zorus?
Gage: Datto was a great experience for me personally. I learned a lot about the IT channel and the loyalty that exists there. It really is a unique market in that sense. Some of our early customers stuck through the bugs we had early on and gave us continuous feedback that truly has shaped the product we have today. We like to think that our customers are deciding what we build next, and that continuous feedback loop has been amazing in providing clear direction for our roadmap.
ChannelE2E: How have you evolved the platform so far in 2020?
Gage: This year so far has been a rollercoaster for us, not only because of current world events but just the amount of new customers we’ve brought into the platform has really made us rethink a lot of different aspects of the product. We had some people who ran into internet speed issues with our product and we worked overtime for months fixing it – we hadn’t had those complaints prior so it really shows what having many new customers can bring to the surface. Having fixed that issue we’ve seen a major uptick in interest and adoption, especially given our product’s ability to work anywhere in the world, not just inside the office perimeter.
ChannelE2E: Has the Work From Home (WFH) trend inspired Zorus to adjust its R&D or business focus?
Gage: Thankfully one of the core principles behind the development of Archon from the beginning was to address the aspects of DNS filtering that we felt were behind the times. As such, Archon is already a perfect fit for people working from home. We’ve had a tremendous increase in deployments to home users since the beginning of this ordeal.
ChannelE2E: What are your core business priorities for the rest of 2020?
Gage: This year we’re planning to launch an add-on product to Archon we’re calling Triton. Triton is an employee productivity monitoring solution that is respectful of people’s privacy. Many such solutions on the market right now take screenshots or videos of the screen which is really a huge privacy violation. Given that our product is installed on so many personal home machines now it would really be wrong, in our eyes, to invade privacy to that degree. Triton focuses on telling our partners and their customers what their employees are doing on the internet and on their machines in general with a simple timeline view and comprehensive reporting.
The initial release will monitor web productivity down to a 5 second margin of error, telling you precisely what website they’re looking at and are actively engaging with. We’ve got it to the point where it’s extremely accurate. The reports show you the categories of the sites they were using and how long they spent in those categories, so you can see if someone spent all day on social media while on the clock. The next phase will add application productivity monitoring which will let you see the windows on the machine they switch between in real time. That data will be interlaced with the web productivity data providing a complete timeline of a user’s activity throughout the day. The best part is we keep up to 6 months of log data for you so you can go back and audit what someone was doing when the question of an employee’s productivity presents itself.
Disclosures: ChannelE2E Content Czar Joe Panettieri is also an angel investor. Panettieri is not currently an investor in Zorus. His angel investments are disclosed on LinkedIn.