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News & Articles

October 4, 2017 |

Continuum CEO: Our Year Ahead Is All About Security

In a conversation with ChannelPro this week at its Navigate partner event in Las Vegas, Michael George (pictured) explained why Continuum is betting big that it has a crucial competitive edge in one of IT’s hottest markets.

Security is no short-term preoccupation for Continuum.

Indeed, Continuum Security, the new solution that the Boston-based managed services vendor introduced this week at its Navigate partner conference in Las Vegas, is more than just another product rollout. According to CEO Michael George, it’s the first step in a long-term strategic initiative to capitalize on swiftly escalating demand for protection from ransomware, business email compromise scams, and other threats—and it will be Continuum’s number one priority for some time to come.

“Over the course of the next year you’re going to see us stay very, very focused in and around security,” he told ChannelPro yesterday.

Continuum has 86.4 billion good reasons to devote that kind of attention to security, one for each dollar that analyst firm Gartner expects businesses worldwide to invest in security products and services this year. That’s up seven percent from last year and a down payment on the even greater $93 billion Gartner expects companies to spend in 2018.

And if numbers like those don’t get your attention, George has another reason channel pros should be as interested in security as he is: Though it typically takes a “compelling event” to cause an SMB to switch managed service providers, successful security attacks are poised to create millions of compelling events in the years ahead.

“Lots of people are going to get breached, they’re going to get hacked, they’re going to have ransomware,” George says, “and they’re going to look at their current provider and say ‘you failed me and I’m going to switch.'”

MSPs ready to pounce at that moment will have a golden opportunity to grab new clients. MSPs caught napping, on the other hand, are all too likely to find themselves bleeding revenue.

“Make no mistake about it, your clients believe you are responsible for securing them today,” George says. “If you don’t get in this business, someone’s going to get your customers.”

They’ll be making money at your expense for a long while too. Security, George observes, isn’t a one-time revenue source.

“This is not a set-it-and-forget-it kind of problem,” he says. “For each problem we solve, somebody figures out how to create another.” For channel pros, that makes security the gift that keeps on giving.

“This will be the truest annuity business you could ever imagine being in,” George says.

What’s more, he continues, first movers in security will have a crucial advantage over their peers. At a time when basic endpoint management and BDR services have both become commoditized, specialized security expertise remains a potent competitive differentiator and effective SMB relationship opener.

“It’s going to be the sharp edge of the selling sword,” predicts George.

Continuum believes it has a competitive edge of its own when it comes to security: Good help in that field is hard to find.

In fact, over 25 percent of companies spend more than six months filling open cybersecurity positions, according to research from ISACA, a security-focused membership organization. The same percentage of respondents to ISACA’s survey complain that the people who respond to their cybersecurity want ads often lack necessary technical skills.

Enter Continuum, says chief revenue officer Bob Kocis. Just as the company helps MSPs address the endpoint management skills gap via outsourced network operations centers, so too will it help channel pros close the even wider security skills gap via brand new 24/7 security operations centers in Pune and Mumbai, India.

“Our whole model is built on the idea that it’s not easy to hire skilled IT help,” Kocis says. “In security it’s 10 times harder.” Partnering with Continuum liberates MSPs from the rigors and expense of tacking that challenge alone.

Channel pros now kicking the tires on Continuum Security see merit in that value proposition.

“As a growing business, we don’t have the capital to afford a security professional in house,” observes Allan Jocson, owner of Agilitec IT LLC, a managed service provider and Continuum partner in Las Vegas. “There’s huge competition there.”

Of course, Continuum isn’t the only vendor that sees gold at the intersection of managed services and security. Avast Business recently rolled out a new product suite and associated partner program based on the same basic conviction that leadership in security will equal leadership in managed services software going forward.

George is betting big that Continuum’s SOCs give it an advantage in security that no other managed services vendor can match. Perhaps appropriately, he chose Las Vegas to place that bet in the most public of ways.

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