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June 21, 2018 |

ConnectWise Has Versions of its Unite Solution for Security and BDR in Development

The newest addition to the ConnectWise product family, which currently provides centralized control over cloud computing solutions, will soon perform similar functions for backup and security solutions from ConnectWise’s vendor partners.

ConnectWise plans to augment its Unite cloud management solution with new editions for security and BDR.

“We’re working on it in research and development right now,” says Arnie Bellini, the Tampa, Fla.-based software maker’s CEO. Bellini spoke with ChannelPro at ConnectWise’s 2018 Automation Nation event, which took place this week in Orlando.

Introduced last November and officially launched in April, Unite is designed to serve as a centralized interface for provisioning and managing solutions from third-party vendors. The current version, which focuses on cloud computing, supports solutions from Amazon Web Services, Microsoft, and Cisco. Future versions will provide similarly consolidated control over systems from leading makers of security and backup software.

ConnectWise plans to have at least three of its closest backup partners integrated with the BDR edition of Unite before its IT Nation partner conference, which takes place in November.

Ultimately, the company hopes to see all of the solutions in its software ecosystem listed in one version or another of Unite. The 26 systems ConnectWise currently resells directly to MSPs will be the starting point for that effort, which aspires to make sourcing, deploying, and invoicing customers for services from multiple suppliers in a variety of product categories simple.

“We have a lot of people that integrate to our platform and we want to make it so that the experience is frictionless,” Bellini says. “One click buy, one click provision, one click implement, one click monitor, one click manage, one click bill.”

According to numerous vendors exhibiting at Automation Nation, ConnectWise has yet to provide specifics on how to connect their products with Unite or when that process will commence.

“The guidance we’re being given is later this year,” says Mike Vogel, partner account manager at BDR vendor Acronis International GmbH, adding that the company is eager to get started. “We’re looking forward to it,” he says.

Security vendor AlienVault Inc. is still thinking through its plans for participating in the Unite initiative, but expects to make at least some of its offerings available there eventually.

“We’re trying to decide where would we fit inside Unite,” says Mike LaPeters, the San Mateo, Calif.-based company’s vice president of global channel sales. “At some point we’ll have a really nice integration story with Unite. Just not sure where it’s at yet.”

Unite exemplifies the product and platform strategy ConnectWise outlined at this week’s conference, which emphasizes automation and integration with an array of third-party offerings that MSPs can use in any combination they choose. According to Bellini, citing BDR as an example, channel pros need the ability to administer systems from a range of providers in one place.

“I’ve talked to hundreds of partners,” he says. “None of them have just one backup and disaster recovery solution in their portfolio.”

The security version of Unite addresses what Bellini describes as one of the most pressing challenges MSPs face today.

“There are a lot of managed service providers that are starting to be engaged in lawsuits because they’re not providing security,” he says. “It’s an implicit liability that you have if you’re doing managed services that I think a lot of them don’t know that they have.”

ConnectWise’s longer term objective is to turn Unite into a platform not just for managing security solutions but for orchestrating them as well, so that systems from different vendors can work together to identify and address threats collaboratively and automatically.

As reported by ChannelPro in April, security vendor Sophos Ltd. is pursuing a similar vision through an initiative code-called Project Darwin that seeks to help companies assemble comprehensive, coordinated security environments combining Sophos products with third-party offerings.

Though it’s the latest addition to the ConnectWise product family and plays a critical role in the company’s future plans, Unite barely figured in Chief Product Officer Craig Fulton’s keynote address to Automation Nation attendees on Tuesday. That, he says, is no coincidence. Emphasizing products like the ConnectWise Automate RMM platform and ConnectWise Manage PSA system instead was intended to reassure partners that all the talk about Unite in recent months doesn’t mean ConnectWise is neglecting its older solutions.

“We have not lost focus on those core products,” Fulton says. Indeed, he continues, ConnectWise is hiring more people to enhance them.

“We’re growing that team, because we want to continue to deliver the best-in-class platform,” Fulton states.


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