ConnectWise has announced plans to add cloud protection and vulnerability scanning capabilities to its Fortify line of security solutions for MSPs.
The new offerings were introduced in conjunction with the vendor’s IT Nation Explore conference, which is taking place online this week. ConnectWise announced a vendor-neutral cybersecurity framework and security-focused partner community at the show today as well.
The cloud security solution, named ConnectWise Fortify for SaaS Security and slated to ship in July, provides event reporting for Outlook, SharePoint, OneDrive, and other applications in the Microsoft 365 cloud productivity suite, as well as outsourced SOC services and advice on breach remediation. It expands upon more limited functionality previously available in Fortify’s endpoint protection product, according to Brian Downey, vice president of security products for ConnectWise.
“This really takes and brings us to the next level where we’re looking at a much more comprehensive set of information coming from the Microsoft suite,” he says.
Though not the first solution of its kind on the market, Fortify for SaaS Security aims to meet what ConnectWise sees as an unmet need for channel pro-friendly cloud security software. “There’s not a lot right now that’s really meant for the MSP and the SMB,” Downey says, noting that existing products are typically too expensive for the average managed service provider, and too complicated as well.
“The level of management overhead they have is just too significant,” he says.
Fortify for SaaS Security, by contrast, is designed to be sophisticated enough to attract MSPs with advanced security skills but simple enough for newcomers to cybersecurity to use as well. “We’ve really taken out the requirements that the MSP has detailed security expertise by leveraging our SOC,” Downey says.
Though the new system focuses exclusively on Microsoft 365 at present, ConnectWise plans to expand it to cover additional cloud services in the future. “We want to make sure that we support all the key SaaS solutions out there that MSPs are leveraging,” Downey says. No decisions have been made yet on which additional applications the product will ultimately support, he continues, but Google G Suite and Salesforce are both likely candidates.
“We’re going to do it based on demand that’s out there in the market,” Downey explains.
Without specifying numbers, Downey suggested that the new product’s subscription pricing would be similar to what the vendor charges for other products in the Fortify portfolio.
Fortify for SaaS Security draws on Microsoft 365 monitoring functionality from Perch Security, a threat detection and response vendor that ConnectWise has made investments in previously. The two companies collaborated on a risk assessment product called ConnectWise Identify that debuted last March.
The vulnerability scanning functionality ConnectWise introduced today will be included a new advanced edition of the vendor’s Fortify for Assessment solution set to reach market in the third quarter of the year. Though the original Fortify for Assessment (which shipped under a different name last February) has been popular with partners, Downey says, its inability to supply data on weaknesses in end user defenses has forced users to collect that information through third-party tools and then paste it into the Fortify solution’s reports manually.
Unlike many vulnerability scanners, Downey adds, the new ConnectWise tool presents results in a digestible format that MSPs can take straight to their clients. “For anyone that’s ever run a vulnerability scan, it gives you an enormous amount of information,” Downey observes. “We’ve taken that information and put it into a really easy to consume format that a lawyer or a dentist or a restaurant owner is going to be able to understand.”
Prices on the advanced version of Fortify for Assessment, which have yet to determined, will be similar to what subscribers pay for the standard edition. “Our objective is not to create an enormous price gap between the two solutions,” Downey says, adding that ConnectWise will provide the new product at no additional charge to all current Fortify for Assessment users through the end of their present contract.
Partners who use the original Fortify for Assessment during the security sales process collect significantly more revenue, according to Downey. “We’ve actually seen them grow their advanced security tool deployments by 352% in the first nine months,” he says.
The Fortify product family was originally developed by Continuum, a provider of software and services for MSPs acquired by ConnectWise last October. In addition to the assessment tool, it also includes solutions for endpoint and network security, as well as outsourced SOC services. ConnectWise announced today that it has changed the offering’s name from Continuum Fortify to ConnectWise Fortify.
Continuum’s Command RMM product, Recover BDR system, and Assist help desk service all have received new ConnectWise names now as well.
Much of the news from IT Nation Explore this year concerns security. According to Downey, that’s partly an accident of timing and partly a reflection of the enormous and still growing opportunity in security for MSPs.
“One of the biggest transformational things happening right now in the MSP market is security,” he says “It’s a place where MSPs are starting to differentiate themselves from one another, and we’re starting to see it as one of the new revenue streams and businesses that MSPs can grow into.”
The switch to remote work due to the coronavirus pandemic has only amplified that trend, Downey continues. “If you’re working on the same system that your teenage kids are working on, there’s a higher likelihood that has malware on it [or] that it has a key logger that’s recording your user names and passwords.”
ConnectWise accelerated development of Fortify for SaaS Security in response to increased use of cloud solutions by SMBs and increased demand for the entire Fortify product suite.