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November 6, 2023 |

How ChannelPro Defend Set a New Standard for Cybersecurity Events

ChannelPro hosted a capacity crowd in the Los Angeles area for its new, two-day Defend cybersecurity conference.

ChannelPro events have followed roughly the same format for more than a decade: an action-packed, one-day forum covering a wide range of channel topics. When something is extremely effective, small refinements are all you need.

But cybersecurity is such a complex topic that it demands a bigger stage.

Cybersecurity-focused breakout session

Cybersecurity-focused breakout session

The cost of cybercrime is projected to be $8 trillion in 2023 and may exceed $10.5 trillion by 2025, according to the security training firm KnowBe4. That represents both massive threats and financial opportunities that must be understood to be capitalized on.

To help meet the need, ChannelPro Defend launched as a two-day, security-focused conference. The event was Nov. 1-2 at the Pacific Palms Resort in the City of Industry, Calif. Unlike prior forums, Defend featured breakout sessions, enhanced interactivity, and more in-depth sessions with leading vendors.

A Unique Experience

Following the opening remarks and an insightful panel discussion, attendees were treated to a demonstration of real cyberattack techniques by ethical hacker Tyler Wrightson, founder of Leet Cyber Security.

Wrightson ran through steps that virtually anyone (even non-technical people) could follow to identify vulnerable corporate assets and employee information.

Following the demo, Defend’s subject matter experts led breakout sessions on hot topics related to cybersecurity, including the legal side of security, ways to manage risk, how to enable passwordless entry, and best practices for organizing tabletop exercises.

Tyler WrightsonLeet Cyber Security

Tyler Wrightson Leet Cyber Security

World-class vendors showcased their products and partner programs in multiple ways throughout the event. Diamond sponsors Kaseya and HaloPSA demonstrated key features and benefits of their platforms and answered audience questions as well.

More than 40 vendors participated in total, with multiple touchpoints throughout the event.

“As far as the event goes, this year is amazing,” said Ryan Bollinger, Acronis brand sales specialist with Climb Channel Solutions. “So many smiling faces, everyone’s been super helpful and everyone’s happy to talk to you. I’ve never seen that at an event.”

After visiting several vendors at the tradeshow-style show floor, Justin Sowa spoke with the ChannelPro editorial team. He is a network engineer and security administrator for Procraft Media, a well-known technology consultant based out of San Clemente, Calif.

“I enjoy going to these kinds of events,” Sowa said. “ChannelPro is one of my favorites to go to and learn about the new products and get insights into the industry.”

Although cybersecurity was the focus, when IT professionals gather there are always unexpectedly positive results.

The event was a major success for Diana Waters, co-founder of Redondo Beach, Calif.-headquartered qdCloud Inc. Waters registered for Defend, in part, to find vendors that can support her new MSP, which is launching in 2024.

“Not only is there a tremendous feeling of collegiality and problem solving here, but I now have solved two of our major business issues: First, how to handle accounting. We’re outsourcing it to a company we met here.

“Also, what we are going to do about legal agreements that are specific to being an MSP. Ordinary business attorneys don’t understand that business. Thanks to Defend, I have a solution for that, a partner I met yesterday. So now, I’m over the moon,” Waters said with a huge smile on her face.​

Keynote Speaker Mario Garcia CISA

Keynote Speaker Mario Garcia CISA

The educational content on Day 2 culminated in a comprehensive presentation by Mario Garcia, supervisory cybersecurity advisor for CISA, the federal Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

Garcia discussed the role of CISA in protecting businesses, current threats to MSPs and the IT industry at large, and best practices to minimize the impact of ransomware. He also fielded insightful audience questions after his presentation.

Each night was punctuated with a cocktail party and a busy tradeshow-style vendor floor.

Well-Received Panel Discussions Included:

MSPs in the Crosshairs – Security experts Jennifer Bleam and Mike Semel discussed why managed services providers are prime targets for cybercriminals seeking a big payday. They also shared strategies that MSPs can employ to improve documentation and decrease their overall vulnerability.

Cloud Security: Challenges & Best Practices – Cloud technology consultants Corey Kirkendoll and Dawn Sizer focused on how MSPs can develop security plans to harden Microsoft cloud environments. They spoke about the importance of ongoing configuration management, robust conditional access policies, and multi-factor authentication. They also shared horror stories of cloud implementations gone wrong.

​Rapid Response & Remediation – Ransomware recovery, compliance, and security training leaders Oli Thordarson and Jayson Ferron spoke about the impact of downtime on businesses. They explored the vital role MSPs play in proactive cybersecurity planning, tabletop exercises, and coordinating a response during and after an attack.

Attendees Awarded Defend Sponsors the Following:

Defend Halloween Spirit Contest Winners

Defend Halloween Spirit Contest Winners

  • Best Add On Product – TimeZest
  • Best Cloud Solution  – US Signal
  • Best Distributor – TD Synnex
  • Best Expo Hall Presentation (Silver Level) – TruGrid
  • Best Expo Hall Presentation (Premium Level) – CyberQP
  • Best Hardware Solutions – Carbon Systems
  • Best New Solution – Pia
  • Best On-Stage Presentation – CyberQP
  • Best Partner Community – Pax8
  • Best Product/ Tech Support – ThreatLocker
  • Best Revenue Booster – Kaseya (IT Complete)
  • Best Security Solution – Solutions Granted
  • Best Software Solution – Huntress
  • Best Vendor Participation – Excel Micro
  • Most Innovative Solution – Vanta, Pia, & SaaS Alerts
  • Most Halloween Spirit – CyberQP, Avast Business, & Solutions Granted
  • ROI Lightning Round Winner – Critical Insight
  • Best in Show – Kaseya (IT Complete) & Solutions Granted

Sponsors Make it Possible

Our very sincere thanks to Titanium sponsors Dell Expert Network and IT Complete, the Kaseya Platform; Diamond sponsor ConnectWise; Platinum sponsor Fortinet; and Premier Gold sponsor Pia.

Also deserving of recognition are our Gold sponsors Axcient, Opentext Cybersecurity, Hornetsecurity, Huntress, Mailprotector, Pax8, CyberQP, TD SYNNEX, ThreatLocker, Solutions Granted, US Signal, PC Matic, and Vanta.

And thanks to our Silver sponsors TimeZest, Kaspersky, Carbon Systems, Climb Channel Solutions, Critical Insight, Barracuda MSP, HaloPSA, IronScales, Alternative Payments, TruGrid, Avast Business, Monjur, SaaS Alerts, MSP360, and Excel Micro.

Last but certainly not least, our Bronze sponsors Humanize IT, Telivy, and Snapcom.

Coming Up

Our final event of the year is the Dec. 6 ChannelPro Online Summit, Managed Services and Cloud: Operational Excellence. For more information, go here.

If you are an IT integrator, managed services provider, consultant, or VAR serving small and medium businesses, these events are designed specifically to help protect and grow your business. To learn more, visit our events page here.


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