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ConnectWise Acquires Security Services Vendor to Provide Partner Training and Education

The former Sienna Group LLC will now be the ConnectWise Cybersecurity Center of Excellence. Its goal, according to ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini (pictured), will be closing the gap between demand for security expertise and available supply in the channel. By Rich Freeman

In the latest step in the unfolding of an ambitious cybersecurity strategy, ConnectWise has acquired Sienna Group LLC, a provider of security services and solutions based in Tampa, Fla. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Renamed the ConnectWise Cybersecurity Center of Excellence by its new owners, Sienna will serve as an in-house best practices training unit for MSPs. “Cybersecurity requires a tremendous amount of education, and so that’s what we are going to be doing with Sienna is really educating our partners and the marketplace on the proper implementation and administration of cybersecurity,” says ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini.

Training available through the new Center of Excellence will address all five components of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s cybersecurity framework, and cover topics ranging from intrusion prevention and penetration testing to data loss prevention and network access control. “We will be teaching them in a holistic way how to perform those services, how to charge for those services, how to market for those services,” Bellini says.

Courses on delivering security awareness training will be available as well. Partners who wish to will also have the option of outsourcing awareness training to ConnectWise. According to Bellini, however, the Cybersecurity Center of Excellence will generally not provide services directly to end users.

“Awareness training is one of the unique ones where we know that we will be asked to provide that,” Bellini says. “Virtually every other service will be a service that we’re training and teaching the partner how to run.”

Partner education is a key element of the sweeping cybersecurity plans Bellini outlined last month at ConnectWise’s IT Nation Connect event in Orlando, and is needed to reduce the shortage of channel pros capable of meeting rising demand for security services among SMBs.

“There’s a big talent gap in cybersecurity,” Bellini says. Sienna is ideally equipped to help close that gap, he continues, citing the company’s wealth of experienced staff. “They are a long-standing cybersecurity consulting organization with [a collective] 130 years of cybersecurity expertise,” Bellini says. John Ford, the company’s CEO, will now serve ConnectWise as chief information security officer.

In his IT Nation Connect keynote speech last month, Bellini announced the introduction of new risk assessment and vulnerability scanning solutions developed in partnership with Sienna. Set to launch before the end of the year and available at no cost to ConnectWise partners for the first three months, those tools are designed to help MSPs more easily put best practices taught by the Center of Excellence into practice with their customers.

“The main purpose of them is to get all of customers evaluated from a security standpoint and to start opening up those discussions, because those discussions will lead to additional sales,” Bellini says, adding that ConnectWise is likely to develop additional tools through the Center of Excellence in the future.

Bellini views security generally and cybersecurity specifically as enormous opportunities for MSPs thanks to the never-ending stream of increasingly sophisticated exploits plaguing businesses large and small.

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