IT and Business Insights for SMB Solution Providers

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. By Rich Freeman

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.

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