Thoma Bravo Buys Continuum, Plans To Help Drive Security Acquisition Spree

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Private equity giant Thoma Bravo purchased global IT management platform provider Continuum to boost organic growth and M&A activity in the SMB security space.

The Boston-based vendor said it presented its ambitious 2020 growth plan to Thoma Bravo and was encouraged to accelerate it, according to Continuum CEO Michael George. Thoma Bravo is looking for Continuum broaden the IT services waterfront as part of an effort to redefine the category entirely, George said.

"As we've been rising as the platform leader in the category, we've been sought after by all the private equity players," George told CRN. "Thoma Bravo was top of the list for us, by far. They're smart and aggressive."

[Related: Continuum To Introduce Security Offering For MSPs After Suffering Own Incident]

Continuum's legacy is in remote monitoring and management (RMM), and George said the company recently bought its way into backup and disaster recovery (BDR), security, cloud monitoring and document management spaces. The company today employs more than 1,400 people worldwide and has some 5,800 channel partners.

The company is now accelerating its organic investment in security by building out its security operations center (SOC), opening up a second SOC facility, and hiring like mad, George said. He said Continuum hopes to buy into the categories where the company is partnering today.

"Priority number one is security, priority number two is security, and priority number three is security," George said. "We are manically focused on that for the foreseeable future."   

Continuum is looking to build an end-to-end security offering tailored to small and midsized businesses, George said. The offering will include perimeter and endpoint defense, firewall-level security, anomaly detection, the ability to isolate a problem to a particular user's system, and remediation through its existing RMM, SOC and network operations center (NOC) tools, George said.

"Security is a broad and complex thing," George said. "It isn't like you buy one thing and solve for it."

In addition to technology, George said Continuum is looking to address the security needs of solution providers from a people perspective. Most other security tools depend on the MSP to provide the personnel needed to address the issue, George said, while Continuum can augment the channel partner and provide support through its help desk and NOC.

This is critical since any employee with security certifications and skills will have Fortune 500 companies fighting over them, George said, with employers willing to pay a 40 percent or 50 percent premium to bring them on board. In fact, George said MSPs already have a hard enough time staffing a help desk.

"There's a massive void on the security side of the equation for MSPs," George said. "Thoma Bravo saw what we're doing and said, 'This is the category killer.'"       

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