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Datto Founder Backs Cyber Warranty Firm Cork To ‘Give Control Back To MSPs:’ Exclusive
‘There’s a thousand different companies out selling cyber insurance components or reselling somebody else’s stuff,’ says Austin McChord, board member at Cork, which is helmed by former Datto Chief Digital Officer Carlson Choi. ‘It’s kind of an add-on and it’s the side that comes with whatever else they’re buying, whereas this is about how do we actually solve this problem in a comprehensive way that’s truly just for MSPs.’
Datto founder Austin McChord and former Datto Chief Digital Officer Carlson Choi today launched Cork, a cyber warranty company that takes the complexity out of cyber insurance by automatically scanning critical infrastructure to reduce risk and offer near-instant financial coverage.
Boston-based Cork is the first cyber warranty provider that offers an inside-out approach to active risk monitoring, detection and remediation, using real-time data telemetry to scan and underwrite the cyber risk protected environments.
There are no forms to fill out or boxes to check. Once the Cork platform is connected to a customer’s system, it performs an internal scan to deliver real-time results of what security features are at play.
[Related: Why Cyber Insurance? Because SMBs Are A ‘Priority For The Bad Guys’]
The differentiator is that MSPs don’t need to bring in an insurance salesperson or broker to co-sell. Cork is simply a piece MSPs can add to their existing security stack to supplement cyber insurance.
“That’s the problem we’re solving for because there hasn’t been a single financial protection program created for the MSP space,” said Choi, who serves as CEO of Cork. “It’s the first and only cybersecurity monitoring platform with a warranty with it.”
The platform solves “one of the biggest MSP problems” when it comes to cyber insurance.
“[When] MSPs partner with a client, they don’t need to bring yet another plan in place,” Choi told CRN. “The second is any type of underwriting process, even if they get into one, it is a long 25 pages to fill out. Do you have MFA on? Do you have backup? Do you have RMM? Do you patch your network? The moment they check yes or no, it changes them all. So it’s actually not in real time in that sense.”
A third reason, he said, is “when things hit the fan” the claims process is like getting “a double root canal on the same day with no novocaine.”
Cork was incubated by DVx Ventures in 2022 and backed by $6 million in seed funding led by DVx Ventures as well as Outsiders Fund and Vestigo Ventures.
McChord is the managing director at Outsiders Fund and is a member of Cork’s board of directors. He founded Datto in 2007 before selling the company for $6.2 billion to Miami-based competitor Kaseya last year.
When an attack happens, Cork will gear up to help the MSP “rather than the traditional insurance approach, which is let me find all the reasons why you’re not eligible for us to help you,” McChord said.
“It’s a completely different way of thinking about it, but it’s entirely MSP-focused top to bottom,” he added.
And Cork is “laser-focused” on ransomware and business email compromise spear phishing.
“We’ll get better answers by just asking your security infrastructure, ‘What’s set up? What’s not?’” McChord said. “Then you get rewarded for doing the right things. Because we’re aligned with the MSP, they can either take that and say, ‘This is more margin for me,’ or they can take that and say, ‘Hey, I’m going to pass the savings on to my customer.’ The MSP is totally in the driver’s seat with that.”
The goal is for MSPs to offer Cork either as a starting point or a supplement to the insurance they offer.
However, Choi said insurance is not an MSP’s friend because in the event of a cyberattack, both the cyber insurance company and the end customer point their finger at the MSP.
“We put that power or control back into the MSP,” Choi said.
Cork has also partnered with Barracuda Networks and will be bundled with its Fully Managed XDR offering, which reaches 5,000 MSPs.
“There’s a thousand different companies out selling cyber insurance components or reselling somebody else’s stuff,” McChord said. “It’s kind of an add-on and it’s the side that comes with whatever else they’re buying, whereas this is about how do we actually solve this problem in a comprehensive way that’s truly just for MSPs.
“The most valuable thing MSPs have is their time,” he added. “We want to build something that’s efficient and we want to reward MSPs who do the right thing.”
Paul Riedl, CEO of Milwaukee-based River Run, Cork’s first MSP partner, was attracted to Cork because of the innovative idea of cyber warranty.
He likes that Cork acts as the “eyes and ears” of a MSP.
“It gives me an opportunity to have a different conversation with a client about their cyber insurance [and] about risk,” he told CRN. “It also gives me an opportunity to differentiate myself from the other companies that are out there. Then the other piece to this is that it’s establishing me as a thought leader because I’m bringing different concepts. We have an opportunity to save [customers] some dollars if there’s an event.”
Offering Cork comes with educating the end user, he said, and Cork will help offer MSPs educational tools that they can take to their customers.
“Because they understand MSPs, they give MSPs tools,” he said. “It’s collaborative.”