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Cisco Teams With ConnectWise On New Security Dashboard, Giving Smaller MSPs A Path Into Advanced Security Offerings

'Packaging this and making the pricing affordable for small businesses is a game-changer, and they've done that now,' says Chad Paalman, CEO of MSP NuWave Technology Partners, who previewed the new dashboard.

Cisco Systems' expanded partnership with business automation powerhouse ConnectWise gives MSPs a single dashboard for the management of an entire portfolio of security solutions.

Known as the ConnectWise Advanced Security Dashboard, the cloud-managed system is expected to be piloted with partners in May and was introduced at the RSA conference Monday.

ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini said the new system solves a couple of important problems for customers and MSPs. Customers, he said, need a way to efficiently secure their environments and MSPs – particularly those that work with SMBs – are hungry for a solution that allows them to capitalize on the fact that they're being held liable for security problems.

[Related: 9 Security Trends To Watch For At RSA 2018]

"Because managed service providers have been managing the data, they're being held liable for every security breach," Bellini said. "Customers say because you're taking care of the data layer and the network, you're responsible for it. It's like an implicit fiduciary responsibility that they're not getting paid for, but they're getting sued for. Anyone who is managing technology today is also required to secure that technology, and that's what Cisco is solving for."

Chad Paalman, CEO of NuWave Technology Partners, a Kalamazoo, Mich., MSP that works with Cisco and previewed the dashboard, said it has the potential to displace the patchwork of competing security solutions his company currently uses.

"We have a cybersecurity offering that is architected with a number of individual, a la carte vendors," Paalman said. "I'm confident we're going to be able to leverage this new converged solution to replace that existing architecture."

Paalman said the offering could result in growth in the range of 50 percent for NuWave, which works with manufacturing companies and professional services firms. "In a lot of cases, we can see doubling of our monthly recurring revenue," he said.

The new subscription-based system integrates the ConnectWise Manage business management solution, and extends the existing ConnectWise Unite with Cisco portal, giving MSPs a single dashboard from which they can manage Meraki MX firewalls, Cisco Umbrella, Stealthwatch Cloud, Cisco Adaptive Security appliances, next-generation firewalls and AMP for Endpoints.

"Packaging this and making the pricing affordable for small businesses is a game-changer, and they've done that now," Paalman said. "Cisco is taking a world-class security offering and bundling it for the small and medium business for managed service providers. I don't know anybody else that does it. A lot of smaller MSPs can make a move into advanced offerings without making a huge investment."

Tampa, Fla.-based ConnectWise has been doing integration work with other Cisco products, said Bellini, and recognized an opportunity within its security portfolio. "We really became familiar with the Cisco portfolio and realized they had some really strong security solutions, and if we could integrate them in one pane of glass, that would be really powerful," he said.

"You have lots of vantage points, and you need to know from all vantage points, you need to be able to see from a central place," Bellini said. "That's what the ConnectWise Advanced Security Dashboard is. The work we did with Cisco showed us they have a strong security solution and if we put it all together in one dashboard, we'll have a solution that is what technology teams need."

The ConnectWise Advanced Security Dashboard is part of a slate of endpoint-focused security enhancements to several Cisco solutions, including an agreement with Agari for email authentication automation and phishing protection, as well as new offline ransomware protection for Cisco AMP and enhanced threat investigation for the Cisco Visibility solution.

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