Big MSP Security Play: Continuum Acquires Carvir To Accelerate SIEM, SOC Capabilities

Managed services platform developer Continuum on Thursday unveiled the acquisition of Carvir, an MSP-focused developer of monitored and managed security.

With the acquisition comes a major expansion of Continuum's security business, including an acceleration of its plan to add a U.S.-based security operations center and SIEM (security information and event management) tools to better improve its capabilities, said Michael George (pictured), CEO of the Boston-based company.

Carvir, a Cumming, Ga.-based provider of web gateway security, advanced endpoint protection, and managed SIEM tools, brings Continuum about 580 MSP partners and more than 4,000 protected client sites, George told CRN.

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Most important, however, is the security expertise and the security operation center that will be key to expanding Continuum's security business, he said.

Continuum is the only company with integrated network operations centers (NOCs), security operations centers (SOCs), and help desk, George said. "Anything that can be done remotely, we do remotely, leaving the last mile to the MSPs," he said.

Security is the IT industry's biggest skills gap, George said. Continuum has two security operations centers in India, and Carvir gives it a U.S.-based SOC, he said.

"This is important for compliance for U.S.-based companies," he said. "It's not a big difference from what we do now, except that Carvir also brings us SIEM capabilities. We were planning on doing that by next year anyway. This just accelerates our plans."

The new U.S.-based SOC gives Continuum the resources it needs to be a major provider of security services to MSPs, said Fielder Hiss, vice president of products for Continuum.

"We will be better able to provide 'follow-the-sun' services," Hiss told CRN. "There is a difference in cost between having a SOC in the U.S. and in India. But it's important to have the appropriate skills to support our partners. We fully plan to keep the Carvir team, and will probably expand it much like we do our other SOCs."

One other benefit comes from the acquisition of Carvir, George said. "Carvir has a good relationship with technical and military colleges in Georgia," he said. "It's a great geography to build out the services we need. We intend to expand on that advantage very significantly."

Continuum has a long record in providing security services to its MSP partners thanks in large part to a long-term relationship with Broomfield, Colo.-based Webroot, Hiss said.

"We use Webroot to provide end-point protection with SIEM, and we sell Webroot security awareness and training," he said. "The acquisition of Carvir expands our security capabilities, but does not impact our relationship with Webroot. Indeed, we expect the acquisition to help us sell more Webroot."

George declined to discuss either the terms of the acquisition or the financial situation of Carvir, other than to say that Carvir has been growing in excess of 200 percent year-over-year. Carvir's business is 100-percent MSP focused, with very little overlap in partners between the two companies, he said.

That means plenty of up-selling and cross-selling opportunities, George said.

"But our real focus here is on selling more security," he said. "The acquisition enables our partners to instantly become trusted security partners. And Carvir partners now get access to our RMM (remote monitoring and management) and disaster recovery tools."

Security, RMM, and disaster recovery are really three legs to a complete security offering, George said.

"RMM shows customers anomalies that might result from changes to their IT environments before an attack happens," he said. "Backups are what you use if you fail at security. No one can guarantee 100-percent security. So all three are very symbiotic. You start with RMM, then to security, then to backup and disaster recovery. We provide it all from the same portal, the same pane of glass, the same service."

One place where the partners of Continuum and Carvir overlap is in Mechanicsville, Md., home of eTrepid, an MSP and Microsoft cloud services provider who partners with both companies.

Tom Blandford, owner and president and CEO of eTrepid, told CRN that he has been with Continuum since late 2009 and has watched it develop a very powerful platform.

"I've continually looked at other platforms, but Continuum's is hands-down the best," Blandford said. "Its extensions to its NOCs are critical, letting me offer 24x7 vigil without requiring me to invest in people with those specialized skillsets."

eTrepid has just begun using Continuum's SOCs to take the place of its own security practices that have worked over the years but which are not as modern as the Continuum capabilities, Blandford said.

The MSP started working with Carvir about seven months ago, particularly with that vendor's SentinelOne endpoint protection tools. "We like SentinelOne's $1-million ransomware warranty," he said. "No one gets ransomware with the Carvir tools. And we also enjoy a high adoption rate with SentinelOne. No one says no to it after a presentation."

Blandford said his company sees the acquisition of Carvir by Continuum as a new way to increase the trust Continuum has with clients.

"Continuum always integrates new technologies into their RMM platform," he said. "This streamlines the deployment. We have done scripting with Carvir in the past, but we are confident the Continuum teams will integrate Carvir technology into their deployments. And we look forward to Continuum providing help desk support for new NOCs and SOCs."

At least one of Carvir's vendor partners also likes the acquisition by Continuum. Guy Cunningham, vice president of channel sales and distribution for the EventTracker business of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.-based Netsurion, told CRN via email that his company, which provided SIEM technology to Carvir, looks forward to working with Continuum.

"With our SIEM solution, Continuum will enable its MSP partners to expand their business and provide their clients with threat protection and response services," Cunningham said.