How Military Background Helps MSSP CEO Tackle Cybersecurity

Solutions Granted CEO Michael Crean, who served in the U.S. Army, said he’s traded “one battlefield for another.”


Many businesses and top executives across the nation don’t fully understand the cybersecurity risks and ransomware attacks they’re facing today, according to Michael Crean, president and CEO of Master Security Services Provider (MSSP) Solutions Granted.

“They’re not sure where to turn, they’re not sure how to turn,” Crean (pictured) said, who served in the United States Army from 1989 to 1997. The US Army veteran is now tackling the cybersecurity space with tools he learned about and implemented during his time in the military.

Several years ago, he testified in front of a Senate subcommittee on Capitol Hill about cybercrimes and their effects on SMBs. Due to his expertise in cyber security and his military background, he was told that he, in a way, “traded one battlefield for another.”

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“We’ve all realized that the digital battlefield is probably far more volatile,” he said. “I don’t know that we want to call it more volatile. I’m not sure that lives are being lost -- but you shut down a hospital and people are on respirators, they die. They can’t get the critical care that they need or a surgery can’t be performed … So maybe it is as critical. Human life is the most precious thing that we have.”

That became even more critical when the global COVID-19 pandemic hit and nearly everything and everyone went remote, he said.

“What COVID did for the modern office, it used to be just mail. Think about what Office 365 was,” he said. “It’s no longer just mail. Now you’ve got Azure AD, you’ve got Teams, you’ve got OneDrive, you’ve got SharePoint and you’ve got mail. Now you have a massive amount of stuff within the cloud.”

He believed all of those platforms were coming, but were coming over time. When the pandemic hit, everything “got hyper charged” into the cloud. “So it’s a larger attack surface,” he said.

Being able to secure newly formed cloud-based IT environments became the focus and a big priority for Woodbridge, Va.-based Solutions Granted. Parameters had to be put in place, there needed to be more monitoring and better configurations had to be done.

“There’s a lot of security that can go around Microsoft Office 365. It’s easy, it’s not hard. It’s fairly inexpensive,” he said. “It really does make a difference to how you can effectively secure that mobile workforce and give them that modern office.”

Because of this, monitoring services are growing exponentially. Having a technology that is a little bit more efficient, more capable and has higher efficacy -- but also has a monitoring team behind it -- is key.

“The thing that goes bump in the night could be somebody that just tapped on your door lightly, and if you have a monitoring team, that means something to them,” he said. “If there’s nobody there at 2 a.m. on a Saturday to see that somebody is tapping on the door, then it doesn’t get answered and it doesn’t get responded to. Having more of those services, not just the product, but having the monitoring team and the services behind it so somebody is really there to answer the call when it starts to happen.”

For customers, it’s important to listen to and trust their MSPs, he said. That’s where his military background comes in.

“One thing that I learned in the military is that the military trained you to be a good soldier, sailor, airman or Marine, but then they give you a specialty,” he said. “That specialty comes together to build a really cohesive strong team, and that is what we’re doing. We are coming in to help the MSPs to be a more cohesive strong team with our specialty. And we’re doubling down.”

“We’re doubling down on the fact that being able to support them so that they can give their clients more of the answer of ‘Yes,’” he said. “We know that they need strong, effective, resilient, kind of that tip-of-the-spear cybersecurity analysts, engineers and incident response teams, so that they can keep saying ‘yes’ to their customers.”