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ConnectWise bolsters security services with acquisitions of Perch, StratoZen

Margie Manning

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Jason Magee (left),CEO, ConnectWise and Craig Fulton, chief customer success officer, at IT Nation Connect 2020

Companies that manage the technology needs of their clients are inundated with data about security.

Brian Downey

ConnectWise, a Tampa-based IT software company that works with those technology service providers, has just bought two companies that will help its clients better manage that data, said Brian Downey, vice president of security product management at ConnectWise.

One of the acquisitions is Perch Security, founded in Tampa in 2016. In 2018, ConnectWise and Fishtech Group invested $9 million in a Series A funding for Perch. The other acquisition is StratoZen, founded in 2014 and headquartered in Salt Lake City.

Both companies serve small to midsize businesses and focus on what Downey called the “sea of information” around data security.

“Perch consolidates it and creates a foundation for how to drive intelligent actions and StratoZen looks at how take that consolidated information and actually drive intelligent actions on it,” Downey said. “We look at these two as the key missing pieces for a platform for security for [managed service providers], giving them the ability to slow down the inundation of data and instead be able to get direct and clear feedback on what security issues arise and what they need to pay attention to.”

There’s a shortage of cybersecurity talent industrywide, according to (ISC)², based in Clearwater and the world’s largest nonprofit membership association of certified cybersecurity professionals. (ISC)²’s new workforce study shows the cybersecurity gap – or the difference between the number of skilled professionals that organizations need to protect their critical assets and the actual capacity available to take on this work — is 3.1 million workers.

Both Perch and StratoZen will help ConnectWise meet that talent need for clients, Downey said.

“The real problem is why need so many cybersecurity experts,” Downey said. “It’s because the vendors have taken a complex challenge and put it on MSP’s laps. These acquisitions really change that. It simplifies the problems associated with security, to reduce their needs for those types of skilled resources so a lot more MSPs can deal with the resources they have.”

ConnectWise is one of the Tampa-St. Petersburg area’s largest companies, and was one of the area’s first “unicorns,” a designation for tech firms with a valuation of $1 billion or more. The company was acquired by Thoma Bravo, a technology-focused private equity firm, in 2019.

ConnectWise’s latest acquisitions were announced on the first day of IT Nation Connect, ConnectWise’s annual gathering for business owners and leaders. The three-day event is virtual this year, which has both pros and cons as far as Downey is concerned.

While he misses the honest feedback that occurs when talking face-to-face, the online event also has a broader reach and is attracting people who might not be able to attend in person.

ConnectWise also updated IT Nation Connect attendees on several product developments, including details about ConnectWise Fusion, a unified platform on which all ConnectWise product technology will sit.

From a security perspective, Fusion provides a common experience across all the functions a managed service provider needs.

“For an MSP, there’s a tax every time we deal with a new tool, a new way of doing things. They are one more thing an MSP has to monitor, manage, have a log-in for, use passwords,” Downey said. “Fusion provides the capability for our security tools to have the same log-in information as our other tools. It provides us the ability to have consistency in look and feel, reducing some of the costs around training for a new tool and how you access information. It  allows us to start benefitting from sharing information.”

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