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ConnectWise: AI, Cybersecurity on Collision Course

Gregg Lalle and Jason Magee at IT Nation Secure 2024

AI nearly upstaged cybersecurity at ConnectWise’s annual IT Nation Secure conference's opening keynote in Orlando, an event which attracted 1,200 MSPs.

ConnectWise executives, appearing on stage in pairs, spoke as much about the interconnected technology trends of cybersecurity and AI, providing an overview of the threat landscape and how ConnectWise has been shaping its technology to address the challenges of this new era. In addition, the company made a series of product/solution announcements. More on those below.

Joining ConnectWise CEO Jason Magee on stage, Senior Vice President and GM of IT Nation Gregg Lalle described the theme of the conference as “a groundswell of AI-powered everything.”

Magee agreed, “There’s no doubt about it. AI has changed the game and AI is the ultimate Sidekick or disruptor”... a little play on words because ConnectWise’s AI assistant technology is called Sidekick.

“It’s bigger than us,” Magee said. “We talked about this last year, and in just 12 months AI has taken a leap.”

How AI and Cybersecurity Collide

ConnectWise CISO Patrick Beggs was joined on stage by VP of Global Security Sales Jay Ryerse for a discussion of the challenges technology service providers face as AI becomes a force within cybersecurity.

Beggs said that future of cybersecurity will be powered by AI. Ryerse said that AI and cybersecurity are on a collision course.

“AI is an open-source tool that’s driving innovation. It’s kind of like a hammer that can be used for both good and for evil that’s accessible to everyone,” said Ryerse.

But Beggs noted that AI is used for defense as well. He said his Red Team is using AI to test ConnectWise’s own defenses. In addition, ConnectWise has guidelines and policies on safe and ethical usage of AI.

ConnectWise Security Solution Announcements

ConnectWise’s Ameer Karim, executive vice president and GM of Cybersecurity and Data Protection was joined on stage by John Helms, director of product management for a series of security product and solution-related announcements. Here’s the list:

Security 360

This product is built on ConnectWise’s single unified cloud-based MSP tools platform Asio and is designed to create a single source of truth for all things cyber for MSPs. This dashboard offers a total risk score for MSPs, and then breaks down the risk across various functional cybersecurity categories including endpoint, network, vulnerability, identity and data. MSPs can take a deep dive into each category to determine the cause of low scores and determine remediations to improve those scores.

The executives said that the company has reimagined its vulnerability management offering to make it part of the 360 experience.

This dashboard also allows MSPs to take a deep dive, for instance, into email security, aggregating all the data from Microsoft, Proof Point or any other vendor integrating a solution with ConnectWise.

Sidekick for Security

ConnectWise already offers Sidekick for RMM (providing scripting assistance) and for PSA, providing technicians with a 20% decrease in time to resolution and a 30% increase in technician efficiency. Naturally, Sidekick would be applied to security next. Sidekick for Security can be activated from anywhere in Asio, Microsoft or Microsoft Copilot. ConnectWise showed a demo of a technician asking for security scores and summaries of vulnerabilities.

ConnectWise both ConnectWise Security 360 and Sidekick for Security free of charge through October for MSPs who sign up for them during the event.

RPA Expansion

ConnectWise introduced low code RPA (robotic process automation) capabilities at an earlier event. Now the company is expanding the capability with custom triggers that allow technicians to trigger via webhooks and use the time feature to schedule how frequently workflows should run and execute.

In addition, ConnectWise has added a custom form designer that allows prompting someone for the information to trigger a workflow. ConnectWise has also delivered its highly-requested custom bots feature.

MDR for Microsoft 365

ConnectWise offers Sentinelone, Bitdefender and Microsoft Defender for Business. Now it is rolling out MDR for Microsoft 365 to protect more components of the Microsoft stack. ConnectWise said it will offer this solution to MSPs for 50% off through the end of July.

MDR Executive Report

To help MSPs demonstrate value to their end customers, ConnectWise is rolling out the MDR Executive Report, which can be accessed via Security 360 or scheduled as an email or exported as a PDF. In the coming months ConnectWise said it will add additional capabilities to make it easy to share the report with customers.

Jessica C. Davis

Jessica C. Davis is editorial director of CyberRisk Alliance’s channel brands, MSSP Alert, MSSP Alert Live, and ChannelE2E. She has spent a career as a journalist and editor covering the intersection of business and technology including chips, software, the cloud, AI, and cybersecurity. She previously served as editor in chief of Channel Insider and later of MSP Mentor where she was one of the original editors running the MSP 501.