Channel partner events, Channel partner programs, MSP

ConnectWise, Microsoft to Copilot AI-Powered Security

Erwin Visser, Microsoft

ConnectWise and Microsoft are all-in on an AI-powered security partnership, and the companies celebrated their collaboration onstage at IT Nation Secure in Orlando, Florida.

Making the announcement in his keynote address, Erwin Visser, general manager of Microsoft Global Partner Solutions, Americas, described how Microsoft Copilot for Security and Microsoft Defender for Business would be guiding the ConnectWise ship going forward. ConnectWise’s business is built around providing MSPs with the platform tools they need to run their businesses of providing IT and security services to business customers.

The AI Train for SMBs Has Arrived

Visser explained that the rapid pace of AI adoption is transforming businesses, with the convergence of data centers, cloud innovation and hardware technology leading to the development of large language models (LLMs). As such, Microsoft's AI strategy focuses on innovation, platform development and providing customized AI solutions.

Of course, security is a crucial aspect of AI adoption, particularly for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), and Microsoft has introduced a new AI-powered toolkit to address this need.

As Visser explained, the importance of transforming MSP practices with AI and integrated security solutions is the future. In order for MSPs to enhance their IT and security services practices, they must simplify the tech stack and adopt AI services. That's leading to a growing demand for integrated solutions.

Pointing to a rapid acceleration of AI adoption in last six months, particularly in U.S., Visser cited an MIT Sloan survey that shows business leaders expressing interest in AI, with 70% planning to invest in the technology.

He noted that Microsoft is building hundreds of new data centers to support its AI customers. The Azure hybrid cloud platform is powering Microsoft’s AI capabilities, which will make it easier for customers to partner and build custom AI solutions.

Visser acknowledged that security is the critical foundation of AI transformation, and certainly the top priority for ConnectWise’s SMB customers. Cybercrime’s $8 trillion impact is larger than the GDP of most countries, he said. Comparatively, China’s GDP is $18.8 trillion, and the U.S. hit $27 trillion in 2023.

You Own Your Data

Cyberattacks now require the speed and precision of AI, according to Visser. Essentially, it has become a battle of AI versus AI. For example, passwords attacks per month increased from 3 billion in 2022 to 30 billion in 2023.

Visser said that the time to embrace AI adoption has come.

“AI is an amazing opportunity,” he said. “What you have to do within is execute in a trustworthy way."

Visser emphasized that it's “really important that your data is your data, pledging that Microsoft “is not using your data or your customers’.”

“We are not looking into your data and not using your data,” he said. “Your data is your data. And if your customer or your supplier builds an amazing AI system, based on data that you have acquired, that is your opportunity to differentiate. It's not going to be used by Microsoft and then to get used for other partners or customers.”

Jim Masters

Jim Masters is Managing Editor of MSSP Alert, and holds a B.A. degree in Journalism from Northern Illinois University. His career has spanned governmental and investigative reporting for daily newspapers in the Northwest Indiana Region and 16 years in a global internal communications role for a Fortune 500 professional services company. Additionally, he is co-owner of the Lake County Corn Dogs minor league baseball franchise, located in Crown Point, Indiana. In his spare time, he enjoys writing and recording his own music, oil painting, biking, volleyball, golf and cheering on the Corn Dogs.