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Cisco Releases Security Upgrades, Teams with ConnectWise

With the commoditization of managed services, Cisco is offering a way for MSPs to deliver more value to their customers and to open up new lines of recurring revenue.

Cisco on Monday announced upgrades to its Advanced Malware Protection (AMP) for Endpoints, new investments in email security, and an expanded security partnership with ConnectWise.

The enhancements to AMP for Endpoints security, called Cisco Visibility, are designed to stop malware, eliminate blind spots and discover unknown threats. The new Cisco Visibility shows the extent of a compromise that spans the endpoint, the network and the cloud.

Cisco also made new investments in two email security services: Cisco Domain Protection and Cisco Advanced Phishing Protection.

Cisco Domain Protection automates the manual process of analyzing, updating and taking action against senders misusing their domain to send malicious email. Cisco Advanced Phishing Protection adds machine-learning capabilities to Cisco Email Security to evaluate the risk associated with inbound email by assessing its threat posture.

Jason Lamar

“These additional capabilities … it’s all about making sure that our endpoints and our users are protected on their systems and also through the ways people attack them through email,” said Lamar. The two email security services will be available in a few months.

Back in November at Cisco Partner Summit 2017, Cisco announced the ConnectWise Unite with Cisco cloud platform. It’s designed to allow Cisco MSPs to create an offering that combines networking, security and collaboration services, including Cisco Meraki, Cisco Spark, Cisco Umbrella, and Stealthwatch Cloud.

The Cisco cloud-based service, which provides multi-tenant management, monitoring and billing, is in pilot but expected to be generally available soon. 

“This is an effort to help MSPs going to market with Cisco reduce the complexity of having multiple disparate products and portals, by bringing them together under a single-pane-of-glass view,” Marc Inderhees, senior business development manager with Cisco’s Global Partner Organization, told us. “It’s also about increasing MSP revenue and increasing stickiness with customers.”

More than 400 partners have been active on the platform since November and they’ve on-boarded more than 1,000 customers — the majority of whom have Meraki in their networks, he said.

Building on its initial ConnectWise partnership, the networking giant announced new enhancements to ConnectWise Unite with Cisco, including several new Cisco security integrations and the ConnectWise Advanced Security Dashboard for MSPs.

The new Cisco security integrations with ConnectWise include Advanced Malware Protection for Endpoints, Adaptive Security Appliance and Next Generation Firewall.

The ConnectWise Advanced Security Dashboard for MSPs integrates with the ConnectWise Manage business management solution. It features global policy management, security event correlation, and security reporting — or what Cisco calls the building blocks to monitor advanced managed security services around Cisco’s portfolio of Meraki MX firewalls, Umbrella, Stealthwatch Cloud, Adaptive Security Appliances, Next Generation Firewall and AMP for Endpoints. It’s being introduced as a pilot with select partners in May.

Inderhees said that Cisco recognizes that most MSPs are generalists, unlike the more advanced MSSP. The chasm between them is based on the investments – security operations center, management tools and security specialists – MSSPs have made in a security practice.

“We believe that the average MSP is not going to make the move to MSSP status,” he said. “What we want to do is help the thousands of generalists out there move up the curve, offer managed services to their customers in the area of security — but without the heavy investments.”

With the commoditization of managed services, Cisco is offering a way for MSPs to deliver more value to their customers and to open up new lines of recurring revenue.

“SMBs, which is where the MSPs primarily play, they’re looking for their MSPs to help them in this [security] area. These customers are banks, law firms, hedge funds … they don’t have expertise in-house,” said Inderhees.

Partners opting to go to market with the Cisco-ConnectWise offering must be a Cisco partner.

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