MSP 501 Vanguard Award: Platte River Networks

Platte River Networks' Intuition Security+ platform fulfills 95-100% of most industry security requirements.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

September 11, 2019

6 Min Read

Three years ago, Platte River Networks decided to develop its own managed security platform after offering some security services to its customers, but not nearly enough to meet today’s business requirements.

The arduous process resulted in its Intuition Security+ platform, which includes: single sign-on and multifactor authentication; internet monitoring, filtering and protection; security awareness training; enhanced network monitoring and management; corporate and user policy provisioning; and security operations center (SOC).

This effort has earned Platte River this year’s Channel Futures MSP 501 Vanguard Award, which is bestowed on a company that demonstrates thought leadership in terms of digital transformation.


Platte River Networks’ David DeCamillis

“We’re always looking for new technology, not only to improve our service delivery and the customer experience, but also in helping our customers improve their technology to help grow their business,” said David DeCamillis, Platte River’s vice president of sales and marketing. “So digital transformation is definitely front of mind. In fact, we actually have five of our 35 engineers on a task force and they’re constantly looking at new technology.”

Horizons North Credit Union has been a Platte River customer for more than 15 years, and the MSP has always assisted with its security audits. With the help of Platte River’s managed security platform, Horizon North’s Coalfire audit score this year moved from “less than satisfactory” to “strong.”

Diane Arthur, Horizon North’s senior vice president and CFO, had just one thing to say in response: “Yippee!”

Now in its 17th year of business, Platte River has always managed business IT, and 11 years ago it launched its Intuitive managed services platform, which included the best-practices security of the time.

“About five years ago, we started to see the need to up our game on security and it started at the customer level, DeCamillis said. “We work in the credit union industry and our customers were going through state and federal audits annually, and we noticed that the requirements from a security perspective at the audit level were increasing and increasing. We also noticed it with our asset-management firm clients from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and our legal clients who started to require cybersecurity insurance from some of their large clients.”

Go here for access to the 2019 MSP 501, the world’s most comprehensive ranking of managed service providers.

Platte River began vetting new products and services, and came to the conclusion that it needed five key critical products and services, he said. And rather than introduce them individually, it wanted to ensure they all worked together well and integrated with its existing managed services platform so that “we were in a better position to not only manage our clients, but also secure them,” he said.

MSP-501-600x400.jpg“It was difficult because for every new service and new product, you had multiple vendors and they all tend to do it slightly differently,” DeCamillis said. “So for some of the products and services, we vetted five to 10 vendors, and it took months, it took a good year to actually confirm which of the vendors, and the products and services we were going to go with.”

One of the items that did not require a vendor was policy creation management, he said. That includes acceptable use policies for a customer’s staff, like internet usage, remote access policies, BYOD policies, incident response and passwords, he said.

“There are a ton of policies that you have to put into place not only to protect your staff, but also to protect your company, and that’s something that a vendor doesn’t provide,” DeCamillis said. “We actually built those and wrote those ourselves. We created roughly 20 that we thought covered the whole gamut. And our customers don’t necessarily use all 20 policies; they probably use anywhere from five to 10 unless they’re in a very regulated industry. The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) requirements are insane and those customers are using probably 15-20 of the policies.”

Customers’ security audits were useful in determining …

… what the security platform should include, he said.

“The customers were obviously involved because we were helping them through the audits,” DeCamillis said. “So by coming back with products and services that fulfill the gaps in the audit, it made them happy. They wanted to participate.”

Platte River launched the security platform and in the past year “we’ve just seen it blow up because our customers are now starting to ask for it,” he said. The vendors included in the platform are Webroot, Fortinet, Mimecast, Blackpoint Cyber and Duo Security.

We will honor our MSP 501 during a special dinner and awards ceremony at Channel Partners Evolution in Washington, D.C., Sept. 9-12. Register now!

“The key transformation is peace of mind because now we know the customers that are on our Security+ platform definitely have the highest level of security that we’ve seen available. So we know that they’re safe, we know there are lots of checks and balances to ensure that if the bad guys get through in some capacity, we have the ability to catch it and squash it quickly, contain it, clean it, recover from it,” DeCamillis said. “Also, we know our customers are less likely to get hit, not only from the outside, but also from the inside, because over 90% of the breaches today are caused by your employees, and if they’re better trained, better managed, better monitored, with better policies in place, [and so on], then it’s much easier to manage the environment securely.”

The platform fulfills 95-100% of most industry security requirements, he said. Since Platte River was able to bundle the solutions and services, it was able to price the platform “aggressively lower” than its competitors, making it affordable for SMB customers.

In addition, the platform allowed Platte River to increase its monthly recurring charge (MRC) from $105 to $130 in the past year. Its overall MRC increased by 22% in 2018 and is on track to increase by more than 30% this year.

Vendors are continuously vetted to find solutions that work better for Platte River and its customers.

“The MSP used to not be liable and involved on the security side of the business,” DeCamillis said. “They did the endpoint security, the firewall, the monitoring and patch management. Now, more and more of the MSPs are being required to up their game from a security perspective. We saw the writing on the wall three years ago, which is why we moved quickly. What I would expect is our competitors will start having to adopt a security-type platform in order to keep up because their customers are asking for it, and these SMBs would rather have one vendor managing it all. If any MSP wants to grow and thrive, they’re going to have to adopt a security platform like this within the next three to five years or they’ll definitely start losing customers.”

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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