The virtual conference touched on key industry topics and provided a road map for the rest of 2020 and beyond.

Allison Francis

November 13, 2020

5 Min Read

This week’s ConnectWise IT Nation Connect 2020 went virtual this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The three-day conference touched many key industry trends and areas of focus. For MSPs looking to grow a stronger company in what has been a roller coaster of a year, the topics were aimed at gut-checks and growth.

The event kicked off with a rather significant announcement, in true ConnectWise form. At last year’s IT Nation Connect, the provider announced the acquisitions of Continuum and ITBoost, as well as a strategic partnership with Webinfinity. This year, ConnectWise said that it has acquired Perch Security and StratoZen, two cybersecurity firms dedicated to the needs of SMBs. The acquisitions aim to change the way technology service providers (TSPs) and managed service providers (MSPs) think about security. The objective is to eliminate the many silos around point solutions that plague the MSP industry.

The rest of the conference sought to provide a road map for MSPs for the rest of 2020 and beyond. Content tracks focused on security, leadership and talent development, sales and marketing, growth and scalability and service delivery. Keynotes from business and industry thought leaders touched on cybersecurity frameworks, improving the customer experience, and key indicators on where the industry is heading. 

“This is the time to streamline your services,” said Craig Fulton, chief customer officer, ConnectWise, in a post back in October. “Take a look at the solutions you offer your customers and how you operationalize that in the platform. Look at your business and ask where you want it to be.”

At IT Nation Connect, the sessions gave goers direct lines to these actions. Here’s a quick recap.


Cybersecurity is obviously one of the biggest topics out there these days. IT Nation Connect certainly pounced on that conversation from several different angles. One breakout session, “Cybersecurity Frameworks and Why You Should Start Your Journey with Them,” dug into NIST, CIS, MSP+ and other frameworks. Speaker Jay Ryerse, vice president of cybersecurity initiatives, ConnectWise, provided information on how folks can leverage those frameworks to support the creation of a cybersecurity practice to address client’s business, technology and cybersecurity needs.


ConnectWise’s Jay Ryerse

“For service providers, there is an amazing opportunity to close the gap,” said Ryerse. Ryerse used the example of securing one’s own oxygen mask before assisting others if a plane loses cabin pressure.

“Cybersecurity is the same way,” he said. “You have got to lock down your house first. If you get hit by a cyberattack, how can you possibly help your customers? So make that one of your areas of focus. You also must align to the MSP+ and other cybersecurity frameworks. These will help drive those necessary conversations with your team. It will also drive culture as you teach these practices to your peers.”


Another session, “Automate for Success: How to Do More with Less,” touched on how many tasks can be automated, and how much more efficient this automation will make a company’s team. Last year, it was talent shortage; this year it’s growing receivables. In good times and bad, efficiency matters. Doing more with less means automating as much routine work as possible. Speaker Travis Brittain, sales engineer, IT Glue, talked about the state of the industry, and how MSPs can become more efficient. 


IT Glue’s Travis Brittain

“The market is becoming increasingly competitive,” said Brittain. “When your prospects are coming to you and saying that they want a lower price, it’s one of two things. It could be because of the economic times we’re in right now. Or, they know that they can get these types of services from others inside of their local reach. So it’s not hard to imagine why these other MSPs are starting to bubble up. It’s also why you see other companies that you don’t expect to get into managed services to grab hold of this market.”


In the session, “Blueprint for an Efficient Remote Customer MSP Practice,” the discussion revolved around scaling. 2021 will bring about various market dynamics impacting the small and medium businesses. This will likely include increase in hybrid remote workers, advanced cybersecurity threats and digital collaboration initiatives, to name a few. In addition, all companies want these initiatives to be supported via cloud infrastructure. The session dove down into the latest developments between ConnectWise and Intel designed to help MSPs scale what they offer.

ConnectWise IT Nation Connect 2020 covered a wide swath of other topics, chalking up an overall success for the IT management and business automation software provider.

To top off the event and the week, Malwarebytes, the provider of advanced endpoint protection and remediation solutions, announced its integration with ConnectWise Automate. Automate is ConnectWise’s remote monitoring and management (RMM) software solution. The new integration aims to enable MSPs to more effectively detect, isolate and recover from cyberthreats. This can happen from within their existing ConnectWise work streams. 

It will be interesting to see what happens between now and next year’s ConnectWise IT Nation Connect. In the meantime, secure your oxygen masks and buckle up!

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About the Author(s)

Allison Francis

Allison Francis is a writer, public relations and marketing communications professional with experience working with clients in industries such as business technology, telecommunications, health care, education, the trade show and meetings industry, travel/tourism, hospitality, consumer packaged goods and food/beverage. She specializes in working with B2B technology companies involved in hyperconverged infrastructure, managed IT services, business process outsourcing, cloud management and customer experience technologies. Allison holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations and marketing from Drake University. An Iowa native, she resides in Denver, Colorado.

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