IT Nation Secure: What's Your AI Action Plan?

AI is the "ultimate sidekick or disruptor," and "bigger than us," ConnectWise executives said.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

June 3, 2024

5 Min Read
ConnectWise C-suite members spoke about MSPs building an AI action plan

IT NATION SECURE — The opening keynotes at this week’s IT Nation Secure made clear that AI has changed the game when it comes to cybersecurity, and that partners need an AI action plan to not get left behind.

IT Nation Secure, taking place in Orlando, has attracted over 1,200 partners “eager to engage in key conversations about cybersecurity, AI and emerging technologies, the roles they play and how they will coexist,” said Gregg Lalle, senior vice president and general manager of IT Nation.


“We want to partner with you,” he said. “We want to bring the full potential and power of the community to your doorstep.”

IT Nation Secure Can Help with AI Action Plan

Jason Magee, ConnectWise’s CEO, told attendees AI is the “ultimate sidekick or disruptor, and it's bigger than us.”


“We talked about this last year, and in just 12 months AI has taken the lead, and naturally there's an expectation that we all go from novices to experts in that short time,” Magee said. “But unfortunately, that's not the case. It's not realistic. For some, it may seem insurmountable. For others, we have processes and rules that we need to follow in order to adopt new technology and innovation for all. Whether we know it or not, AI is making its way through our business bloodstream. It is here to stay, and it is an accelerant, one that will also complicate and compromise our ability to stay secure amongst the chaos."

Related:IT Nation Secure: MSPs and the Intersection of AI and Cybersecurity

Magee said IT teams face more blind spots and tool sprawl than ever, with increasingly sophisticated threats coming after them.

"And threat actors are unchained and unrestricted, not bound by the same processes or rules that we all have. They can attack when they want, where they want, and faster than ever and faster than we can defend," Magee said. "So you need to embrace new innovations and act swiftly, and lean into things like the IT Nation and community to learn more, and make the most out of your time here this week.”

It’s important to strike a balance to unite the human element and decision making with AI, Magee said.

“So here's our advice: you need to start somewhere, anywhere, don’t get left behind,” he said. “The uncertainty, the ethical code and moral rules and just rules in general will paralyze you. It paralyzes many people. We're standing directly inside the technological renaissance where AI has become the backbone of innovation. Cyber threats are advancing, and it is universal and powerful. It's unyielding and it's still immature. And while I can't predict that future or what will happen next, I can tell you with a level of absolute certainty that AI's influence on security and unpredictability is our future.”

Related:N-able Sale to Barracuda Possibly Pending

How ConnectWise Views AI

ConnectWise views AI’s role through a “different lens,” Magee said. This can be helpful in developing an AI action plan.

“I could stand here and tell you that AI is untenable, it's erratic and performs at a speed beyond human capability,” he said. “And while most of that is true, AI shouldn’t be positioned as a threat to your organization. AI and automation will help fill that talent gap around cyber and make your ordinary IT professional more cyber savvy and more superhuman by leveraging things like Sidekick (ConnectWise’s AI companion)."

Magee at the November IT Nation Connect conference urged partners to put new investments in to their teams and how those teams are learning and training.

"Surround them with the automation and AI tools so they can bridge that talent gap so you as a business can compete on the same playing field as everyone else, along with the threat actors," Magee said. "I recognize that everyone is at their own stage of this journey around hyperautomation, and ConnectWise will continual to work with our partners to equip them with the knowledge they need and to help them understand how to apply automation to defend themselves in this ever changing, unrelenting threat landscape.”

AI Will Power the Future of Cybersecurity 

Patrick Beggs, ConnectWise’s CISO, told attendees “we really need to brace ourselves for the security threats that came with this digital codependency.” With AI making more threat actors effective at what they do, MSPs need to lock in.

"As an example, AI is being used to automate the scale and precision of social engineering attacks, crafting highly personalized phishing campaigns that can deceive your customers, your colleagues and even you as an expert," Beggs said. "Cybercriminals are already employing AI to create advanced attacks. They learn from the environment to evade detection. These AI-powered threats can autonomously modify their code, bypassing security measures, and making them challenging to track and utilize.”

AI is “sucking up the oxygen in the room and dominating our conversations,” Beggs said.

“And for the last 18 months, technology defenses have never been more challenged, and I can speak from that personally,” he said. “When it comes to cybersecurity, we can't lose sight of the future because the future of cybersecurity is going to be powered by AI. And make no mistake, AI is a runaway train and you can't be left standing on the tracks.”


Read more about:


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.

Free Newsletters for the Channel
Register for Your Free Newsletter Now

You May Also Like