New ConnectWise Partner Program In-Depth: How to Have the Cybersecurity Conversation

VP Jay Ryerse speaks to closing the security gap and driving those tough conversations.

Allison Francis

May 20, 2021

4 Min Read
Business Conversation

The MSP and technology service provider (TSP) communities are digging into the details of the new ConnectWise partner program, which we first told you about on Tuesday. It aims to help partners build and grow a robust cybersecurity practice.

The platform gives these partners access to exclusive offerings, resources and support to help them make more money. It will also help scale and meet growing market demand for managed security services.

We sat down with Jay Ryerse, vice president of cybersecurity initiatives at ConnectWise, to break it all down. Ryerse gave us insights into the origins of the program, the pain points it addresses and what’s next. 

Partner Pain Points

To begin designing the program, ConnectWise took a step back to really examine what partners were saying. The company wanted to know their pain points, what was sticking and what wasn’t. Furthermore, ConnectWise asked its partners what they needed help with the most. Overwhelmingly, the answer was cybersecurity.


ConnectWise’s Jay Ryerse

“The feedback we were getting is that there is just a lot to take on when it comes to cybersecurity. It’s not about just simply adding one new piece of technology to their stack, and then it’s good to go. Cybersecurity requires a completely different set of legs,” said Ryerse. “Because of the work that we’ve done over the last several years, factoring in our various acquisitions, we’ve really built out a security knowledge base that engages with our partners to understand what ‘good’; looks like. Out of that came this new partner program. We really want to take the partner through that maturity journey.”

Ryerse says that the first step – square one to an extent – is teaching the partner how to have the cybersecurity conversation. Therefore, one of the aspects of the partner program, focuses on helping to position the partner correctly right from the very beginning. There is a marketing program to help them get their essentials in place and lined up so that they’re telling the right stories. The program also focuses on teaching partners how to use tools, and what “good” looks like from a risk assessment perspective. Once they’ve seen these elements demonstrated, it then becomes easier to go out and execute on it.

The Overwhelming Talent Shortage

Ryerse also cites the talent shortage as a driving reason for the program’s inception. 

“There are 3.1 million unfilled cybersecurity positions, according to the (ISC)² back in December,” Ryerse said. “Yesterday, Cisco’s Chuck Robbins, during the RSA Conference, said there are 4.1 million unfilled cybersecurity positions. That’s bad enough on its own. But to throw another wrench into things, there are only 2.8 million positions worldwide as it is. So our demand is actually more than our current capacity. And that’s creating a challenge for the partner community. They need to go out and hire talent to attract and retain talent, of course. But, when you up-level them to a security expert within your organization, the enterprise has a tendency to reach in to snap those folks up.”

Closing the Gap with Managed Security Services

Ryerse says this new program can help close that gap for partners. Again, it comes down to having that ongoing conversation, with the platform helping to cultivate and retain talent.

Considering these hurdles, the conversations partners are having, and the desire to properly educate partners in this tough area, ConnectWise is in a unique position to change the narrative of what a partner program should look like.

“Again, it comes back to driving those tough conversations in the community,” said Ryerse. “Everyone has a partner program, but I don’t know of any who use this ‘sell with, do with’ model. We are doing security with partners until they build up the muscle memory and capability to execute on their own. That’s the key here.”

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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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