Security Roundup: AutoElevate, Sophos, Barracuda, ALTR-CAI

Security vendor AutoElevate launched last week.

Edward Gately, Senior News Editor

July 20, 2018

9 Min Read
Password Security

Todd Jones knows all about the headache MSPs face when trying to manage and control clients’ administrator privileges mostly to Microsoft operating systems.

It’s this struggle that led him to create an admin privileges solution and co-found a cybersecurity vendor, AutoElevate. The company launched last week and has integrated with ConnectWise Automate and Manage. Jones founded the company with David Sibiski, also the company’s chief technology officer.

Jones, along with Adam Slutskin, former ConnectWise chief revenue offer and founder of MSP Quarterback, gave us the lowdown on this new venture. Slutskin is AutoElevate’s strategic adviser.


AutoElevate’s Todd Jones

“It’s been one week since we lifted the veil off of it and started showing people, and … it’s just exciting to hear that it resonates with everybody as much as it did with me, and not just that I was just this one MSP with this crazy problem or mindset on how it should be,” Jones said. “Everyone I’ve talked with is saying, “Man, this is awesome.”

Jones founded TekJet, which specialized in MSP services for SMBs, and Watchman Computer Services, which provides full-time tech support for small businesses  One of the big challenges he always had as an MSP was keeping his clients secure and safe from themselves.

“There’s a fundamental best practice in security of the principal of least privilege, which basically means you give users the minimum level of privileges they need that allows them to do their job,” he said. “The problem with implementing the principal of least privilege is, in Windows, you have an all-or-nothing proposition. You have standard users on their computer, which limits what they can do as far as installing or accessing certain areas or doing certain things, or you give them admin privileges and they can do whatever they want. No user likes to not be able to do whatever they want to do whenever they want to do it.”

The temptation for the MSP was always to give people admin privileges, but then the flip side of that equation as a provider is staying up at night “worrying about what they’re going to do with those privileges and then hop[ing] you’re going to be able to deal with it if they do something they shouldn’t do or that you’ll be held responsible,” Jones said.

It’s this conundrum that led Jones to create his AutoElevate privilege-management system designed for MSPs. AutoElevate has an agent service that runs on each workstation and monitors for Windows requests for username/password events on the client machine. It works in the background to apply rules to each request or to notify a technician via mobile app. Technicians with the notification app can evaluate the request and build rules to either accept or deny the request.

“The key to the whole system is the fact that it has a real-time component, which is something where you don’t have to know what they’re going to do in advance; you don’t have to anticipate a particular version or particular thing they’re going to want to do,” Jones said. “If it’s something that hasn’t been defined, they can simply request the access, the technicians are notified with one click of a button on our notification app, and basically the MSP can approve or deny it. They can approve it for just that one time, they can approve for just that computer, and they can approve it for the location of the company or globally for all of their clients.”

Jones remembers the “heavy emotional burden” whenever he would go on vacation or do anything in his personal life because there was always …

… the “threat of a call from somebody who needs something that required me to remote into their computer.”

“So on many occasions … I had to have my little laptop and bag along with us so in case something arose that required that sort of thing, I could do it,” he said. “It was part of what I really hated about the MSP business, the fact that if you allow the user to do whatever they want to do, bad things will happen and they’ll call you, and if you lock them down and they can’t do it, then even simple things that they should be allowed to do, they call you. The expectation is you have to respond fast and you have to be available. I really believe this tool will make it easy and alleviate some of that burden as well.”

Slutkin said few MSPs are locking down admin privileges.

“The 10 percent are doing it across the board and then of that other 90 percent, some are locking down some and some are locking down nothing,” he said. “And this is something that’s going to help them deliver better service for their clients and help really protect them.”

Jones said the company’s first milestone marker is reaching 100,000 seats deployed, which he expects before the end of this year.

“Beyond that, our growth goals really aren’t so much in number of seats, but in probably number of integrations,” he said. “The next big things that we’re tackling are the integrations for Kaseya, SolarWinds MSP, Autotask and some of the other MSP RMM solutions.”

Sophos Unleashes Server Security Offering with Deep-Learning Technology

Sophos this week announced its Intercept X for Server, its next-generation server protection that provides constantly evolving security against cyber threats.

Sophos’ deep-learning neural networks are trained on hundreds of millions of samples to look for suspicious attributes of malicious code and prevent never-before-seen malware attacks, the company said. SophosLabs research shows 75 percent of malware found in an organization is unique to that organization, indicating the majority of malware is previously unknown.


Sophos’ Paul Murray

Paul Murray, product director at Sophos, tells us with many organizations still not understanding which technologies are needed to protect against exploits and ransomware, Sophos partners have a “significant opportunity to improve their customers’ protection with minimal impact, and grow revenue opportunities.”

“Organizations should rely on the channel to recommend the best protection against ongoing and sophisticated attacks, and this presents an opportunity for a reseller to partner with, and be a trusted adviser to, their customers,” he said. “Sophos Intercept X for Server is an ideal up-sell and cross-sell solution for partners to add to their security portfolio. Available on Sophos Central, the offering provides server-specific protection capabilities and integrates with …

… Sophos Synchronized Security for shared intelligence with Sophos XG Firewall.”

Intercept X for Server is cloud-ready, with native integrations with AWS and Microsoft Azure platforms, allowing partners to help customers migrate to and protect against threats in public clouds, Murray said.

“Since the introduction of Sophos Intercept X with its powerful exploit prevention capabilities for endpoints, and the subsequent addition of deep learning and active adversary mitigations to the product, there has been significant demand from customers for next-generation protection for server workloads,” he said. “Intercept X for Server now enables partners to address this demand with a product that combines the strong foundations of Sophos Server Protection with the full power of Intercept X, optimized for servers.”

Barracuda Extends Web Application Firewall to GCP

Barracuda Networks this week announced the availability of its CloudGen WAF on Google Cloud Platform (GCP), offering GCP customers enhanced protection, flexible billing options and automation capabilities.

Customers can migrate their existing applications while maintaining consistency and control by reusing existing Barracuda configurations and security policies for an easier experience.


Barracuda’s Jonathan Bregman

Jonathan Bregman, Barracuda’s product marketing manager, tells us CloudGen WAF on GCP allows partners to secure customers who are running apps on GCP with the same security offered on AWS and Azure.

“Feedback from our partners (and what we’re hearing from customers) is that customers are choosing their infrastructure on a per-app basis, and by extending CloudGen WAF to GCP, it offers partners a familiar and consistent way to deploy trusted app protections wherever customers want to run their apps,” he said.

“Bringing Barracuda’s CloudGen WAF to GCP will help customers adopt an even more comprehensive security architecture,” said Vineet Bhan, Google Cloud’s head of security partnerships. “We’re excited to roll out these capabilities and to continue collaboration with Barracuda to keep customers’ applications in the cloud secure.”

ALTR Blockchain-Based Data Security Platform Now Available as a Managed Service

ALTR has integrated its data-security platform with CAI (Computer Aid Inc.), making the platform available as a managed service through CAI.

As ALTR’s inaugural SI partner, CAI now offers the platform to its global roster of Fortune 1000 clients and public-sector customers that include major federal, state and local entities, making it possible for enterprises and other organizations to buy blockchain-enabled data security as a service.

“CAI is excited to offer our clients cutting-edge blockchain security for their highest-priority applications through our partnership with ALTR,” Thomas Helfrich, CAI’s chief technology officer, tells us. “As an implementation partner and managed-service provider of ALTR’s solution, CAI is able to configure ALTR for clients, develop custom connections to the ALTRchain, and provide third-party verification services on the only Blockchain-based data security solution.”

ALTR said the platform is the industry’s first software solution designed to harness blockchain’s structure and apply it to data security. CAI is now offering the platform, which includes monitoring, access and storage of critical information, as part of its technology lineup and consulting services.

“We’re thrilled to have signed up CAI as ALTR’s first managed-service provider for our next-generation data-security software platform,” said Dave Sikora, ALTR’s CEO. “ALTR’s software is perfectly suited for companies such as CAI [that] are building a world-class managed service that protects enterprise-critical data assets. CAI’s already strong position with enterprise software firms such as Workday and ServiceNow make them an ideal ALTR partner able to serve multiple industry segments.”

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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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