Continuum held its sold-out Navigate 2016 conference this week in Boston at the Seaport World Trade Center. About 700 attendees heard from Continuum execs, partners, sponsors and Boston Celtics legend Bill Walton. The company is celebrating five years in its current iteration and now has 5,800 MSPs signed on who support some 60,000 customers, mostly SMBs. It monitors about 1 million endpoints and more than 250,000 servers, and has five offices and 1,300 employees globally.
Dee Zepf, Continuum’s VP of partner success, told me that the company’s sole focus is its partners. It doesn’t sell direct, and it offers marketing and enablement to help MSPs succeed. Zepf also established Continuum University, which offers free technical certification training.
“It’s good for partners and it’s good for us when their people are up to speed,” said Zepf.
And, given that Continuum supports both on premises and cloud-based servers and endpoints, she has insight into cloud adoption among SMB end customers. “It’s going slower than we expected,” she said, but Azure has an edge. “These are largely Microsoft shops.”
Zepf says that the skills crunch is real, but the company’s distributed setup helps, as does its business model. “We can offer IT people a real career path,” said Zepf.
Among product announcements is a new Reporting API that allows open access to agent asset data by third party vendors and Continuum’s MSP partners.
“We are happy to answer the call from our MSP partners to provide access to Continuum’s raw reporting data to allow integration with their third-party vendors in order to build custom reports in-house, streamline documentation and more,” said Brian Herr, vice president, Products, in a statement. “We expect this new open API to be used for endless opportunities for partners to increase their workflow efficiencies.”
The API provides access to more than 200 data fields, ranging from basic machine information to patching, antivirus and backup data.
Channel Partners attended Navigate 2016. Click through our image gallery for pictures of the event and a recap.
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Before Bill Walton took the stage, Continuum CEO Michael George highlighted the company’s history of investing through its Continuum Veteran’s Foundation, which focuses on helping vets reenter the civilian job market, often in IT. Continuum contributes 1 percent of profits and 1 percent of employee time — that adds up to 1,300 people committed to spending 20 hours per year and $200,000 over three years.
In recognition, Francisco Urena, the Massachusetts Secretary of Veterans Affairs, attended the conference and said thanks while plugging the Commonwealth as a leader in providing services for vets.
Boston Celtics and broadcasting legend Bill Walton drew a crowd. Award-winning sportswriter Jackie McMullen introduced Walton with some anecdotes, including the fact that he won an Emmy for a documentary on endangered Philippine monkey-eating eagles.
“Don’t make the mistake of thinking Bill Walton is just a basketball player,” said McMullen. That’s an understatement.
Walton told the crowd that there are four keys to success: balance (what are you gonna do when Shaq shows up?); quickness (agility has nothing to do with how fast your feet move); creative imagination and empathy (knowing that life’s not easy for the other guy); and confidence (not just talking, but developing skills so you’re ready when you get to take the shot).
Walton – a lifelong stutterer – spoke for close to an hour without a hitch and reminded partners to move, but with deliberation.
“All progress requires change, but not all change is progress,” he said.
Webroot returned as Titanium sponsor of Navigate. Continuum RMM bundles Webroot SecureAnywhere Business Endpoint Protection. The company does next-generation endpoint security and cloud-based collective threat intelligence, and Nick Emanuel, director of endpoint product management, told Channel Partners that the company’s 6,500 MSP partners like the product for one big reason: speed.
Continuum announced that IT Glue now integrates its documentation solution with Continuum RMM. Partners may now pull key data sets into IT Glue and access information on memory, disk, CPU and more directly.
The integration leverages the new Continuum Reporting API, which allows vendors to obtain raw reporting data from Continuum to build custom reports in-house. IT Glue product specialist Adrian Macartney says the product is about gathering knowledge into one place to help MSPs and agents be more productive — the company says IT pros waste several hours per day looking for information that would be better consolidated in one place.
The solution collects documentation, such as standard operating procedures, and includes a knowledge base; password management; and asset, relationship and device tracking.
Jacqui Murphy, VP of marketing, says the Canadian company is looking to expose U.S. agents and MSPs to its cloud-based, automated network-operations system. It stresses a streamlined GUI and straightforward pricing along with a calculator to figure out just how much time your technicians are wasting on troubleshooting and other routine tasks.
Mike Buratowski, SVP of cybersecurity services for Fidelis Cybersecurity, says it’s possible to pivot to an MSSP business, with big potential profit upside.
First, build a strong incident-response team and put some relationships in place with a variety of security providers, from emergency clean-up to forensics to cyber-counsel firms that offer attorney/client privilege and advice on notifications. Do some IR planning around detection, notifications, communications with customers and finally recovery. Get proactive with customer defense. And of course, realize that although most events happen at 9 pm on Friday, you can’t delay.
“Speed is of the essence,” says Buratowski. “Deal with it now and work with it 24/7 until it’s fixed.”
He closed with praise for building BC/DR into any security offering, a strength of the Continuum product set, and a reminder that attackers may not always be smart, but they’re determined.
“If you want to be successful in cybersecurity, you need visibility across the network and endpoints, sign the check because you’re done,” he said.