Key Takeaways from IT Nation Connect 2022
ConnectWise is helping technology service providers with managing IT
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If I learned anything from IT Nation Connect, it’s that managed IT providers—“technology service providers” (TSPs) in the ConnectWise lexicon—have a difficult and thankless job. They are expected to procure, setup, maintain, secure, and support the critical systems (and the people who use them) that serve as the backbone of healthy, profitable, growing businesses. No two customers are the same, so managed IT providers must be prepared to deal with the nuanced needs and requirements for each customer, and they must provide those services at a better quality and for a lower cost than what the customer can. This is hard enough on its own, but today’s managed IT providers must pull it off in a super tight labor market that created the terms “the great resignation” and “quiet quitting.”
|Despite Hurricane Maria barreling over Orlando, managed IT providers from across
the country were able to attend IT Nation Connect.
The folks at ConnectWise certainly understand this struggle and have built a business around overcoming it. At IT Nation, ConnectWise spent three days making the case for how its portfolio of cybersecurity, unified monitoring and management, as well as business management platforms and services can help TSPs overcome that struggle.
Managing Through the Chaos on the Infinite Edge
It's such a chaotic time to be in the managed IT business. So much has changed in such a short period of time. Thanks to COVID-19, we saw an explosion in the usage of cloud technology and “Internet of Things” (IoT) devices by business looking to optimize processes and support effective distributed working environments. And the adoption of this technology is about a lot more than enabling workers to get their job done anytime, anywhere, and from any device. Soon, virtually every device that businesses use—from the thermostat in the back office to the tools and equipment that they use in the field, warehouse, manufacturing facilities and so on—will be an Internet connected device with powerful compute capabilities that is tied into one or more backend system. And it’s going to be the job of IT professionals to make sure that these systems are secure and functioning properly 24/7/365.
This new environment, described as the “Infinite Edge” by ConnectWise, has its pros and cons. On the one hand, cloud solutions and IoT devices are enabling businesses to find that “next gear” of productivity. On the other, the Infinite Edge is exponentially more complicated to manage and secure. There is more information flowing from more devices outside of IT’s control than ever; the attack surface is expanding, and it will only grow larger. It’s no surprise that cyberattacks are up 81% since the onset of the pandemic.
ConnectWise’s portfolio aims to make the Infinite Edge much more manageable. Its flagship product, ConnectWise Asio Platform, provides managed IT providers with all the tools they need to monitor, manage, support, and secure their customers’ environment. Unified monitoring and management capabilities and cybersecurity tools enable managed IT providers to keep tabs on end points, networks, and information systems, detect abnormalities and anomalies, provide back-up and recovery services, as well as rectify problems remotely as soon as they are detected.
The solution also comes with business management features—including sales, quote, proposal, and business intelligence solutions—to help managed IT providers optimize their day to day. Remember, being a successful managed IT provider isn’t only about computer wizardry and being the best services provider. ConnectWise’s tools aim to give managed IT providers an edge over the competition by making it easy to be a savvy business operator.
Announcements and Updates
ConnectWise announced new partnerships and product updates over the course of the event, including:
- ConnectWise Access Management is a privileged access management solution that provides temporary administrative access and approval/denial of end user elevation requests without the use of credentials. This eliminates the need to share passwords and ensures that only legitimate privilege escalations are granted.
- Integration between ConnectWise-branded and partner products enables IT professionals to handle more tasks through a single pane of glass, rather than having to switch between applications.
- Expanded partnership with Arrow enables integration between ConnectWise and Arrow, so TSPs can simplify product search, quote, procurement, subscription management, and client billing.
- ConnectWise will expand its partner program to help TSPs get their business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) services off the ground. BCDR is a vital component to combatting the impact of ransomware and natural disasters (like a fire).
- ConnectWise announced the formation of its Product Security Response Team and ConnectWise Labs. The former is tasked with “ensuring cybersecurity is baked into products from planning to design, to execution,” while the latter is focused on analyzing data to proactively identify and fix problems that TSPs don’t even know about yet.
- ConnectWise and CompTIA announced the next phase of their apprenticeship program Ticket to Tech. The program will provide the training that tech job-seekers need to get an entry-level IT job.
- Expanded cybersecurity portfolio includes the ConnectWise Vulnerability Management (automatically scans the environment for exposures and vulnerabilities), SASE by ConnectWise + Exium (end point protection), and Identity Management by ConnectWise + Evo (multifactor authentication, single-sign on, and privilege elevation tool).
Keypoint Intelligence Opinion
As hard as it is to be a managed IT provider in today’s market, the job will only get more difficult as businesses become more reliant on all kinds of interconnected gizmos, gadgets, and software. This shouldn’t discourage any office equipment dealer from launching its own managed IT practice. Afterall, it’s the difficulty and expense that comes with managing these environments that makes a managed IT provider attractive in the first place. Rarely are the things that are worth doing simple and easy.
Thankfully, there is a large community of software developers and service providers that can help managed IT providers—whether they’ve existed for a decade or are still in the planning stages of launch their business—with the daunting task of keeping their clients IT environment secure, up, and always running.
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