Solarwinds MSP launches Threat Monitoring Service Program for MSSPs, and through Master MSSPs for small MSPs

SolarWinds launches a Threat Monitoring service based on their Trusted Metrics acquisition, in a go-to-market model designed to make it widely available to partners, but in a way that the company thinks maximizes the chances of success for specific partners.

Tim Brown, vice president of security at SolarWinds

At their Empower event in Scottsdale, Solarwinds MSP has announced the launch of their new SolarWinds Threat Monitoring Service Program. Based on the technology and the SOCs acquired with Trusted Metrics in July, the service is available in two distinct flavours. Established MSSPs and MSP partners who have made the necessary investment in threat monitoring capability, and who SolarWinds MSP believes will be successful in the new endeavour, can sign up directly. Smaller MSPs can participate as well, however, by signing up with a Master MSSP in a variation on the telco Master-Agent model.

This kind of Threat Monitoring capability is something that SolarWinds MSP did not have previously.

“SolarWinds has a good log management product in their portfolio,  but it is not designed for medium sized MSP business, and to retrofit it for MSPs and make it multi-tier would have been difficult,” said Tim Brown,  vice president of security at SolarWinds. “We have always been trying to get MSPs to reach a level of good hygiene in addressing security for their clients. 2017 data indicate that 58 per cent of new events are now targeted at SMBs, because they are an easier target. MSPs need to do the basics in locking down systems, run AV, patch regularly, and manage well, but they need the ability to do monitoring, and we were missing the ability to give them that. In today’s world, threats move so fast, that we need to be really proactive. The Threat Monitoring Service takes this to the next level, letting MSPs monitor and get immediate alerts as opposed to waiting for a report. It’s really critical for MSPs to get proactive.”

Trusted Metrics checked off all the boxes that SolarWinds was looking for.

“With the SolarWinds model, we look for fantastic technology that didn’t have enough sales and marketing to be huge and super-successful,” Brown said. “We look at markets that have been out of reach for the midmarket, because we can reach the mass market – if we have great technology. We see the SIEM market as ripe for disruption. It is dominated by expensive players targeted at the enterprise, not the midmarket. The Trusted Metrics team was also MSSPs before, and the product was built for MSSPS. Our Threat Monitor will span a number of SolarWinds businesses and be offered through the core side of the company too, to IT pros. Being able to acquire this kind of solution that can go across our channels of business is incredible, and we look to do more of that in the future.”

SolarWinds MSP has a clear two-tiered strategy to take the Threat Monitoring Service to market. Established MSSP partners can sell it. So can MSPs who Solarwinds MSP think have made the investment to become successful at it. However, Solarwinds MSP wants the large majority of MSP partners to access the service through a designated MSSP partner, in something approximating a telco master-agent model.

“Event management systems aren’t for everyone,” Brown said. “I’m not pushing it out to all my MSPs. It takes people. It takes knowledge. It takes investment, to do it by themselves. A number of MSPs are smaller, but still have medium and high-risk clients who could benefit from this monitoring. We are solving this by encouraging them to partner with an MSSP.”

Two such MSSPs have been so designated at the start, as TMSPs. London-based Falanx Group has more than 20 years of experience in security and SOC services, serving a wide range of vertical sectors with a complete portfolio of security services. Salt Lake City-headquartered Secuvant is focused on providing business-driven cybersecurity solutions to the SMB market.

“These two who we have blessed are partners we can trust, who were both strong Trusted Metrics partners,” Brown said. “We are playing a matchmaker role here. We aren’t trying to be a service provider and compete with our partners. We want to make matches between MSPs and MSSPs – then we step away. This matchmarking lets small MSPs enter into threat monitoring in a way that they can be successful, and sets us up to engage with the entire market.”

Brown said that many MSPs want to jump in and become MSSPs, but Solarwinds MSP wants to maximize their changes of success.

“We just want to be cautious about people who want to be MSSPs, who aren’t yet ready,” he said. “Partner first for six months, and  learn things. Build up skillsets first!”

The number of TMSPs will be increased going forward.

“We will absolutely expand in the future, but we want to start off slow, to make sure the quality of the service is where it needs to be,” Brown said. “These two give us good regional coverage and we can manage the ramp-up. A measured approach will guarantee us more success.”

Brown said that this announcement is getting great buzz at the event.

“The excitement around the threat monitoring is very real for MSSPs,” he said. “Last night one partner told me that he comes to this kind of event looking for three nuggets, things he can take back and implement tomorrow to make his business more successful. At this event, he said he already has ten.”