Continuum launches Empower program to enable MSPs to build a cybersecurity practice

Empower provides a much more focused approach to the security sale than tools that Continuum has provided in the past, which includes a new assessment service to identify gaps in customer security, and dark web monitoring to show customers what has already been stolen from them.

Continuum Security Assess endpoint report

Remote monitoring and management [RMM] provider Continuum has launched a new subscription-based offering for their MSPs designed to help address customers’ security issues and communicate solutions effectively to them. The Empower program includes new services, specifically a dark web monitoring ability to illustrate vulnerability to customers, and a new assessment and reporting service that identifies gaps in customer security.

“We see security as the biggest opportunity and the biggest risk for MSPs today,” said Brian Downey, Senior Director, Security Product Management at Continuum. “One of the key challenges is communicating it in a way that their clients can understand. That’s what this is focused on.”

As publicity around media breaches draws more attention to security, that creates the opportunity. The problem for MSPs is that security skills are very different from ordinary MSP ones, and that building out – and retaining – the kind of team necessary to become an MSSP is a major investment. It is also a difficult transition for the generalist even if those resources are available.

Brian Downey, Senior Director, Security Product Management at Continuum

“IT skills help drive a foundation for security, but from going from being an IT expert to a security expert is a massive leap,” Downey said. “It requires certain skillsets. To become an expert in it all is an unfair ask for any MSP. But MSPs who cant meet the security needs of clients today will struggle to stay in business. Clients need a trusted advisor to help them with security. If you have to pull someone else in to do this, you’ve lost a lot of that credibility. That’s a recipe for a bad outcome.”

Continuum sees Empower as the ingredient needed to change the recipe, that will enable MSPs to provide security in a profitable manner without them having to invest in becoming MSSPs.

“The goal here is how can we make them successful to drive a security practice without them becoming a security expert, to get them to the point of being able to ‘talk the talk’ with customers,” Downey stated. “Empower enables that. As we were working for the last two years with MSPs around security, we found a common thread. MSPs struggled mapping solutions that they had to the needs of the clients. That’s because they are communicating a fairly complex concept to someone with no security background, as well as often no technical background. That can be challenging. Empower was birthed on solving that problem. How can we drive this demand for clients?”

Continuum sees the answer as enabling MSPs to highlight risks and easily demonstrate how they can be reduced.

“The cornerstone of Empower is a new assessment report,  Continuum Security Assess, that we have built out,” Downey said. It identifies end-client security gaps and generates customer-facing reports to illustrate those gaps.

Continuum Dark Web report

Dark web monitoring, which shows customers assets from their organization that have been stolen already and are available for sale illegally on the Internet, is a new capability which is an excellent way to get a prospect’s attention.

“We determined that MSPs needed something more pointed to sell security that would create compelling events around security, which is where dark web monitoring comes in,” Downey added. “It’s about trying to personalize security. Just saying there are risks out there is a harder sell. You need to ground it in something more personal, and adding dark web monitoring does that.”

In addition to the dark web monitoring, another approach Empower utilizes is peer comparisons.

“Are you above average or below average on security in comparison with your peers,” Downey said. “For non-technical clients, this is something that resonates with them. That’s really the first part of it. With that, once you have someone interested, we provide further licenses, marketing materials and proof of concepts.”

Downey said that Continuum has provided some of these sales and marketing enablement tools to MSPs in the past, but the difference here is how they are all integrated into a focused strategy around the security sale.

Unlike these past tools, Empower is not free for MSPs, although Downey said that the pricing has been kept simple and low-barrier.

“All of it is priced at an MSP level, and doesn’t scale up with usage,” he stated. “It is straightforward and inexpensive.”

Empower is sold by subscription in two forms, Empower and Empower Plus. The regular Empower provide MSPs with access to Continuum Security Assess, which identifies end-client security gaps and generates customer-facing reports to illustrate them. It also adds licenses for the Continuum Security product suite, and the dark web monitoring.

“What Empower Plus adds is creating that demand and executing on it for a client, to overcome the ‘I’m too small for it to happen to me’ mindset,” Downey said. “Nothing could be further from the truth, but it can still be a hard thing to convince them. So with Empower Plus we have given them the ability to run more advanced tools in an alert-only mechanism, to help MSPs highlight how prolific these attacks are, It also includes incident response time with our SOC for up to two events per year.”