New unified Asio platform, new version of Automate highlight ConnectWise’s IT Nation Connect announcements

ConnectWise’s IT Nation Connect event re-emerged as a physical event, albeit with a virtual component, in which speakers addressed approximately 2800 MSPs in a real conference setting, with the accustomed conference components.

Registration at IT Nation Connect 2021 in Orlando

Wednesday evening, in the traditional pre-show floor dinner keynote that kicks off ConnectWise events, the company made a series of significant announcements at its IT Nation Connect show. They included the formal launch of the Asio platform that was announced at this event as year ago, which will bring all ConnectWise products onto one platform with one management console. Another major announcement is ConnectWise RMM, the latest version of Automate, rebranded as part of what ConnectWise said is a new company-wide policy of changing product names so that it is easier to know what they do.

IT Nation Connect this year is a hybrid show, available online, but also live in Orlando, where just shy of 2800 MSPs showed up, in addition to 120 vendors.

Jason McGee, ConnectWise’s CEO, spoke briefly about the paradoxical environment of today where the biggest dangers for MSPs are also their areas of greatest opportunity.

“There are two key areas here,” McGee said. “Cybersecurity is one, where we all need to be doing our part. The other is M&As, where you have lots of money coming into the MSP market and there is the expectation of maturity as a result. Those are both areas where you have to mature, but there are huge opportunities as well.?

McGee also dropped another item likely to please his audience.

“We have listened and learned, and we are going to make it easier to do business with ConnectWise,” he declared.

The major announcement at the event was ConnectWise’s next-generation platform, Asio, which was previewed at the event as a concept a year ago.

“A year ago we introduced this platform concept, and earlier this year, we  launched new product onto it,” said Jeff Bishop, ConnectWise’s Chief Product Officer. “We have built over 50 microservices on it that we have put together. We are re-imaging onboarding, ticketing, workflows, billing and much, much, much, more.”

Bishop stressed that Asio isn’t just a new platform, albeit one with fully open APIs, but is the unified platform that will bring together everything else on it, everything that ConnectWise sells.

“Asio is our way to take all the products we have and combine them together to help you be more successful,” Bishop told the audience. It will allow us to innovate faster, and to bring better security and a better user experience. It provides one place to access everything. It’s the way we bring all the data and the services together. We have been building 20-something different products, and we have been spending so much time keeping all those running as opposed to centralizing them in one place. We will now build them one time each on Asio, with a streamlined development process for all products.”

“An MSP said today that they have 17 different consoles,” said Raffale Marty, ConnectWise’s SVP, Product Management. “We want you to have one.”

The second major announcement was ConnectWise RMM, which is the next-generation of ConnectWise Automate. ConnectWise RMM, like all the new versions of ConnectWise solutions, is based on the Asio platform to benefit from its automation capabilities.

“ConnectWise RMM is Automate renewed, with upgraded scripting, patching, policy monitoring and virtualizing, all brought into the new Asio platform,” Bishop said.

There is more to come here as well.

“The ConnectWise RMM and ConnectWise PSA integration is coming out very soon,” said April Taylor, VP, Product Management at ConnectWise. “It will connect what was ConnectWise Manage to the platform, and provide an improved tech experience by bringing information from the RMM right into the ticket.”

Taylor said that when ConnectWise shared this with partners, the early feedback was very positive.

“This is just the start of what you will see with this integration,” Taylor said. “Earlier this year we integrated Billing Reconciliation into the platform, to help eliminate errors caused by monthly vendor price fluctuations. We also added a big time-saver through an integration with ConnectWise Marketplace. We are  also working on a SentinelOne integration which will be coming very soon.”

Raffale Marty, ConnectWise’s SVP, Product Management, reviewing security portfolio

Marty indicated that in Q1, ConnectWise will be launching an incident response service, and expanding Fortify Endpoint, which is now powered by Sentinel One, with another option that is powered by BitDefender.

Marty also announced that the ConnectWise Partner Program launched in May to help focused security partners build cybersecurity practices, and which now has more than 1000 partners in it, has now been opened to all ConnectWise MSPs.

“Now you can all join at the Registered level, and get access to basic information, including how to secure your own house,” he indicated.

Wes Spencer, VP and External CISO at ConnectWise, informed the audience about two new partnerships. The first is with MITRE, which works with government and in partnership with industry to improve security efficacy. The ConnectWise partnership will be specifically SMB-focused.

“It will give you a story to tell at the higher level,” Spencer told the audience. “It will help understand what’s happening at the SMB level, and a report will document this intelligence and findings from it.”

The second new relationship is with Microsoft.

“As of today, we have joined the Microsoft Active Protection Program,” Spencer said. “We now have access to emerging threat information specific to the Microsoft ecosystem, the only company in our area who has made it through their process and joined it. We now have access to their vetted feed in real time.”

The ConnectWise Online Community is also being expanded with a new emergency technical support line.

“At Evolve, we heard you say if something goes wrong security-wise, we need to be there for you,” said Steve Cochran, ConnectWise’s CTO. “1-888-WISE911 lets you talk to an InfoSec expert 24/7. It’s for emergencies, and is not a support line.”

Amy Lucia, ConnectWise’s CMO, also discussed new measures to increase the ease of doing business with the company.

“In the new year, we will bring IT Nation online so you can talk with each other and our product managers,” she said. “The pilot starts in December, and it rolls out in January.”

Lucia indicated that also starting in January, the existing quarterly road maps would also be accelerated to monthly ones. And she re-emphasized something other speakers had said earlier.

“Starting next year, we are realigning our product names to be more descriptive about what they are,” she said.