While cyber insurance policies offered by RMM/PSA providers or MSP-focused vendors have grown in number in the last several years, Cork believes the way their offering works is distinct and superior.
Today Cork, a Boston-based cyber assurance startup which focuses exclusively on MSPs and their SMB customers, is launching their Early Access Program in Canada. This comes on the heels of a similar Early Access launch in May in the U.S. market. The general availability of the Cork Protection platform to U.S.-based MSPs was also announced today.
Carlson Choi, Cork’s CEO, said that three numbers – 39, 70 and 5 – inspired the creation of the company.
“Every 39 seconds globally, an SMB is compromised by a cyber attack,” he said. “70 is the percentage of SMBs globally not protected by any insurance for cyber. Five is their average cashflow if they get attacked, the number of days they can keep the business flowing.”
The two main investors behind the company are Jon McNeill of DBX Ventures, who formerly was involved with Tesla and Lyft, and Austin McCord, the former founder and CEO of Datto.
“From Day One Austin said that this must be an MSP product,” Choi noted.
Choi said that there have been three fundamental issues with cyber insurance policies from an MSP’s perspective.
“Cyber insurance application forms have been long, making the underwriting process similar to analog in a completely digital world,” he said. “Once the client purchases an insurance policy, the relationship between them is changed and the MSP has no particular reason to want to prevent a successful attack. Finally, at the end of the day, the MSP is out of the equation.”
In contrast to other cyber protection policies available through MSPs, Choi emphasized that Cork offers a cyber assurance product rather than cyber insurance or a warranty.
“Others have designed their policies as a business partner arrangement rather than a technology arrangement,” he said. “We call this an ‘outside in’ relationship. They scan the client to create a security score, but this doesn’t benefit the client. What does benefit the client is ensuring that the carrier and vendor are accountable to protect an attack from happening. These two are linked together with us in what we call an ‘inside out’ process. We invest in engineering to prevent attacks from happening, and our loss control is about doing a better job to prevent an attack from happening.”
Choi also pointed out that MSPs can sell-though with a markup on the offering.
“MSPs for regulatory reasons in other models can’t get additional benefits,” he said. “They can here because this is a cyber assurance product to prevent an attack from happening.”
Cork integrates to the existing security stack.
“We have a ‘Bring Your Own Security Stack’ policy because we know that multiple RMM and EDR products are common in the business,” Choi said. “Few MSPs buy everything from one provider, so we will underwrite what is in the stack. It’s also very simple. Our demo we have been using in the U.S. takes four minutes. And if something does happen, we provide a clean process that is not painful and ends within 30 days.”
Choi stressed that there is no similar product that can do what Cork can.
“We continuously monitor for variance and contrasts, and because we monitor for problems, we will tell the MSP to make changes before a client is compromised,” he said. “The safer the environment is, the more margin the MSP makes. We encourage clients to have a safer environment, rather than penalizing with higher rates when something happens.”
When Cork came out of stealth in June and opened the Early Access program in the U.S., MSP interest was extremely strong.
“Within three weeks we had more than 300 MSP partners in the US,” Choi said. “So we closed access to the Early Access program, and spent the summer learning what the MSP needs to do to sell this. Demand continued to grow, and we learned how to shape the strategy for selling.” They have developed a toolkit, Cork in a Box, to take it to market, and take advantage of what Cork has already learned in the US market.
In order to avoid being overwhelmed in the Canadian early access program, Cork decided to start with a couple of partners first. These two partners are allCare IT and Silicon Valley Services. Jim Cooper, the CEO of Silicon Valley Services, based in Embrun, Ontario, was insistent on being the first MSP in the program when he found out about Cork’s offering and the way that it works.
“We are looking for Canadian partners with this kind of passion about Cork,” Choi stated. “We are also looking for MSPs that are security aware and focused, as many MSPs are not.”
Cork is hosting a webinar today at 1:00 p.m. ET with Choi, Ryan Weeks, Security Advisor for Cork, and Jim Cooper from Silicon Valley Services, To register for the webinar, visit https://corkinc.com/join-our-webinar/.
Canadian MSPs will also be able to participate in the upcoming MSP Roadshow event coming to Toronto in November. For more details on this event and the Cork partner program, email [email protected].