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Warm off the presses! Just five days after last week’s ConnectWise conference! Here’s the latest from Auvik, Mailprotector, Rewst, and the artist formerly known as Malwarebytes for Business.
The giant expo hall at last week’s ConnectWise IT Nation Connect conference housed dozens of vendors, many of which shared news, notes, and insights with Channelholic. Here, somewhat belatedly, are some highlights of what they told me.
Mailprotector’s newest product does a lot more than protect mail
I suspect the biggest problem Mailprotector will have with its latest solution, named Shield, is explaining exactly what it does to potential users.
The company refers to the new system, which is currently in a private beta and due for wider release within weeks, as an “email control” product. There’s a reason you’ve not heard that term before. Though the three functions Shield performs—which Mailprotector summarizes as protection, privacy, and productivity—are available individually in other solutions, there’s nothing else out there I’m aware of that combines them all in one channel-ready, multitenant package with full Microsoft Outlook integration.
The protection part is the system’s most familiar component. Like a lot of other email security solutions, Shield automatically filters out spam, viruses, and phishing messages, albeit in what Mailprotector says is a more thorough manner.
“A lot of what I’ll call lazy phishing security layers just look at the URL in the email and try to basically look for is it bad,” says Ben Hathaway, Mailprotector’s CTO. Shield, by contrast, examines the entire path of destinations skillful attackers can use to fool inattentive security software.
“A lot of phishing goes through a legitimate website to a not legitimate website,” Hathaway observes.
Shield superimposes a security “heads-up display” on messages as well to flag potential issues with their sender and content. Users who choose to investigate a suspicious email can click through to an isolated “x-ray” site hosted on Mailprotector servers for details about who it’s from, where they’re located, their reputation, and more, along with information about links, redirects, and attachments in the message.
Privacy features in the product include the ability to “lock” individual messages you don’t want either intruders or administrative assistants to see, and support for automatically blocking spyware hidden in graphics.
“We all leave images turned off because we know of the trackers and problems in images,” says David Setzer (pictured), Mailprotector’s founder and CEO. “We’ve been able to turn images back on and it’s like, ‘oh, wait a minute, this is what an email is supposed to look like.’”
It’s Shield’s productivity functionality, however, that moves it beyond the realm of email security and privacy into a category all its own. After installation, the system studies your inbox and outbox to see what you consider valuable enough to read and what you simply delete. Messages from senders you never interact with get screened out automatically. A “review folder” separate from your inbox lets you indicate which first-time senders you trust and which you don’t.
“Every interaction you have to trust or silence or move a message around trains what we call a desirability model, which is the neural network learning your specific preferences as a user,” Hathaway says. “Very quickly as we start to train that, it starts making those decisions for you.”
Before long, he continues, only a trickle of messages you actually want to receive make it through. The result is what Mailprotector likens to noise cancelling headphones for your inbox. “You can get in, communicate with the people you want, get the messages from the people you want, and get out,” Hathaway says.
A special “bundle folder,” meanwhile, stores messages from authorized senders like newsletters and LinkedIn notifications that users typically skim rather than read at length. The system can produce AI-generated summaries of those emails too.
“Cut maybe that 20 minutes you spend on less important email down to two, and then do that five days a week and however many days a year, and you’re talking hours of time saved,” Hathaway says. “I think is going to be one of those killer features of this product.”
Together with its protection and privacy features, Mailprotector says only half tongue in cheek, Shield returns email back to what it was in 1985 when every message you got was one you wanted and there was no such thing as ransomware.
“It’s not a threat to be feared anymore. It’s not a chore to be managed,” Setzer says.
Pricing on the product when it’s fully in market will be per user per month with volume discounts. Its ROI, though, will include less tangible, psychological benefits.
“People literally are afraid of their email because of the threats that get through,” Hathaway says. “You shouldn’t have fear, distractions, noise, and all that stuff in one of the most powerful communication tools that exists.”
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Auvik is readying an endpoint management solution
Auvik’s steadily expanding portfolio has an endpoint management system coming.
You’ll have to wait for it, though. The solution isn’t due to ship until next summer. When it arrives, users will find it to be a network-oriented supplement to the RMM tools they otherwise employ to handle endpoint management, rather than a replacement, according to Bob Gault (pictured), Auvik’s chief revenue officer.
“It’s a platform that’ll allow us to detect, diagnose, and remediate network events in a virtual way,” he says.
The forthcoming system, based on technology Auvik acquired along with remote management vendor Boardgent a year ago, will be the latest addition to a product family that’s been steadily evolving in recent years to accommodate a new set of network management requirements in the age of cloud-first, mobile-first computing.
Other recently added solutions include Chanalyzer, a Wi-Fi management offering based on software acquired along with MetaGeek last April, and Auvik SaaS Management (ASM), which is based on tech purchased with Saaslio last October.
Collectively, all of those products are designed to give MSPs and IT departments a complete set of integrated tools for managing and monitoring networks that today span from the cloud to workplaces and home offices to laptops, mobile phones, and tablets.
ASM has generated early enthusiasm among Auvik partners since its release in July, according to Stacey Tozer, Auvik’s director of channel. “It’s been even stronger than we anticipated,” she says of demand for the product, noting that MSPs appreciate the strategic client conversations ASM’s SaaS consumption tracking data enables.
“It gives them that authority to kind of go in as the vCIO to say, ‘I actually have recommendations on how we can reduce costs and save money and truly be a business partner,’ versus just delivering IT services,” Tozer says.
Tozer heads up the first-ever partner program Auvik introduced in July. Though it welcomes MSPs, the program’s chief goal is recruiting and rewarding partners who resell Auvik software to mid-market IT departments. Cultivating such buyers is a priority for Great Hill Partners, the private equity firm that invested $250 million in Auvik two years ago and helped fund the vendor’s acquisition spree.
“Auvik has been in business and working with MSPs for a really long time, and we’ve been expanding that into the VAR space as well,” Tozer notes.
And VARs want partner programs, Gault adds. “To be relevant in the partner community, you need a program. It’s almost that simple,” he says. “You need a program that’s structured in a way that customers and partners know that we’re investing in them.”
Evidence of investment in the case of the Auvik Partner Program include tier-dependent benefits like discounts, training materials, a best practices library, lead sharing, and MDF. Members also get access to free copies of Auvik software that they can use for business development with end users.
“Think of it as an extended trial or demo that will provide them the ability to use the platform as a network assessment tool,” Gault explains.
Rewst adds front-end applications to back-end automations
Rewst, the robotic process automation vendor for MSPs, has introduced its second solution, a low code application builder designed to help partners provide easier access to automations in more flexible, sophisticated ways.
Called App Platform, the new system is a “front end to automations,” according to Rewst founder and CEO Aharon Chernin (pictured).
Rewst’s base application comes with a form builder MSPs can use to create self-serve automations for their customers, but it only lets partners direct clients to those forms via URLs.
“They’ll have a document that they share with their clients on how to engage with us, and then a list of the URLs will be in that document,” Chernin says. “They didn’t have a webpage or web presence to be able to share those forms.”
Most MSPs don’t know how to build one easily either. App Platform aims to close that gap by helping people with little to no coding experience build full-blown, user-friendly applications with simple drag-and-drop tools.
MSPs who use those tools to create intuitive self-serve portals will enjoy an edge over competitors, according to Chernin. “That experience for that customer with that MSP is going to be dramatically different than a different MSP where the way they interact with them is through emails and phone calls,” he says.
Applications built through App Platform can run more powerful automations than the Rewst solution’s native form builder makes possible, like displaying real-time SLA metrics or running reports for example.
App Platform is currently in alpha testing that almost any Rewst partner can join. “All you have to do is apply for access and the application process asks you a few questions,” Chernin says. “We’re looking for some specific skill sets to participate.”
Chernin expects the alpha phase of development to last four to eight weeks. “Then we’ll switch to beta and the beta should be open to everybody that’s a customer,” he says.
When fully in production, App Platform will be available to Rewst users at no extra cost. “We’re just trying to lift up the value of the product by adding additional features to it,” Chernin says.
Rewst began work on App Platform a year ago, roughly six months after shipping the first edition of its core product. “It was very risky for us to do it. We’re a young startup building a product that has just gotten product market fit,” Chernin says. “We saw the need was so big that we took the gamble to split the team up in two to start working on this new product.”
News about App Platform broke mere hours after ConnectWise unveiled a robotic process automation tool of its own called ConnectWise RPA and just weeks after Kaseya introduced its “Cooper Bots” RPA offering during its DattoCon event. Chernin views both solutions as fuel for a larger trend toward managed services hyperautomation rather than competitive threats.
“I think it’s good that all the bigger players are getting into it,” he says. “Without the bigger players getting into the market, our market wasn’t legitimized.”
In addition to Rewst, smaller hyperautomation players include Pia and MSPbots. Unlike ConnectWise RPA and Kaseya’s Cooper Bots, products from all three companies integrate with a wide range of RMM and PSA solutions.
“We are vendor neutral. We’ll always be vendor neutral,” Chernin says. “That is a big differentiator with the Kaseya and ConnectWise options, because they’re really going to focus on their own ecosystems.”
Rewst has attracted close to 400 partners in the nearly 18 months since its flagship solution’s launch.
Malwarebytes for Business has a new name and its first solution bundles
Malwarebytes for Business has rolled out a new brand and four new solution bundles for its growing menu of security services.
Re-branding the unit is meant to distinguish it from a parent company widely known for consumer offerings, according to Malwarebytes CMO Gary Sevounts (pictured). The new name, ThreatDown, blends something businesses associate with security and something they want from a security vendor.
“It’s all about threats and bringing the threat levels down,” Sevounts says.
At present, ThreatDown is bundling only the reseller editions of its products, with similar MSP bundles coming soon. All four bundles available now include incident response, antivirus, device control, application blocking, and vulnerability assessments. Higher end subscriptions add services like EDR, MDR, and website content filtering.
Pricing ranges from $69 per endpoint per month for the Core subscription to $119 for the Ultimate plan. According to Sevounts, those are competitive rates for a package of services from a single supplier deployed on a single agent.
“Our MSPs and their customers can have this very rich technology that is very simple and easy to use and deploy, and they don’t have to deal with 15 different vendors,” he says.
ThreatDown plans to augment all four bundles with additional services in the future without raising rates, according to Brian Kane, ThreatDown’s director of global MSP programs.
“Even in that Core product, that base bundle, we’re continuing over the next little bit of time to add more product without increasing the price,” he says. “We’re increasing the profit.”
All four bundles include the security health scoring solution previewed by Channelholic in June. Named Security Advisor, that system officially shipped during IT Nation Connect alongside ThreatDown’s brand and bundles.
MSPs are currently ThreatDown’s fastest growing channel. Kane gives much of the credit for that trend to the company’s compact, all-encompassing 16 MB agent, which he says many partners prefer to installing a performance-sapping collection of agents.
“That’s one of the complaints that we hear about competitors,” he says. “The computers are slowing down because they’re constantly scanning.” MSPs also like ThreatDown’s intuitive management console and streamlined deployment process, Kane adds.
ThreatDown’s portfolio will be officially certified for use on the ConnectWise Asio platform shortly. “We’ve integrated and continue to expand our integrations with multiple partners,” Kane says.