Bonus Post: What the Future Holds for Exhibitors at Pax8 Beyond

There were 86 vendors in the expo hall at Pax8 Beyond 2023, the cloud distributor’s inaugural partner conference in Denver this week. When they weren’t talking to the 1,100 MSPs at the show, they were generously making time to tell Channelholic what they have in store soon for their partners and SMB end users. But before we dive into that, though, let’s explore a product launched during the show and available now.

Apptega Edge blends compliance, cyberinsurance, and more

Apptega, a newcomer to the MSP channel, has shipped its first compliance-as-a-service solution. And its first security software marketplace. And its first automated cyberinsurance solution.

All three functions are actually components of a single fully-integrated product called Apptega Edge, introduced this Monday and aimed squarely at MSPs.

“It’s all wrapped together as one really easy to use platform,” says Armistead Whitney, Apptega’s CEO (pictured).

A multi-tenant system, Edge draws on links to third-party security applications to assess an end user’s compliance with 25 regulations and frameworks, ranging from CMMC, HIPAA, and GDPR to SOC2, CIS, and the NIST Cybersecurity Framework.

It then generates a list of gaps in the current environment, suggests security products that will fill those gaps, and provides automated tools for buying and provisioning those products through a customized online marketplace.

Last but not least, the system leverages automated data-sharing connections to SeedPod Cyber and other insurers to help users get discounted cyberinsurance in a matter of days without the hassle of completing a lengthy questionnaire.

“They’ve basically said if you bring us companies that have done these 15, 20, 25, 30 things, they’re basically pre-qualified,” says Whitney of Apptega’s insurance partners.

Edge imports data automatically during assessments via integrations with roughly 30 security solutions. “By the end of the year, we’ll probably have about 70,” Whitney says.

Further integrations with PSA platforms from ConnectWise and Kaseya, among others, automatically produce a ticket for each compliance issue a client needs to address. The online marketplace, which fulfills customer orders through Pax8, lets MSPs limit purchasing to specific products they’ve standardized on in a variety of categories.

According to Whitney, Edge gives MSPs everything they need to launch a recurring revenue compliance practice, cross-sell and upsell new security products, and help clients get cyber coverage faster and less expensively.

In business seven years, Apptega initially sold single-tenant compliance management products to mid-market and enterprise customers, before adding a multi-tenant system for MSSPs three years ago. The suggestion to create a solution for MSPs came from Pax8.

“They said, ‘hey, if you build a lightweight version of your platform for MSPs, we’ll take that to market for you,’” Whitney explains.

Other Edge features include a white-labeled portal, compliance reports suitable for use in quarterly business reviews, and “ApptegaGPT,” an AI-based tool offering virtual CISO advice.

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Axcient’s supplementing SaaS data protection with IaaS data protection

Axcient, whose BDR philosophy we wrote about in last week’s Channelholic, plans to introduce significantly enhanced backup functionality for infrastructure-as-a-service workloads.

“Where we’re headed next is to do more with public cloud—Azure, AWS, and Google—to make sure that that data can be moved offsite when customers want to get that into a different environment for protection purposes,” says Rod Mathews, Axcient’s president and CEO. “Azure offers some of those services today, but it’s all stored in the same infrastructure, in the same data centers, so if there’s an overall issue with Azure for whatever reason, you might not be able to get to that data.”

The new capabilities will substantially deepen currently limited IaaS protection in Axcient’s x360Cloud product, which is principally designed to backup Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace data.

“It’s something we already do today in a basic way,” Mathews notes, “but we’ll do more with that data going forward.”

MDR from Blackpoint Cyber coming soon to the Pax8 Marketplace

Blackpoint Cyber has joined Pax8’s expanding security line card, and will begin offering its managed detection and response services via the Pax8 marketplace toward the end of the year.

The deal is the vendor’s first distribution alliance ever, but won’t be its last.

“We are going to be striking up more of these types of partnerships to take our products to a broader spectrum of folks,” says Garth Luke, Blackpoint’s CRO.

Blackpoint announced a $190 million growth investment led by Bain Capital Tech Opportunities, with participation by venture capital/private equity heavyweight Accel, earlier this month. Inking distribution deals is part of a larger plan to put that money to work selling a wider range of solutions to a broader swath of customers.

“This is just one example of how we plan to scale out the business,” says Luke, a veteran of Google, AvePoint, and Rackspace who stepped into his current role last week.

Blackpoint shipped its latest product just two weeks before that. Called Managed Application Control, the system automatically protects users from risky and malicious applications based on continually updated research from Blackpoint’s threat intelligence team.

“We’re giving them an idea of the types of legitimate and nefarious apps that they would want to be able to block and/or allow inside their organization,” notes MacKenzie Brown (pictured), Blackpoint’s vice president of security. “These are things that many organizations can’t do from an asset inventory side and a software inventory side.”

Additional solutions, including a managed identity offering that integrates with IAM products from Ping, Okta, and others, are in development.

“The nice thing about all of these things is they’re bundled together,” notes Brown, so users will get them as they roll out on one bill at no extra cost.

Malwarebytes will add security scoring to its unified dashboard

Malwarebytes plans to add a security health scorecard to its endpoint protection, privacy, and threat prevention suite for MSPs.

“We are bringing into our dashboard what I would call a scoring system to help MSPs understand where they’re at in their security footprint with the customers that they manage,” says Brian Kane (pictured), the vendor’s director of global MSP programs.

The system will offer proactive suggestions for achieving a higher score. In time, Kane adds, some of those suggestions may involve products and services from companies other than Malwarebytes.

“This will not, long term, be just for endpoint security. This will actually merge and branch into other strategic partners as well,” he says.

That somewhat unconventional arrangement fits within a larger emphasis at Malwarebytes on cross-vendor integration, Kane continues. “We’re constantly talking to and working with other vendors to really play well with them in their space so that we can build a stronger security community together.”

Malwarebytes has been shipping products at a rapid clip in recent months. Its dashboard now provides centralized access to eight solutions in all, including new DNS filtering, vulnerability management, and patch management systems.

“We do it all with one agent, and our agent is 16 MB,” Kane adds.

The most recent addition to the dashboard, released last month, is a mobile security system that supports Android, iOS, and Chrome-based devices.

“In the same instance where you’re managing PCs, Macs, and other things, you’re managing security exceptions, policies, and all that for your mobile devices as well,” Kane notes.  

Per a story I wrote a year ago for ChannelPro, Kane’s boss, Malwarebytes channel chief Brian Thomas, has plans to grow the vendor’s MSP partner base from roughly 2,200 in 2022 to 10,000 by the end of 2025, and to grow recurring revenue from approximately $14 million to $100 million in the same time span. According to Kane, without citing specific numbers, the company is progressing steadily toward those goals.

“We’re on track,” he says. “We’ve enabled ourselves with many new distributors just over the last six to eight months.”

OpenText Cybersecurity is going channel-first

OpenText is just days away from embracing a channel-first sales policy on its expansive family of security solutions.

The new policy, which goes into effect at the start of the vendor’s 2024 fiscal year on July 1st, is channel-first instead of channel-only solely because OpenText has direct customers with active subscriptions that will remain good until renewal. Going forward, the company will close new deals exclusively through partners.

“OpenText was hybrid. Now we’re all channel,” says Steve Irons, the vendor’s senior vice president of cybersecurity sales.

OpenText also plans to roll its Zix and AppRiver units into the Accelerate partner program, which already houses Carbonite and Webroot, soon. That shift fits within a larger, longer-term effort to unify a security portfolio that also includes Bricata plus the four-member CyberRes product family that OpenText acquired from Micro Focus earlier this year. Per my reporting for ChannelPro, all of those brands have been part of the new OpenText Cybersecurity suite since April.

“It’s really important for us to make sure that partners see us as one cohesive unit, one vendor, and that all those brands operate under the OpenText Cybersecurity brand,” says Guss Lababidi (pictured), vice president of cybersecurity partner ecosystem in OpenText’s SMB Channel and Global Alliances group.

Lababidi is championing efforts to unify the newly named suite for billing and other purposes as well. “What I’m trying to lead the organization and the team towards is one platform, one sign in, one interface,” he says. “This is work in progress as we speak.”

So too is the eventual introduction of a unified partner program for OpenText Cybersecurity, a project likely to take some time to complete. Lababidi, however, is willing to wait for both that milestone and the operational integration if the alternative is disruption to existing relationships.

“The last thing you want is unhappy customers or unhappy partners,” he says.

Vade’s going Google

Vade, a leading provider of security software for Microsoft 365, plans to add protection for Google Workspace as well.

“We have more and more requests for that from our MSPs,” says Romain Basset (pictured), Vade’s director of customer services.

The new functionality is due in the third quarter. Vade will add support for Microsoft Teams, SharePoint, and OneDrive to its Microsoft 365 email security offering later this year as well.

Vade shipped a new threat intelligence and investigation solution this January. The system lets technicians who find a malicious email in one mailbox search mailboxes across all of the tenants they support for the same message. “It takes seconds,” Basset says.

Vade completed a €28 million (~$30 million) funding round a year ago, and became a Pax8 partner in May.