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ConnectWise offers new cloud manager, getting closer to Cisco

Cisco is playing an increasing role in ConnectWise’s plans to connect everything. The new ConnectWise Unite cloud manager works with Amazon Web Services (AWS), Cisco Meraki, Cisco Spark, Cisco Umbrella, Microsoft Azure and Microsoft Office 365. Additional vendor solutions will be added based on partner needs and feedback. It made the announcement at the European partner event, IT Nation held in London this week.

The cloud management solution, which until today had only been available to a limited number of users as a pilot, gives technology solutions providers (TSPs) the ability to manage, monitor and bill a broad range of cloud-based solutions through a single interface and in their own currency. The pilot feedback has meant addressing a number of ease-of setup issues. CTO Craig Fulton tells IT Europa. "Now it is really easy – a couple of clicks and the partner can be managing the customer."

“We are most excited by Unite – this aims to unite the ecosystem – to enable the partners to provide solutions for all their customers. Cisco is the one we are really excited about and they have been very helpful – we can manage its Spark collaboration tool – the messaging and phones, Meraki, the cloud networking, Stealthwatch and Umbrella. It gives our partners one place to manage all their customer systems. And it looks after the billing, which would otherwise be a headache.”

If they are providing any of Microsoft, AWS, or Cisco, the partners tend to find the use may change a lot in a given month, he explains and they have been spending a lot of time working out how much of what was used. “Our system can reconcile all of that, automatically. We are tapped into the vendors, pulling in data and putting it in the bill to send out to the partner.”

“Technology teams typically take advantage of a broad range of cloud solutions to meet their customers’ unique needs. What we’ve done with ConnectWise Unite is give our partners the ability to access these disparate solutions from a single pane of glass and greatly simplify the complexity that comes from dealing with the growing number of solutions they use,” Arnie Bellini said.

Craig Fulton adds: “The big change in the industry which makes Unite so important is that everybody is getting into SaaS. Customers are buying usage monthly, and we have to give our partners to tools to manage that process and transition.”

In May, ConnectWise will also launch the Advanced Security Dashboard as a pilot. Security in the past was endpoint, perimeter, firewalls etc, and that was OK onsite, but now, in the cloud, there is a new layer of security user security and identity security. “So our dashboard brings all these different layers into one view, starting with Cisco because we have a good relationship there. So partners can go to customers and audit their systems. There is nothing like it on the market now. The managed security service providers will use this.”

“We want to connect everything from physical security, manged security, audio-visual, telephiiny – whatever solution, we want to connect it to ConnectWise. And the new toolkit (also just announced) means users and partners can build their own dashboard – integrating multiple solutions to manage customers, manage their security. Automation Nation in June will see it being rolled out – the sole purpose is connecting the ecosystem.”