Building the Perfect Cybersecurity Services for MSPs
“I never intended to do this,” says Michael E. Crean, of Solutions Granted, a market-leading, “channel-focused” managed security services provider (MSSP) in the Washington, D.C., area.
Following a 9-year Army career, Crean originally had hopes of working with federal law enforcement. But fate had other plans. “I didn’t come from a family of entrepreneurs, and no one in my family owned a business or anything. I just knew I had to do something to succeed and move forward. It’s why I like to refer to the founding of Solutions Granted as a story of dumb luck.”
That was 21 years ago. Today, Solutions Granted specializes in serving other managed services providers (MSPs), or “protecting the protectors,” as Crean’s company motto describes it. He attributes some of the service firms’ enduring success to being an early and avid adopter of BlackBerry’s Cylance AI-based security solutions.
“BlackBerry Cylance is still top of the chart for me,” says Crean. “The brand recognition is something I can leverage — something I have leveraged. And I believe technology like CylancePERSONA™ is truly game-changing.”
Solutions Granted has also been a Cylance® and BlackBerry managed security service provider partner for nearly a decade. Currently, it has incorporated CylancePROTECT® and CylanceOPTICS® into its solutions portfolio and software stack, with eager plans to evaluate CylancePERSONA, BlackBerry’s AI-based Identity and Access Management (IAM) solution for continuous authentication within a User and Entity Behavior Analytics (UEBA) context.
A Partner’s Partner
“I don’t think I really had a great understanding of what we were doing when we were starting this,” notes Crean. “Acting as a provider to providers — or a protector for the protectors — just seemed like the right thing to do.”
One factor that makes Solutions Granted unique among MSSPs is that there is no minimum or maximum threshold for clients — Crean and his colleagues will partner with a company whether it manages five endpoints or 50,000.
“Every organization, no matter its size, needs cybersecurity,” says Crean. “But I’ve also seen firsthand that breaches and incidents have a particularly pronounced impact on small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs). I still remember being called in once for a law firm in Ohio that had an incident—it was an independent business that had been in operation for more than 50 years, yet four months later they’d ceased to exist.”
Solutions Granted is also defined by how it treats each client. To Crean and his team, no single company or client is more important than any other. Every MSSP the company works with is considered a top priority — and Crean himself has a personal stake in keeping each client as secure as possible.
“The big reason customers pick us is because we care,” says Crean. “It’s one of the reasons we offer our services as a consumption-based, month-to-month model. And it’s also one of the reasons we work with BlackBerry — since you guys have a similar approach to ours.”
“We deliver on our security promises, and BlackBerry helps us do so.”
Better Security as a Service
As part of its core security operations center, CylancePROTECT has been a core differentiator for Solutions Granted. Not only does it allow the company to take a more proactive and preventative approach with client security, it also does so without impacting system performance. Cory Clark, Vice President of Threat Operations at Solutions Granted notes that this is a sharp contrast with other MDR solutions, which frequently rely on outdated, signature-based software.
“I was on a partner call today where the other party had to deal with a server that was taken down because an antivirus scan overloaded the machine,” Clark explains. “BlackBerry’s product is superior, which allows us to deliver better, more secure products. We feel that’s really what we get leveraging CylancePROTECT in our SOC.”
And it’s something Solutions Granted’s customers have noticed.
“We had one instance where Solutions Granted’s SOC platform detected strange activity on a client’s server at 2 a.m. in the morning,” one MSP customer recalls. “We were able to immediately respond, containing the breach before it could cause significant damage. I sleep better at night knowing Solutions Granted is watching over my client’s network.”
Forging a Path
When Solutions Granted first became laser-focused on providing cybersecurity solutions for the channel, it was something of an upstart in the market. There were very few companies that did what they did, Crean recalls. And even today, the company remains prominent enough that several larger competitors consider them a threat.
“I consider it a victory when my competitors ‘trash talk’ my company,” says Crean. “The way I see it is that for some reason, I’m doing something that scares them. You know you’re getting somewhere when you’re the little baby chimp in the corner and the 800-pound gorilla is afraid of what you’ll do.”
For his part, Crean is largely unconcerned about his competition.
“My kid’s grandfather was a brilliant man, and he had this saying he really liked,” Crean explains. “He would always say that there are multiple paths to the mountaintop. It doesn’t matter which you choose, just be on one of them — be on your own path.”
Crean is content following the path he’s on. “As it turns out, cybersecurity was a natural fit for me. A few years ago on Capitol Hill, I was speaking to a committee on how cybersecurity impacts small businesses. The committee secretary made the comment that I’ve traded one battlefield for another.
“I never really thought about it that way, but in hindsight, he was right,” he concludes. “And I couldn’t ask for a better ally on that battlefield than BlackBerry. People credit them with being a changing force in the security space, and I genuinely believe that they still are.”
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