IT Nation Secure 2020 recap

| By:
Janie Gibson

Our inaugural IT Nation Secure conference enabled us to spend two security and action-packed days together virtually, and it definitely went by much too fast! We experienced over 55 sessions, 16 security-focused exhibitors, and had the opportunity to network with over 2,600 attendees from The IT Nation. Let’s take a look at the highlights.

IT Nation Secure keynote

Wednesday morning, we heard from ConnectWise colleagues Craig Fulton, Chief Customer Officer, Jay Ryerse, CISSP, Vice President, Cybersecurity Initiatives, Drew Sanford, Director of Technical Sales, and Corie Leaman, Director, IT Nation Events. Corie and Craig walked us through The IT Nation—our events, education, and resources—focusing on our brand new property, IT Nation Secure, which encompasses our inaugural security conference, IT Nation Certify trainings, and the MSP+ Cybersecurity Framework and Playbooks.

Jay explained that effective cybersecurity requires a layered approach that needs to address not only the pillars of cybersecurity but also the control types. Working with partners worldwide, we began to understand what MSPs needed in the security realm and how we could help. We decided we had to lead the conversation to define what good cybersecurity looks like for our industry. We discovered that where we see success is when MSPs deliver the essential security solutions their clients need. In fact, MSP+ really means MSP+ essential cyber solutions. You must have a game plan to move forward in your cybersecurity journey, and we’ve created the MSP+ Playbooks to help guide you through.

Download the playbooks and get started today.

Drew then told the story of several real-life partners who had security compromises and how they worked through them. Mike Clemmons, of Bytecafe MSP in Indianapolis, Indiana, shared his security journey. Mike shared how over the last five to six years, security for his clients has become a bigger and bigger issue. They had a security awakening with one of their largest clients who had ransomware on their computers during the onboarding process. This encouraged Mike and his team to create a security playbook and a training plan. Drew also shared that the average ransomware payment in 2020 Q3 jumped to nearly $180,000! Jay told the stories of two other partners that had scary but similar real-world security experiences.

Craig and Corie went on to explain how to create a “culture of cybersecurity” in your business. Your staff really are your first line of defense from attackers. When they understand what cyberattacks look like and how it can affect them and the company, they start to build their risk perception, and this emanates out through their interactions with your clients.

If you missed it, watch the entire keynote here.

Security briefings

Each morning, we started with a handful of short security briefings, which gave us insight into the current state of cybersecurity. With topics like “The Most Expensive Game of Cat & Mouse,” “ConnectWise Stories From the Field,” and “Cybersecurity Is a Team Sport,” we covered the most crucial aspects of cybersecurity. Jay also interviewed Louisiana Secretary of State, Kyle Ardoin, to chat through how the first state to enact cybersecurity regulations made it a reality and how it will impact our industry moving forward.

Thursday guest keynote

Thursday morning, we heard from John Grim, Head of Research, Development, Innovation at the Verizon Threat Research Advisory Center. He is the creator and author of the Verizon Incident Preparedness and Response (VIPR). He shared with us how he created the VIPR Report to be a data and scenario-driven approach to incident preparedness and response. Additionally, for the past 13 years, the Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR) has presented a rare and comprehensive view into the world of corporate cybercrime. Together, the DBIR and VIPR Report offer cyber defenders and incident responders insight into how best to prevent, mitigate, detect, and respond to cyberattacks.

Breakout sessions

With more than 55 breakout sessions and nearly 60 speakers, there was never a dull moment from beginning to end of IT Nation Secure. With a special focus given to building and expanding a security practice, one of the highlights was Having “The Talk” with Your Client, presented by Perch Security. It walked us through how to have a conversation about risk with your client. Another very timely session was presented by Webroot, which detailed what COVID-19 means for cybersecurity. All of our breakout sessions are available to g33k passholders for the next 90 days on our virtual platform.


We definitely missed the handshakes and hugs, but we had many networking opportunities on our virtual platform to meet with peers, exhibitors, and experts from ConnectWise and The IT Nation. Our chat rooms were busy morning, noon, and night, with many attendees sharing experiences, asking and answering questions, and, of course, poking fun at Craig.

Our focus groups were a huge hit, helping us understand what you are going through in your day-to-day security journeys. We even had after-hours networking experiences, like War of the Wizards, where our attendees joined forces to defeat an evil wizard and bring a generations-long conflict to a peaceful end. And the highlight was Justin Willman, renowned Netflix comedian and magician, who performed his mind-blowing and spell-binding show for us all on Thursday evening.


With 16 security-focused exhibitors and four ConnectWise booths, our virtual Solutions Pavilion was packed with knowledge, tips and tricks, and more. Our exhibitors showcased their security product and solutions, gave away prizes, provided demos, and answered questions. It was great to see our exhibitor friends, old and new, as we learned about how they can support us in our security journey. We also enjoyed six Secure Games and Experiences, brought to us by our exhibitors, which helped remind us that we can still have fun even during a virtual event!

From all of us here at The IT Nation, we’d like to give a big virtual Owly hug to all of our partners, colleagues, and exhibitors for making our inaugural IT Nation Secure a huge hit. We can’t wait to see you all in person in 2021 at our second annual IT Nation Secure—keep your eyes peeled for dates!