Governance & Risk Management , Managed Detection & Response (MDR) , Managed Security Service Provider (MSSP)

OpenText Boosts MDR Offering for MSPs With Pillr Acquisition

Purchase Fills Gap in OpenText's Cyber Offering for Small and Midsized Businesses
OpenText Boosts MDR Offering for MSPs With Pillr Acquisition

OpenText will fill the managed detection and response gap in its cyber platform for managed service providers by acquiring Pillr from IT services powerhouse Novacoast.

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The Waterloo, Ontario-based information management titan said Wichita, Kansas-based Pillr fits well within OpenText's portfolio of cybersecurity tools for small and midsized businesses, which focuses on powerful yet cost-effective capabilities, said Senior Vice President of Marketing and Strategy Geoff Bibby. The deal will fortify OpenText's threat protection muscle while simplifying operations for MSPs, he said (see: OpenText Exec on What the Micro Focus Buy Means for Security).

"We don't have any interaction with MSPs go by without them asking what we're going to do in the MDR space, so it's nice that this day finally arrived," Bibby told Information Security Media Group.

How OpenText Plans to Integrate Pillr

The MDR business was stood up in 2018 as a standalone unit within Novacoast, and rebranded in September 2022 from NovaSOC to Pillr. Novacoast CEO Paul Anderson served as Pillr's chief executive for most of its existence, while Novacoast CTO Adam Gray was Pillr's chief science officer. Pillr employs 43 people, LinkedIn found, and Bibby said most of the company's development and sales team will join OpenText.

"It's never been that we're going to go get the top of the top of the top of the most expensive assets out there," Bibby said. "Pillr just really fits with our investment profile really well."

Pillr has existing integrations with 450 third-party security tools as well as distribution relationships with Pax8 and D&H, which Bibby said will enable a seamless transition and immediately availability of Pillr's services to OpenText's MSP network. Over the next 90 days, Bibby said, the company will integrate Pillr into OpenText Secure Cloud, enabling the direct consumption of the tech by managed service providers.

Integrating Pillr into Secure Cloud primarily involves API work, and once the work is complete, Bibby said, MSPs will be able to obtain everything from security awareness training to MDR services in a single location. Pillr operates on a subscription-based pricing model, and charges based on the number of endpoints served, according to Bibby (see: OpenText, Google, Varonis Lead Data Security Forrester Wave).

Smaller MSPs are struggling to keep up with the rising volume of cyberthreats, and Bibby said leaning on a third party to detect and respond to threats on the MSP's behalf will help with addressing the challenging landscape effectively. Although Pillr largely runs independent of Novacoast, Bibby said there are some services Pillr depended on Novacoast for that will now need to transition over to OpenText.

What Pillr Brings to the Table

The acquisition will add hundreds of new MSPs in North America and the United Kingdom to OpenText's roster of more than 23,000 MSPs globally, and it will bring sector-specific expertise in areas such as K-12 education where OpenText hasn't done much to date, according to Bibby. He said Pillr's MDR platform complements the endpoint and email security capabilities OpenText acquired from Webroot and Zix.

"This now just becomes a very natural complement to the endpoint section of our prevent and detect offerings," Bibby said.

From a metrics standpoint, Bibby said OpenText will track both the number of new MSPs added as a result of Pillr's technology as well as the increase in wallet share with existing MSPs thanks to Pillr. The deal also should help OpenText reduce MSP and customer churn since one of the biggest complaints about the company's cyber portfolio has now been addressed, according to Bibby.

Pillr is OpenText's first cybersecurity acquisition since digesting the Voltage, NetIQ, Fortify and ArcSight platforms from the January 2023 purchase of Micro Focus for $5.8 billion, and Bibby expects more deals now that the Micro Focus integration work is complete. OpenText will look to move into adjacent white space markets identified by MSPs, though Bibby said the most glaring hole by far for MSPs was MDR.

"We always have remained committed to being a grower in the security market and understand the importance of security to our overall story as an information management provider," Bibby said.

About the Author

Michael Novinson

Michael Novinson

Managing Editor, Business, ISMG

Novinson is responsible for covering the vendor and technology landscape. Prior to joining ISMG, he spent four and a half years covering all the major cybersecurity vendors at CRN, with a focus on their programs and offerings for IT service providers. He was recognized for his breaking news coverage of the August 2019 coordinated ransomware attack against local governments in Texas as well as for his continued reporting around the SolarWinds hack in late 2020 and early 2021.

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