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Carbonite’s Webroot Acquisition: ‘Do No MSP Harm’

Carbonite is expected to finalize its Webroot acquisition in the next few days, assuming the $618.5 million deal receives regulatory approval on schedule before the end of Q1 2019. The buyout, announced in February 2019, unites a cloud and appliance backup provider with an MSP-centric cybersecurity company.

So what’s next? The short answer involves a “Do No Harm” strategy — which will ensure Webroot’s MSP-centric partner program remains intact, ChannelE2E believes.

Carbonite CEO Mohamad Ali

Both Carbonite and Webroot were in evolution mode ahead of the deal.

  • Carbonite’s Evolution: In recent years, Carbonite has aggressively extended from its consumer backup roots into the SMB and midmarket sectors. Carbonite CEO Mohamad Ali has used a blend of M&A and organic R&D to drive that growth. Key acquisitions have included Dell’s EMC MozyData CastleEVault and Double Take Software.
  • Webroot’s Evolution: Webroot, meanwhile, has a deep base of MSP and SMB relationships. The company has extended from endpoint security toward network security and cybersecurity training — particularly anti-phishing education. Mike Potts succeeded Dick Williams as Webroot CEO in September 2017, and the software company has maintained its aggressive focus on MSPs since that time. I suspect Potts is stepping down as part of the Carbonite deal, but I haven’t personally confirmed that speculation.

Carbonite Acquires Webroot: ‘Do No Harm’ MSP Strategy

Carbonite’s Ali has had his eye on the MSP market for several years. He knows MSPs are a tough but loyal partner community (my words, not Carbonites’). As I mentioned, it’s a safe bet that Ali’s first move with Webroot will involve a ‘do no harm’ strategy in the MSP partner ecosystem.

Instead of poisoning Webroot’s existing recipe with MSPs, watch for Ali to extend that recipe for MSP success across the broader Carbonite technology portfolio.

It’s a promising strategy but the journey won’t be easy. By joining together, Carbonite and Webroot now face some of the most aggressive MSP- and CSP-centric data protection and security companies on the planet. Rivals like Barracuda MSP, Datto, Sophos and Veeam (among many others) have massive MSP and CSP installed bases. And upstarts like Druva and Rubrik are coming on strong.

Carbonite sees its competitive set slightly differently from my vantage point. The company points to these companies as prime rivals:

  • Data protection companies like Acronis, Barracuda, Datto and Veeam.
  • Endpoint security companies like Avast, McAfee, Sophos and Symantec.

Those data protection companies generally enjoy partner loyalty. On the endpoint security front, I believe Sophos enjoys partner loyalty but the other three security companies (Avast, McAfee and Symantec) are likely fertile ground for Carbonite’s Webroot push.

Carbonite-Webroot: More Rivals Emerge

Still, the Carbonite rivalry list overlooks next-generation security companies that are starting to work more closely with MSPs and MSSPs. Names like Carbon Black, Cylance, CrowdStrike and Cybereason come to my mind.

Roll all that together, and Carbonite’s strategy will likely need to balance “Do No Harm” With “Move Fast but Strategically.” Still, that’s just our spin. With a little luck, perhaps we’ll check in with Carbonite within the next few days for a closer look at Ali’s business strategy going forward.

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