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DattoCon19: Datto CEO Tim Weller Keynote Recap and More

DattoCon19 is under way in San Diego -- marking a key moment for Datto and roughly 2,300-plus MSPs (managed IT services providers) attend the conference.

CEO Tim Weller and key executives unveiled a range of new innovations, developments and integrations Tuesday morning, June 18. The key moves include:

  • Datto Cloud Continuity.
  • Datto RMM for Networking.
  • HTML5 Remote Control.
  • Layer 3 Cloud Managed Switches.
  • An email security partnership with Vade Secure -- the company that Datto Founder Austin McChord recently invested in.
  • SIRIS Private for customers need private cloud, compliance-related data protection.
  • SIRIS 4 appliance launch.
  • and more.

Read between the lines, and Datto seems to be communicating that the company remains focused on innovation under Vista Equity Partners' private equity ownership.

Those new offerings and more are summarized further below. Check this blog entry multiple times daily for updates, news and chatter throughout DattoCon19.

Putting DattoCon19 in Context for the MSP Industry

The managed services business model is now firmly established and accepted. Cloud services are mature and reliable. SMB technology consumption continues to surge. In the United States, there’s (seemingly) an MSP on every street corner. Eager for a piece of the action, private equity firms are buying up MSP and MSSP technology providers -- and the partners they serve. Amid those market realities, a few pundits may suggest the MSP market is saturated – though I firmly disagree for a range of reasons.

In reality, big opportunities and some challenges await IT service providers of all shapes and sizes. MSPs must shake up their service catalogs and embrace extreme automation -- a ChannelE2E phrase used to describe how AI, machine learning and machine-to-machine communications will remove MSPs from manual, time-consuming tasks – allowing partners to focus on more profitable service options.

Still, many MSPs are late to the AI game. Moreover, the MSP ecosystem is scrambling to stay ahead of day-to-day cyber threats – as hackers increasingly target MSPs and their technology platforms, according to the FBI and U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Welcome to DattoCon19

What does all that mean for MSPs attending DattoCon19 – and ITSPs that are tracking the conference from afar? We’ll go searching for answers in the days ahead. Here’s a sampling of what we’ve found so far. Keep checking this blog entry multiple times daily for updates through the conference’s conclusion...

LinkedIn: Sanjay Singh, Chief Sales Officer, Datto
Tim Weller, CEO, Datto

1. ‘New’ CEO: Datto’s ‘new’ CEO isn’t so new to the position anymore. Tim Weller officially succeeded founder Austin McChord as CEO in January 2019. Weller has led strategic and daily operations starting in October 2018, and was essentially running day-to-day operations even before that time. So how has Weller settled into the new position, and what are his strategic priorities for the Datto? We’ll gather details during an interview.

2. Datto Sales and Technology Leaders: Datto recently hired Chief Sales Officer Sanjay Singh, and has been searching for a CTO. We’ll track down whether a new CTO is in place, and find clues about how Singh is already influencing the business on a global scale.

LinkedIn: Adam Stewart, TK, Datto
LinkedIn: Emily Glass, Title, Datto

3. Datto R&D, Product Development and Partner Experience: We expect to grab some time with Chief Product Officer Emily Glass, Senior VP of Engineering Adam Stewart and additional executives to offer you updates in each of those areas. We’re particularly curious to see how the R&D, product and customer experience teams coordinate their efforts on total MSP lifecycle management.

4. Expanded Mission: DattoCon was originally positioned as the premier data protection conference for MSPs. But acquisitions like Autotask and networking hardware mean Datto is now more than a backup, restore and disaster recovery company. Datto’s entire focus certainly involves technology for MSPs. But how is that expanded mission performing – especially in the networking and business management software areas? We’ll find answers.

5. Networking – WiFi Opportunities and 5G Challenges?: It’s safe to expect plenty of Datto networking updates at the conference. But both Cisco Systems Meraki and Aruba (owned by HP Enterprise) are taking a stronger interest in partner-led SMB networking. Upstarts like Auvik Networks are serving as Switzerland, offering MSPs network-centric RMM (remote monitoring and management) software tools.

LinkedIn: Datto Networking VP John Tippett

Amid those market variables, we're watching to see how Datto's pure MSP focus potentially differentiates the company from networking vendors that are coming down from the enterprise. The name to know: John Tippett, VP of product, networking, Datto.

No here's the ironic twist: Competition might be a sideshow to the bigger story. The big question: Will 5G wireless networks disrupt the need for on-premises WiFi networks, allowing desktop, laptop and mobile smartphone users to connect quickly to cloud and on-premises services without the need for a local WiFi network?

A "death of on-premises WiFi hardware’" scenario sounds a bit extreme to ChannelE2E. But we’ve been wrong before, and we’ll be sure to ask Datto for its views on 5G.

6. The (Forgotten) M&A Deal That Changed Everything: We’ve all seen plenty of big M&A deals that have reshaped the MSP technology market. But sometimes the smallest deals have the biggest impact -- without anyone necessarily really realizing it at the time, or anytime thereafter.

Rob Rae, VP of Business Development, Datto

For instance, consider the case of AVG acquiring Level Platforms in 2013. That deal never amounted to much, and the Level Platforms software has since been sold yet again to Barracuda Networks.

But the original AVG-Level deal set the stage for multiple executive moves – including Level veteran Rob Rae joining Datto, where he now serves as VP of business development. Without the AVG-Level deal, would Rae have wound up at Datto to drive an aggressive, global MSP community push these past six years or so years? Hmmm… Purely food for thought. But it's a heck of a contemplation.

By the way: That Level-AVG deal also triggered career moves for Level Platforms veterans Dave Sobel (now at SolarWinds MSP) and Dan Wensley (just named CEO of Warranty Master).

Dan Wensley, CEO, ScalePad
Chris Day, co-founder, ScalePad

7. Dan Wensley & Chris Day: Speaking of Wensley (item 6 above), watch for him to surface at the conference for the first time as CEO of Warranty Master, a fast-growing firm backed by SaaS investor and accelerator Top Down Ventures, and former IT Glue CEO Chris Day. We'll dig for more info about Warranty Master's strategy at the conference.

8. Austin McChord’s New Investment: Datto’s founder and former CEO this week disclosed his first venture capital investment. It involves Vade Secure, an email security specialist that works closely with ISPs (Internet Service Providers). Vade Secure CEO Georges Lotigier and McChord will be at DattoCon19 to describe how they’re ramping up to embrace MSPs in the SMB sector...

Reformed Hacker Kevin Mitnick

9. Keynote -- Reformed Hacker Kevin Mitnick: Yes, we've met -- though Mitnick may not recall the background or context. It involved Mitnick's run-from-justice in the 1990s, and the FBI's decision to hire hacker informants to track down Mitnick. Here's the back story of my early encounters with Mitnick and another hacker called Justin Tanner Petersen -- dating back to 1994. PS: Mitnick's scheduled keynote appearance at DattoCon19 suggests plenty of cybersecurity news will surface at the event.

10. New Security Operations Centers (SOCs) for MSPs: Expect to hear news from a startup called inSOC -- which apparently developed a platform specifically for MSPs and MSSPs.  The company was launched in 2018 by CEO Eric Rockwell, CIO Jeff Gulick and CFO Dave Watts. inSOC’s first deliverable, set to launch at DattoCon19, is called ONE STOP SOC. The preconfigured, AI-driven detection platform offers vulnerability scanning coupled with 24/7/365 SOC monitoring services.

11. More SOCs for MSPs: Dozens of companies are striving to offer SOC as a Service to MSPs. A sampling of SOCaaS providers is listed toward the bottom of this MSSP Alert article.

12. More Private Equity: Datto parent Vista Equity Partners is poised to raise about $16 billion for a new fund focused on U.S. software acquisitions. Here are the implications.

13. Developers, Developers, Developers: Behind the Datto rally cry.

14. Unified Communications: Intermedia, a UCaaS and collaboration provider to MSPs and the small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) they serve, introduced a new integration with Datto Autotask PSA.

15. Datto Cloud Continuity: The first product launch of the day is Datto Cloud Continuity, a direct-to-cloud backup and restore service that can protect all data from a laptop. If the laptop fails or gets lost, the data can be restored directly to a new or replacement computer.

16. Datto RMM for Networking: The company will extend its RMM software to support and manage the company's networking devices.

17. HTML5 Remote Control: The company's HTML5 support ensures MSPs can manage any type of device, the company says.

19. Layer 3 Cloud Managed Switches: VP of Networking John Tippett unveiled the E310 Layer 3 Cloud Managed Switches. They're set to ship this summer.

20. Network Manager: Tippett also unveiled a new user management interface for Datto Networking, along with integrations that allow Auvik Networks to monitor Datto's hardware. The new interface is available now.

21. PSA Integrations Center: A new capability that helps MSPs and vendors to more effectively navigate and manage integrations.

22. VADE Secure Email Partnership: As ChannelE2E expected, a partnership between VADE and Datto emerged. Datto Founder Austin McChord recently invested in VADE. The take away: ISPs already use VADE to protect more than 500 million inboxes. The extension to the MSP model is a natural, McChord asserted in an interview with ChannelE2E last week. Email [email protected] for an MSP NFT and an end-user free trial.

23. SIRIS Private: A new private cloud solution for MSPs and end-customers that are particularly concerned about privacy and compliance regulations.

24. SIRIS 4: The new offering is 25 percent faster, quieter and more. Pricing is essentially the same as SIRIS 3, but at the high end of the market SIRIS 4 pricing is less than SIRIS 3, the company said.

More DattoCon19 News: Keep checking back for news updates multiple times daily. If you’ve got news to share from DattoCon19, please email me: [email protected]. We'll give your note consideration for potential coverage as we update this blog throughout the conference.

Special thanks to the tipsters who helped us to kick this blog off before the conference even started.

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.