MSP, Content, Private equity

Kaseya-Datto Alternatives: MSP Software Rivals Prepare Migration Offers

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Amid Kaseya's buyout of Datto, some rivals across the MSP software and technology market are preparing "special offers" in a bid to pull MSPs onto alternative platforms for RMM (remote monitoring and management), PSA (professional services automation), cloud backup and disaster recovery, cybersecurity and more.

Still, there's plenty of reason to stick with Kaseya and Datto -- particularly if you run Kaseya RMM, Datto PSA and Datto data protection in tandem, and have interest in the broader Kaseya or Datto product portfolios.

Also, MSP software platform migrations can be a tall order. Sure, special offers and discount pricing can be tempting. But we'd remind MSPs to focus on such areas as:

  1. Quality and breadth of product;
  2. onboarding and 24x7 support;
  3. vendor track record;
  4. pricing history;
  5. subscription flexibility (ability to quickly scale up, scale down and even cancel contracts); and
  6. ability to deliver on product roadmaps.

Also, keep in mind: The MSP technology market is both consolidating (see more than 1,000 M&A deals listed here) and growing. Indeed, the worldwide managed services market will reach $557.1 billion by 2028, which represents a 12.6% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2020, according to Fortune Business Insights research. The upshot? Even has M&A deals "consolidate" the market, new MSP software options continue to pop up.

MSP Software and Technology Platform Providers

Amid that backdrop, here are some of the MSP technology platform names to know -- sorted by their employee head counts as listed on LinkedIn (as of April 12, 2022). The head count figures, admittedly, loosely represent company size but aren't 100% accurate since some employees may not list their bios and company affiliations on LinkedIn. Still, here's look at each company and their MSP technology market positioning...

Jason Magee, CEO, ConnectWise
Jason Magee, CEO, ConnectWise

ConnectWise – 2,257 employees: Strong in PSA (professional services automation) and RMM (remote monitoring and management), with growing footprints across NOC (network operations center) and SOC (security operations center) services, among other areas. Big differentiator is IT Nation community. The company, led by CEO Jason Magee, needs to successfully deliver on its Asio unified software platform build-out and a new ConnectWise RMM build-out. Owned by private equity firm Thoma Bravo.

Datto – 2,053 employees: Strong in data protection and PSA, with growing momentum in RMM and various cloud services. Mainstream media keeps referring to Datto as a cloud software company. That's true to some extent -- but largely overlooks Datto's on-premises storage appliance business and network hardware business. Next up, Datto needs to succeed with its Microsoft Azure cloud data protection strategy while integrating into Kaseya. And perhaps most importantly, Kaseya needs to retain key Datto employees and associated corporate culture traits.

Fred Voccola, CEO, Kaseya

Kaseya – 1,752 employees: Strong in RMM and MSP documentation software, with a growing footprint across data protection, PSA, cybersecurity and a lengthy list of acquired technologies. CEO Fred Voccola arrived in July 2015 and ultimately saved the company from obscurity. Voccola gradually stabilized the struggling business, plugged in multiple acquisitions, and built a very successful go-to-market strategy. What do MSPs want next? Improved product support, more flexible licensing, steps to adopt Datto's security posture practices, and assurances that Datto's corporate culture won't disappear.

Barracuda - 1,738 employees: Perhaps better known in the corporate IT market, Barracuda also has a growing installed base of MSPs. The company is strong in cybersecurity and data protection, with some capabilities in RMM. Key moves include acquiring Skout Cybersecurity in July 2021 for XDR and SOC capabilities that support MSPs. M&A Update: KKR acquired Barracuda from Thoma Bravo on April 12, 2022.

N-able, 1,132 employees: Strong in RMM with a growing footprint across data protection, cybersecurity and additional IT management and automation areas. Publicly held but also owned by Thoma Bravo. N-able disclosed the following business performance metrics for Q4 of 2021:

  • Total revenue of $89.5 million, up 12% from Q4 of 2020.
  • GAAP net income of $2.1 million, compared to a $9.9 million loss in Q4 of 2020.
  • Net retention rate remained at 110 percent — which essentially means MSPs are expanding their engagements with N-able.
John Pagliuca, CEO, N-able

In a statement about the Kaseya-Datto M&A deal, N-able CEO John Pagliuca said:

““The news that both companies have been searching for a change has been public for some time, so this announcement was not a surprise. We believe that a transaction of this magnitude is a clear validation of the value and power of this industry to serve the large and growing SME IT market. It’s also a calculated disruption undertaken by both Kaseya and Datto, where they obviously felt that this would net out to a positive outcome for their stakeholders. Transactions like this typically bring substantial challenges, such as successfully combining two different cultures and realizing potential synergies.

For our part, N-able will remain laser-focused on our mission to empower MSPs with the technology, training, tools, and people to help ensure our partner MSPs reach their goals. The rules of the game aren’t changing. When your people and partners are successful, the business is successful. That’s what we focus on every day to earn more fans.”

Sal Sferlazza, CEO, NinjaOne

NinjaOne - 381 employees: Originally focused on RMM, the company -- led by CEO Sal Sferlazza -- has leveraged organic R&D to extend its platform into data protection and ticketing services. NinjaOne has both an MSP and VAR channel strategy -- leading to rapid growth across the SMB and midmarket IT sectors. NinjaOne is venture backed by Summit Partners,  but the investment involves a minority percentage of the business -- and that means NinjaOne continues to control its fate in terms of software development and MSP partner priorities.

Atera - 185 employees: The remote IT management and MSP software provider raised $77 million in Series B funding at a $500 million valuation in July 2021. General Atlantic led the round with participation from K1 Investment Management.

Liongard - 138 employees: Not a traditional MSP software company, Liongard provides MSPs with a “unified visibility platform gives you the data you need, when you need it, so you can spend less time digging for data, and more time growing your MSP.” The end-to-end visibility strategy, in theory, could disrupt traditional RMM platforms at some point, ChannelE2E suspects.

Emily Glass, CEO, Syncro

Syncro - 89 employees: A cloud startup focused on PSA, RMM and more. Growing rapidly, Syncro hired Datto veteran Emily Glass as CEO in December 2021. Syncro, backed by Mainsail Partners, allows MSPs to easily try and activate cloud-based software for business automation and IT management. In addition to home-grown software, Syncro recently acquired Watchman Monitoring to further support Apple environments. - 65 employees: A cloud startup focused on PSA, RMM and AI. The company, led by Freshworks veterans, has quietly tested its platform with MSPs worldwide. The code has now shifted to production mode. Several venture capital market makers — including former Tiger Global Management investor Lee Fixel — invested $14 million in in January 2022.

Additional MSP Software and IT Automation Rivals

Other potential rivals and alternatives to note, sorted alphabetically, include:

Cloud Backup and Disaster Recovery Rivals

Moreover, dozens of cloud backup and disaster recovery (BDR) technology providers will seek to muscle in on Datto's installed base. Names and sectors to know include:

MSP Software and Technology: More Venture Capital, Private Equity Coming

Keep in mind: The competitive landscape is subject to dramatic change. Numerous venture capital firms and private equity firms -- names like Thoma Bravo, Insight Partners, Summit Partners, Vista Equity Partners and even Softbank -- have massive war chests, and are scouring the market for more investments and acquisitions.

With that context in mind, MSPs should focus on technologies that truly solve business problems for the long haul -- rather than chasing the shiny deal or special pricing offer of the day.

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.