Business continuity, MSP, Networking, Storage

Another MSP Software Line Gets Erased

Austin McChord
Austin McChord

First, the line between RMM (remote monitoring and management) and PSA (professional services automation) software disappeared. Now, the line between business continuity and security is disappearing. The latest evidence comes from Datto and Intronis MSP Solutions by Barracuda Networks, and ongoing work at companies like Continuum.

During DattoCon16, CEO Austin McChord described how Datto is extending from business continuity, backup and disaster recovery into the networking market. Everybody knows Datto Network Appliance (DNA) has been under development. But the twist at the conference involved a major security emphasis. Indeed, McChord described the DNA appliance as a unified threat management (UTM) solution rather than an SMB WiFi router.

Datto is getting serious about the security market as part of the company's overall focus on total data protection. Moreover, the company's storage and DNA offerings will leverage Datto's single, cloud-based management dashboard.

The situation is somewhat similar at Intronis, which Barracuda Networks acquired in 2015. Intronis is a backup and disaster recovery market veteran. But in recent months, Barracuda Networks has been promoting security solutions into the Intronis MSP partner base. It's a safe bet -- like, go ahead and bet your house and your business -- that Barracuda will expand its portfolio of security solutions specifically designed for MSPs.

David Pence

And over at Continuum, the company has successfully blended RMM (remote monitoring and management), NOC (network operations center) and BDR services under one roof, while also partnering closely with Webroot on the security front.

Meanwhile, MSPs are already blurring the lines between security and storage. A case in point: Acumen IT, an MSP in Greenville, S.C., has repositioned its storage offerings as secure data offerings. The company has a major partnership with Datto. "We tried pitching disaster recovery to our customers but it didn't work because we're not prone to disasters in this area," says David Pence, CEO of Acumen IT. "As soon as we changed the messaging to data security the sales took off."

Challenges and Opportunities

Anybody else see the irony here? More than a decade ago, Symantec predicted the lines between security and storage would disappear. That prediction drove Symantec's 2005 buyout of Veritas for $13.5 billion. But synergies between the companies never materialized. Instead, both the storage and security businesses suffered as Symantec largely missed the mobile and cloud waves. Fast forward to present day, and Symantec recently sold off Veritas at a major discount.

Of course, MSP software companies could also stumble as they seek to balance both storage and security under one roof. Datto will need to prove that it truly understands the networking market once DNA begins shipping. (I suspect the delivery date is later this year.) Barracuda will need to prove that it understands MSP support across the storage and security landscape. Continuum will need to carefully balance in-house R&D with the Webroot relationship and other software integrations.

Still, the overall march toward blended security and software offerings seems to be gaining momentum.

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.