Channel technologies, CSPs, Storage

Free Datto Drive Counters Box, Dropbox File Sync and Sharing

Datto Drive, a new file sync and sharing service, will seek to disrupt Box and Dropbox in the small business market and route 1 million sales leads to MSPs, company executives have confirmed to ChannelE2E. Look a little more closely and it's clear Datto also is taking aim at Autotask and eFolder, though the company didn't mention those potential rivals by name during a briefing today.

Austin McChord
Austin McChord

"File sync and sharing typically is an expensive commodity," says Datto CEO Austin McChord. "We're going to change that and turn the market on its head."

McChord says traditional file sync and sharing services can cost $15 per seat per month in a small business -- meaning that long-term recurring costs can add up fast. In stark contrast, Datto Drive will be free to the first 1 million small businesses that sign up for the service during the first year. After the first year, it will cost each small business $10 (per month, I believe) for the first terabyte of storage. Again, that's $10 per small business rather than per user.

Small Business Sales Leads for MSPs

Now here's where things get extra interesting: Datto plans to funnel those small business leads to the company's MSP partner base -- creating potential upsell and cross sell opportunity's for Datto's data protection solutions.

LiveAction CEO Brooks Borcherding

Datto Drive, which includes home-grown technology and technology from OwnCloud, is in a closed preview right now for selected partners. A broader launch is planned for later this year. I suspect the company will make plenty of noise about the platform during DattoCon16, a conference set for June.

Datto's overarching goal is to grow the MSP market -- and give partners new ways to engage and retain customers, according to Chief Revenue Officer Brooks Brooks Borcherding. McChord and Borcherding confirmed the Datto Drive strategy during a sit-down with ChannelE2E at CompTIA Annual Member Meeting 2016 (#AMM16) today in Chicago.

MSP Software Rivalries

Meanwhile, Datto Drive could potentially provide some competitive protection against eFolder Anchor and Autotask Workplace, ChannelE2E believes, since both of those companies offer file sync and sharing services to MSPs.

Roughly 1,000 of Datto's MSPs are already aware of Datto Drive and signing up to test the service, which was previewed recently during a private partner webcast. "We'll take it to a wider audience," McChord promises. "It's built to scale. And it will definitely make a lot of market noise. We're looking to generate 1 million accounts in the first year for free. And those will be real business accounts, not consumer accounts."

And those 1 million customer contacts, McChord vows, will be routed back to the company's MSPs. The Datto Drive service also will integrate with Box and Dropbox, meaning that customers can move content between the respective systems.

But can Datto really afford to give away so many accounts and so much storage? "We're already a profitable business," says McChord. "And Datto Drive will strengthen our storage business, and grow the overall market for MSPs. We're confident in our ability to scale this."

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.