Datto CEO urges MSP world to talk security

Tim Weller used his keynote at DattoCon to underline the sense that this is a moment for the industry to face up to the need to protect data through the entire supply chain

Those operating in the managed service world have to face the need to provide security to customers as well as ensuring the supply chain is itself as robust as possible.

Recent events, with the Kaseya attack in the summer, have underlined the extent to which the managed services ecosystem is in the target sights of cyber criminals.

The theme of security took centre stage during Datto CEO Tim Weller’s keynote session at DattoCon, with him expressing the view that the community had to grasp the nettle on the issue.

He warned that there was no gain in avoiding security, and that there had to be an honest dialogue with customers from managed service providers (MSPs) outlining just why it matters.

“We’re looking MSPs in the eye and saying, ‘We believe you know that whatever you’re charging for security today, it’s going to double, and when you get to that level, it’s going to double again’,” said Weller. “And so we know those are very tough conversations with end users, and there will always be some competitors saying that you don’t need all that stuff, that you can just do it on the cheap.

“I think this industry has to look out five years and ask where we are going to be, and candidly, without any shock value, I think without good security you might be out of business,” he warned.

“We’ve been at the security thing for a long time and I think the realisation comes to you: how do we talk publicly about what we do, and what the industry needs to do, without any hubris at all? We want to bring other suppliers and MSPs along.”

Combatting ransomware

In the past two years, Datto has been able to help 400 MSPs with complete saves, and Weller said it was helping to combat ransomware, which was a real problem across the channel. 

Another message from Weller was that MSPs should be clear about their relationships with customers and aim to ensure that the user appreciated the value the managed service provider can deliver.

“What good is being your expert if you won’t pay me for my expertise?” he added was a question that an MSP had shared with him which best described the situation many could find themselves in if they were not prepared to set down service-level agreements and ground rules: “If people won’t pay, it may be time to move on.”

Datto has run numerous events virtually over the course of the pandemic as it looked to keep communication with MSPs at high levels, and Weller used this latest event to talk about the fourth quarter being one that in many respects was looking normal.

“When you see those [monthly sales] accelerate like they have this year, then you’ve seen our first couple of public quarters building on each other,” he said. “That’s a pretty strong sign that the MSP industry is reaccelerating.

“All leading indicators of the past few years show that the MSP industry is doing quite well as an industry.”

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