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Datto CEO repeats need for MSPs to bolster security

MSP player Datto recently made a security acquisition, and its boss outlines the rationale for the move and restates the need for service players to deliver better protection

All the signs are pointing to this being a big year for managed service providers (MSPs) and the security industry, with the prospect of tighter regulations and more consolidation moves across the industry to ensure the channel has access to the right tools and skills.

Headlines were generated last week by the government revealing that it was considering updating regulations around supply chain security to include MSPs, with the threat of up to £17m fines being handed out to those that failed to show responsibility around protecting data.

Even before that announcement, the industry was stepping up its efforts to increase security levels. Datto is one an example of what that looks like in practice, with its recent move for threat detection and response player Infocyte.

Tim Weller, CEO of Datto, has been consistently talking about the need for MSPs to increase their security levels and repeated his call for the industry to do more on the topic.

“If MSPs aren’t already hearing that from their SMEs, if the government doesn’t mandate it, competition will. You will lose your clients to MSPs that show better in the security arena,” he added. “You’re in the security business.”

He said that there were several implications of accepting a responsibility for personal and client security: “The first one is get your own house in order. The answer to that is not to run away from your tool sets and worry about your vendors.

“You have to have software tools, including RMM [remote monitoring and management], which has obviously generated some concern for people, [but] it’s an important security tool. You just need to choose vendors that are very secure.”

Weller said that there is also a need to evolve a proposition, which was why Datto added detection and recovery to its armoury with the Infocyte buy.

“In the security business, we talk about protect, detect and respond. There are these stages, more frontlines, but let’s prevent the bad things from happening,” he said, adding that the acquired technology would be integrated into its RMM platform.

Weller has banged the drum for the MSP community throughout the pandemic, arguing that they have and continue to serve a vital role for customers. Looking ahead over the course of this year and beyond, he feels that situation will only gain momentum.

“There is now $193bn [market opportunity] worldwide for MSPs, and that number just keeps going up. It’s, of course, against a total pool of 1.3tn that SMEs spend on tech. So, it’s exciting in two dimensions – one, it’s almost $200bn market; and two, it’s still low teens in terms of percentage market penetration,” he said.

“I don’t know how you could reasonably run a business of any size and not have outside help on technology,” he added. “The dynamic on the ground is changing in real time.”

He said that MSPs were in a good position, and those that developed their security skills would be even stronger going forward.

“I think there’s those things we talked about two years ago – we knew 2020 was going to be tough and we said 2021 will be [improving], and long term we expect tailwinds from SME digital transformation. I think you’re seeing those trends play out,” he said.

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