Published: June 21st, 2018

Sean Robertson admits he was a little nervous when he found out about Datto’s late-2017 blockbuster acquisition of managed service provider (MSP)-centric remote management and professional services automation (PSA) vendor Autotask.

The president of Strategic Technology Associates, an MSP based in Moncton, N.B., said the two companies had been deeply integrated within his business for nearly a decade. He wondered what changes would come down the pipeline, and how they would impact his clients.

“I’m happy to say I didn’t have to jump through any hoops. I have one account manager who I really trust, and I’m excited about the integration they’re showing,” Robertson told CDN, pointing specifically to some of the new features in the business continuity and disaster recovery platform, announced at DattoCon18 in Austin, Texas this week.

Austin McChord, CEO of Datto, tried to quell similar concerns among the many MSPs in attendance during his opening keynote at Datto’s flagship event, which for the first time, integrated the Autotask Community Live conference.

“Our new products and services … have been designed for MSPs, enabling them to grow and take advantage of the massive market opportunity,” he said.

In an interview with CDN, Datto’s chief marketing officer Matthew Richards echoed McChord’s comments, adding he understood why the company’s partners would be nervous about the convergence of two separate ecosystems.

“Many of them asked, ‘What’s going to happen with these product lines?’ That’s always a concern,” said Richards. “But here in Austin, we came out on stage with the message that every single product line that we have, we remain committed to, and in fact, we’re doubling down on investment in some areas.”

Datto is committing to four PSA releases per year, and accelerating its development processes, explained Richard. Other new features announced at DattoCon include Rapid Rollback, a new server restoration tool, as well as improvements to the Autotask PSA Task UI and a new lifetime warranty for all Datto networking APs, switches, and managed power devices.

“With Rapid Rollback and a bunch of our other options, we have more restore options than anybody else in the [backup, disaster recovery] market,” he said. These options are bolstered by the January 2017 acquisition of networking vendor Open Mesh, said Richard, giving Datto a wide-range of MSP technologies its partners can tap into. 

Robertson said the recent launch of Advanced Backup Verification caught his attention, adding his clients will appreciate the platform’s series of automated checks that ensure their backups systems are working the way they should be.

“Knowing that SQL has started, or a specific application has started, when we do our testing so they can keep their business moving, that’s what I’m excited about because that means something to my clients,” he said.

Plenty of work out there for MSPs

The cloud has opened up new opportunities for small businesses, but it’s also introduced new complexities that many of them are unequipped to handle on their own. That’s why more SMBs are turning to MSPs for help, and this growth can be seen in the numbers.

Richard’s cited the company’s latest figures that say more than 1,900 have been added Datto’s partner base, bringing the total to 14,000. Datto currently serves more than 500,000 small and medium-sized businesses in 132 countries through their MSPs. Its recurring year-over-year revenue also went up by 30 per cent.

Robertson suggested the wide-range of automated MSP technologies, such as Autotask PSA, helps his business scale without having to worry about hiring more people.

“I can see if you didn’t have the solid tools to work with that staffing can be a problem, but the kinds of integrations that are happening now, I don’t see that as a concern for the foreseeable future. And I’m excited about that,” he said.