Autotask Rolls Out Endpoint Backup Tool As It Looks To Deliver More Managed Services

Autotask has unveiled a fully-automated endpoint backup offering as the vendor seeks to deliver more revenue-generating managed services from its unified PSA/RMM platform.

The East Greenbush, N.Y.-based company said its file backup offering will address the heightened vulnerability posed to end points by ransomware such as CryptoLocker. The tool will provide continuous backup without requiring users to save files to the F: Drive, Autotask CEO Mark Cattini told CRN, and will automatically generate a ticket through the PSA tool if Autotask Endpoint Backup (AEB) isn't working.

"We're looking at the sweet spot of the managed services that are the most strategically aligned and monetizable," Pat Burns, Autotask's vice president of product management, told CRN. "We saw backup as too good of an opportunity to not move quickly."

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The early numbers back up that assertion, with Burns noting that AEB is on track to become a seven-figure annualized business just two months after its soft launch.

"It's been a dramatic liftoff," Cattini said. "We're outperforming our lofty expectations."

Continuous endpoint backup is surprisingly uncommon and cost-ineffective, Cattini said, with many offerings either requiring users to manually save to the F: drive or are delivered by a "no name" backup vendor, requiring MSPs to handle the front-end deployment and management on their own.

Having to administer the management and billing for endpoint backup would be challenging for many MSPs, Cattini said. But by leveraging its existing RMM capabilities, Autotask knows which devices are backed up to which profile and is therefore able to completely automate both the front-end reporting as well as the back-end provisioning, Cattini said.

"Endpoint backup is a good fit for everyone," Cattini said. "They [security breaches] are almost like an epidemic in society right now."

Although several other RMM vendors have a backup offering, Burns said Autotask is unique since it completely owns the source code and intellectual property used in its backup solutions.

That allows Autotask to provide MSPs with a completely unified user experience as opposed to arm's length integration, Burns said, and deliver detailed analytics around best practices for pricing and the level of profitability realized by each endpoint. The tool can even automate component monitors and specific contract management and billing workflows, Burns said.

"The way we've done it is unique," Burns said.

MSPs can either make this another line item on the list of services they offer, charging an additional $8-$10 per month to ensure the continuity of business documents for end customers, Burns said, or they can bundle it into a full desktop service package that promises a certain level or amount of time supporting customers.

"It's not a higher margin item because it's a very competitive market," Burns said. He noted, though, the operational overhead is very low with AEB since everything except the licensing process is completely automated.

AEB will serve as a blueprint for how any core managed service offering aligned with service management can fit into Autotask's PSA/RMM platform, Burns said, as the vendor considers adding more strategically aligned services to its toolset.

Some of the most common managed services include security, antivirus, deep disaster recovery backup, unified email services and network/application performance management solutions, Burns said.

The Local Guy, a Clinton, Utah-based Autotask partner, said AEM will make it easier to provision, manage and bill file backup for clients in a more secure, efficient and cost effective way.

"Autotask Endpoint Backup gives us the ability to do continuous backup on any device regardless of operating environment or network status," said Terry Bryson, Local Guy owner, in a statement.

Having an endpoint backup product integrated with Autotask's RMM tool would be a positive development, according to Jeanne Morelli, vice president of operations at Syracuse, N.Y.-based IV4. Morelli said too many organizations look at backup incorrectly, and said MSPs need to work with clients to define their true requirements for an endpoint backup tool.

RMM tools should have the flexibility to manage mainstream backup products in order to monitor and alert on issues arising at the client site, said Morelli, an Autotask partner. However, Morelli said integrating with an external backup vendor is more important than Autotask developing their own endpoint backup offering.

Given the number of existing vendors already doing endpoint backup, Autotask will likely find the market difficult to compete in, according to Cameron Rowe of CRC Data Technologies.

"It's tough for an organization that is outstanding in their field for one particular offering to start venturing into other offerings," said Rowe, CEO of the Destin, Fla.-based Autotask partner.

Rower gets that Autotask is trying to compete with ConnectWise by branching out into new areas, but said he isn't looking for a single product that can do everything.

"I like Autotask as a PSA," Rowe said. "I wish they would focus on that more."