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Axcient CEO Eyes Security Alliances

'The best security approach is multilayered,' says Axcient CEO David Bennett. 'So, from a best security practices in the backup world, wouldn't you want to take information from multiple security sources to make a decision on what you do and don't do with the backup or recovery?'

Backup and disaster recovery specialist Axcient will target alliances with the “biggest and best” security companies across the industry to help managed service providers safeguard customer data, according to CEO David Bennett.

“The best security approach is multilayered,” Bennett said. “So, from a best security practices in the backup world, wouldn't you want to take information from multiple security sources to make a decision on what you do and don't do with the backup or recovery? The vision is … how could you control backups or recoveries based on a security incident and automate it? I could see a world where, if I was an MSP, that would be hugely beneficial.”

Bennett joined Axcient in early March from Webroot, where he was chief revenue officer of the cybersecurity company that fellow backup provider Carbonite bought for $618.5 million that same month.

But while Bennett said the Carbonite-Webroot deal made sense from a go-to-market perspective, he doesn’t see the MSP-centric Axcient following suit with its own acquisitions to add security capabilities to its portfolio of MSP solutions.

Bennett believes Axcient should “stick to what we're good at, which is storage orchestration and management and recovery.”

“Most backup vendors have been trying to integrate security into their tech stack,” Bennett said. “My personal view is that's not the right way to go and do it. If you think about where our businesses is, which is wholly focused on MSPs ... let's focus on what we're really good at, and then let's leverage the biggest and best security companies in the marketplace. I'm not going to have the access to go out and acquire a half-a-billion-dollar security company to go and do that. It's better for me to then say … how do I create alliances with the biggest security companies across the industry and then work with that? That's how I get my step up.”

External security and attack vectors are among the top thee challenges facing MSPs in Bennett’s eyes.

TSM Consulting, a ConnectWise MSP that was providing products and services to sites in 22 Texas towns and counties hit by a destructive ransomware in August, was using an on-premises version of ConnectWise Control that was used to seed the endpoints in the attack. An extensive phishing campaign against Bengaluru, India-based Wipro in March also targeted MSPs.

From a security perspective, the “bad guys” have realized they can target MSPs to “get the keys to the crown jewels of a hundred SMBs,” Bennett said.

“If I was a hacker, I would be targeting the MSPs pretty rampantly because they're pretty generally a pretty easy target,” he said. “All of these guys are using different pieces of technology. It's really easy to impersonate an end user now. That's an easy way to get into a small business. That's a big risk as an MSP. How do you take an enterprise-type security posture when you're a 25- [to] 30-person MSP?' That's a challenge not only just from an attack vector, but also from a human capital [perspective].”

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