N-able CEO Pagliuca: New MSP Products, Programs On Tap As N-able Becomes A ‘Free-Standing’ Company

‘Rest assured, we’re laser-focused on making sure that we’re providing you the highest-quality product that you can depend on to ensure that you’re safe, your customer is safe, and keep bringing you goodness to help you on this journey,’ N-able CEO John Pagliuca tells MSP partners at the virtual Empower event.


MSP-focused technology developer N-able sees its pending spin-out from SolarWinds as an opportunity to double down on its investment in building a hub for managed services-centered programs and technology. Part of that investment is now evident as the company rolls out a wide range of products and programs for its partners.

That’s the message from N-able CEO John Pagliuca and other company executives who presented at this week’s virtual N-able Empower conference.

N-able’s spin-out from parent company SolarWinds comes as SolarWinds continues to grapple with the fallout from the massive Russian hacking campaign that compromised its Orion network monitoring software last year.

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[Related: N-able Hires New Chief Security Officer As Spinout From SolarWinds Looms]

Pagliuca, however, didn’t even mention the SolarWinds name during his presentation.

“Hopefully, you folks are getting used to the [N-able] name,” he said. “I know we are. We’re excited about it. ... We appreciate you coming along for our journey as we keep evolving and keep pushing our agenda forward to keep doing what’s right by you.”

After N-able completes its spin-out from SolarWinds, partners can expect a combination of familiar and new experiences from the company, Pagliuca said.

For instance, he said, many of the people partners have worked with will remain, augmented by new faces such as that of Mike Adler, who in April joined N-able as its new chief technology and product officer.

“That new leadership is here to help bring the experience for the MSP partners to the next level,” he said.

N-able going forward will be more able to bring out new programs like MarketBuilder, which was launched Thursday as a platform that provides MSPs with campaigns they can quickly and easily brand and use in their own sales and marketing programs, Pagliuca said.

“That’s something that we weren’t really able to do before,” he said. “But now, with N-able as a free-standing company, we’ll be able to do that.”

Pagliuca said while mergers and acquisitions have been part of N-able via its SolarWinds days, the company going forward will be able to focus more on MSP purpose-built solutions.

“When Mike [Adler] and his team look at technologies and what the needs are for the small and medium enterprise and the MSP, we can be laser-focused on bringing in offerings whether we build it ourself, whether we partner with a company like DNSfilter, or whether we acquire [it].”

Small and medium enterprises are looking to MSPs to be their single source for IT, a mission N-able is helping by offering a purpose-built platform designed with MSPs in mind to deliver technology to enable small and medium enterprises’ digital transformation and evolution, Pagliuca said.

Building on that platform is why N-able is being spun out from SolarWinds, Pagliuca said. The spin-out will mean an increase in investment in three main areas, starting with an increased international presence, he said.

The second is an increase in the number of people and resources dedicated to helping MSPs, he said.

“These are ‘N-ablites,’ who are non-commission, that are here solely to help you grow your business, raise your profitability, and do what you need to do to make sure that you have what you need for your business success,” he said.

The third is increased R&D, Pagliuca said.

“Rest assured, we’re laser-focused on making sure that we’re providing you the highest-quality product that you can depend on to ensure that you’re safe, your customer is safe, and keep bringing you goodness to help you on this journey,” he said.

Adler, in his first on-stage presentation since joining N-able after 20 years with companies such as Symantec, Constant Contact and RSA, said N-able has over 500 technology and product professionals developing a broad range of offerings to help MSPs run and manage their business and serve their customers.

“My overall goal for N-able is to build great products,” he said. “Not products on a time line. Not products with every feature under the sun. But great products.”

N-able is doing so during a time of increasing complexity as businesses look to bring a wide variety of mobile devices into their infrastructure, take advantage of cloud computing and SaaS platforms, increase security across their companies, and address the increase in remote and hybrid work, Adler said.

“These changes represent massive opportunities for you, our partners, to offer new services and solutions and bring your experience to help customers manage this new complexity, manage these new ways of working, because these new ways of working are going to underpin the underlying success of our customers [in] dealing with this mobile, hybrid, cloud-based, digital world,” he said.

For 2021, N-able is introducing a number of new products to help MSPs take advantage of growth opportunities, Adler said.

The first is a new partnership with DNSfilter, a provider of an artificial intelligence-based threat protection and content filtering technology.

Iryna Zaviaruha, lead product manager for DNSfilter at N-able, said DNS filters are an additional layer of security to help identify bad websites and block users from accessing such domains and associated pages.

DNS filtering provides users with the ability to block phishing and malicious websites, block illegal or unwanted content, and block non-business content including social networking and gaming and, when done right, can also speed up networks, Zaviaruha said.

N-able is planning to directly integrate DNSfilter into the company’s N-central and remote monitoring and management platforms where MSPs can then manage, create, edit and customize protection policies to define what content can be blocked or deployed, she said. It can be done as a roaming client or agent-based deployment for on-network and off-network protection, she said. Once set up, MSPs will be able to see what is happening on their networks in terms of traffic and whether systems are protected or not, she said.

DNSfilter is slated to be available via N-able’s N-central in the third quarter and via its RMM offering in the fourth quarter, Zaviaruha said.

The second new product focus for the second half of 2021 is increased support for Apple-branded products, including day-zero support for Big Sur and the M-1 Apple .

Brian Best, N-able’s Apple product manager, said N-able has already moved to offer the same capabilities and interface of its Windows-focused management for Apple in certain areas, including managed anti-virus and in monitoring templates for N-able RMM, Best said.

“But we’re working on the rest,” he said. “We’re trying to push that envelope.”

N-able is also bringing in Apple-specific capabilities to its offerings, including a managed patch task that will update Apple devices without “bricking” them, Best said. N-able has built Apple-focused N-able Device Management into its RMM platform, and is doing so with N-central as well, he said.

“N-able Device Management not only simplifies the on-boarding of [Apple] Macs for our partners, but it also brings up a world of management options for MSPs to be able to confidently bring Apple products under their portfolio,” he said.

Because agents on Apple devices in general do not work unless device management is there first to handle all the operating system approvals and permissions needed, Best said, N-able will continue to work on ensuring parity between Apple and Windows environments.

“To our partners who are listening, I say to you: Hang on with us on this one,” he said. “You’re going to be so glad that you did.”

The third new product focus is customer analytics, an area where N-able has invested resources for some time but had to pull back in order to rearchitect it into a “great product, Adler said.

N-able is now on a path to integrate its Power BI backed by data warehouse and data lake technologies into its other technologies, said Ben Ceranowski, N-able’s product manager for analytics.

Analytics are important to take advantage of a wide range of data collected by N-able to lead to improved customer outcomes, including getting to the root causes of issues, Ceranowski said.

N-able Power BI, slated to be in a public beta version soon, will offer a wide range of client analytics, including at-a-glance visuals and summaries, using visuals to drill into data, interact with complex filters to interrogate the visuals and get raw data outputs, he said.

The fourth area is complete data protection for Windows, Apple, Linux, Unix, cloud and other environments, Adder said.

Andrey Rodushin, N-able’s product manager for data protection and business continuity, said the company is moving beyond basic offerings to provide a more seamless experience.

This includes an upcoming automated disaster recovery and business continuity tool, a centralized management portal, and stand-by virtual machines for failover and failback requirements, all with the goal of helping make it easier to offer disaster recovery and business continuity while reducing the cost, Rodushin said.

N-able, like much of the IT industry, learned a lot from the last 16 months during which the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic raged, Pagliuca said.

Pagliuca said he often refers to the pandemic as the largest social experiment the world has ever known.

“And here’s the thing: You’re right in the middle of this,” he said. “Think about it. Overnight, you had to transform your business.”

Pagliuca said that the macro changes in the IT business happening in 2019 before the pandemic were not changed by the pandemic.

“What it did do was accelerate them,” he said. “I’ve always talked about this as an evolution. It definitely sped up that evolution. And you folks had to deal with this both from your employee base, but also from your customer base.”

The biggest change was that both customers and employees always had to be ready to move, regardless of whether they are Fortune 1000 companies or small and medium enterprises, Pagliuca said.

“You need to always be on,” he said. “Your customers always need to be on. What does that mean? It means they’re always having to access information and their data and their files from anywhere, whether it be on a laptop, an iPad, or from a mobile phone. Whether it be working from their normal house, a vacation house, or somewhere else in the world as this pandemic scattered folks all over the planet.”

That led to a proliferation of endpoints and SaaS applications which in turn increased the surface area accessible to attacks from outside the company from those looking not only for MSPs’ information but for their customers’ information as well, Pagliuca said.

That led to an increase in IT costs as businesses are now exposed to more compliance issues and more scrutiny in terms of their data protection and privacy capabilities, he said.