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N-able Exec: MSPs Want A Cloud-First Approach

‘We have a skills shortage. We have fewer and fewer people. We have to make things simpler. Not only that, this as-a-service concept makes all the sense in the world. N-able is already there but large companies like HP and Dell have huge strategic initiatives to try and get there,’ says Stefan Voss, VP of product management for N-able.

Solarwinds spin-off N-able is trying to capture the fast-growing backup market aimed at MSPs, homing in on cloud-first solutions and as-a-service models.

“People are looking for simpler ways to scale their backups to get the desired level of security around their backups,” Chris Groot, who was recently promoted to general manager of N-able Backup, told CRN. “A cloud-first as-a-service model is the direction where most companies want to land, and tha’s a relatively new thing for backup specifically.”

As part of his new role, Groot will lead key functions to delivering long-term, sustainable growth as well as strategy and product development.

Stefan Voss, who previously worked at Dell Technologies and led the product management team for Dell data protection software, was hired in November as VP of product management for N-able’s backup business.

N-able is the Burlington, Mass.-based Solarwinds MSP business spin-off that focuses on security, management, monitoring and ticketing.

In his newly created role, Voss will help further the data protection business in an accelerating market.

The company is at the forefront of the rapidly growing data protection-as-a-service market which is expected to grow from $7.7B in 2020 to $15.3B in 2024, according to the November 2020 IDC Worldwide Data Protection as a Service Forecast.

CRN spoke with both Groot and Voss to discuss their new positions and how they want to further transform the as-a-service market.

Chris, how will your former role help you in your new role?

One of the opportunities for us moving forward is raising awareness that N-able does have a data protection solution that is unique and offers considerable benefits to partners. There’s a lack of awareness out there today. In terms of being a vice president of sales and our go-to-market motions for N-able and understanding how we can leverage cross functionally, that delay to raise awareness is really where my previous experience should help.

 

Stefan, what excites you about your new position?

N-able is really at this nice intersection of where the market needs are. You hear about ransomware attacks, or several, every day so data protection has never been hotter. We have these capabilities that can tell you if you want to recover, you know you can.

We have a skills shortage. We have fewer and fewer people. We have to make things simpler. Not only that, this as-a-service concept makes all the sense in the world. N-able is already there but large companies like HP and Dell have huge strategic initiatives to try and get there.

Cloud first as-a-service is definitely the way to go. And then the last thing is what we protect is shifting. When you look at larger companies, the focus has been more on on-premise workloads, and that’s great. But we see a clear shift from on-premise to SaaS workloads.

The technology that N-able has really plays nicely into this.

 

Chris, what do you plan on tackling first in 2022?

We know from feedback directly from our customers that they really love and appreciate what we‘re doing with respect to data protection. In terms of being able to help reduce the time involved with backup, the cost and the complexity that typically is been part of the equation, that’s the problem really solving for the market. So raising the awareness that that‘s an option is job number one. Number two is we’ve got some core innovations that have been the foundation of that customer delight that we found ourselves with. That‘s been around the efficiencies of how the backups run, the reliability of how they run and the environments that they protect, whether they’re on-prem in a private cloud or in a hyper scalar.

Our customers want more things to be protected, so I think we have a pretty wide breadth and they are asking for more as part of that equation.

 

Stefan, what is your go-to-market strategy for transforming N-able’s cloud-first approach?

There’s as-a-service, and then there’s public cloud, but I think the notion of having a cloud first approach and not having to deploy physical software, physical hardware and manage it makes it more attractive, I believe, for a managed service provider. A managed service provider wants to spend less time on doing and spend more time on doing value-added activities. So not having to worry about patching, upgrades and downtime makes it just more attractive from an economic perspective. I’m not even talking just CapEx but running the business but the time doing that stuff. That’s where as-a-service and our clientele, in the architectural approach, come together very nice.

 

Chris when it comes to the biggest challenges for MSPs, what are they saying in terms of data protection?

At the base level, things like multi-tenancy and that whole base set of flexibility allows them to go into many different environments. In the MSP space specifically, one company is not like the next in terms of their bandwidth, their computing, the age of their machines, whether they‘re in all on-prem or whether they’re hybrid or a mixture of environments. That multi-tenancy really gives our service providers the flexibility to have one view to all kinds of environments and we’re able to support them through that.

People are now more curious around the security side of things. So having multi-factor authentication in front of everything, knowing the security around their private cloud storage, know where the potential attack can come in. And recovery is one of the main tenants of that framework, so it how are we fitting in with that and helping our partners get there.

 

Stefan, what are some evolving security trends you’re seeing in the market?

It‘s almost always not so much about the event, but how do we respond to an event. Do we do it in a mature transparent way? As part of the secure development life lifecycle, do we have the mechanisms to do the static code analysis, pen testing and threat modeling. All of which are applied so that even before you get the product in your hands, you can have the confidence that it’s robust and that it’s resilient. Then there’s the resiliency at the feature level. A lot of things like multi-factor authentication is huge. Lastly, these recovery-type features like an integrity check in there to make sure that the copy is good and I could recover it if I wanted to.     

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