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Mark Simon, Datto: We want to support the CIO community in their transition from help desk services to managed services

October 2019 by Marc Jacob

DattoCon is organizing its annual event this year in Paris from October 21st to 23rd. Every year it brings together more than 750 MSPs and industry leaders from around 20 countries, who will come together to share their visions and insights, knowledge and best practices. Mark Simon, Managing Director EMEA, Datto wants to support the IT community in their transition from help desk services to managed services.

GS Mag : Your event DattoCon is taking place in Paris. Why Paris?

Mark Simon : We see France as a country that is just starting on its journey of break-fix to managed services. We want to support the IT services community with this transition and DattoCon is a great way to reach pioneering French partners. Plus it’s in the most beautiful city in the world, what’s not to like?

GS Mag : What is the objective of the event?

Mark Simon : DattoCon is Europe’s largest channel event and importantly, a dedicated event for managed service providers (MSPs). We expect over 750 MSPs and industry leaders from more than 20 countries to come together to discuss visions and industry insights, as well as share knowledge and best practices. All sessions will be geared toward decision-makers and leaders interested in developing their business strategy, operational processes, and growth initiatives. We have a full three-day programme packed with executive keynotes, technical product training, peer forums and more – plus of course the unique networking opportunities that come with such a high-profile event.

GS Mag : Can you present some of your new solutions?

Mark Simon : We recently announced the availability of more than 20 new products and enhancements to our range of dedicated IT solutions for managed service providers. All of these are purpose-built to help our MSP partners simplify and manage technology for small businesses (SMBs), who often struggle with running their own IT. Highlights include Cloud Continuity for PCs, an image-based, all-in-one business continuity solution that helps protect an SMB’s critical business data from being compromised by ransomware, accidental deletion and loss.

In addition, we released SIRIS 4, the latest version of our flagship Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery appliance, built with the needs of MSPs and their customers in mind. With enhanced computing power - compared to previous devices - SIRIS 4 can virtualize 50 per cent faster, virtualize more agents per device, and ensure clients’ heavy-duty apps run seamlessly and without interruption.

Our Datto SaaS Protection, Layer 3 routing for the Datto Networking product has also been enhanced with the introduction of native email filtering within Office 365. It improves the user experience with new account dashboards for Autotask PSA, our IT business management platform for MSPs.

GS Mag : What is your commercial strategy in France?

Europe is a top priority for Datto in 2019 and beyond. France, being one of the largest economies in the region, is an exciting opportunity for us as a business but more importantly we see the MSP model gaining traction here. It’s early days but we predict explosive adoption of the managed services model in the coming years and we want to be part of that journey. We are currently using a distributor, BeMSP, to represent us in the French market.

GS Mag : You recently published a report on threats. What were the conclusions?

Mark Simon : Our 2019 report will be published very soon. We expect it to confirm the trends outlined in the European version of our 2018 Ransomware Report, in particular that ransomware remains a massive threat to SMBs. 84 per cent of MSPs told us that they had seen targeted ransomware attacks against their customers, which is a higher number than all other continents.

The average MSP counted an average of five of these attacks within their client base per year. In the first half of 2018, four in ten MSPs even had clients suffering multiple attacks in a single day (up from 22 per cent, year-over-year). Unfortunately, the problem is more pervasive than these figures depict, as a startling number of attacks go unreported: according to our survey, only 16 per cent of ransomware attacks are reported to authorities.

For small businesses, an attack can be crippling – to the point that the business has to close down – but there is still a distinct lack of security education and some SMBs severely underestimate the risk. This is where MSPs play a crucial role in protecting their clients’ data and networks.

GS Mag : How would you suggest that SMBs protect themselves against these threats?

Mark Simon : SMBs today generally understand the need for anti-virus software and firewalls, but they don’t always realise that these defences aren’t watertight. A solid Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery strategy is the best defense against ransomware. If a business can restore its files to mirror the time before its network was hijacked by malware, it can be up and running again quickly, with no ransom to pay.

Modern disaster recovery systems take frequent image-based backups and replicate server images to the cloud. Even when there is a primary server outage, operations can be restored directly from a backup instance of a virtual server. This means that downtime is kept to an absolute minimum and business operations can continue.

Thoroughly educating all employees about how to spot and deal with suspicious emails, websites and hyperlinks is another vital line of defence, as most ransomware is delivered through these methods. A skilled MSP can not only implement a strong BCDR solution, but also help with employee training.

GS Mag : Any other messages you would like to send to security professionals? –

Mark Simon : SMEs can’t afford the damage caused by cyber attacks, nor can they avoid the threats presented by digitalisation. An ever increasing number of connected (IoT) devices in the workplace means the attack surface continues to grow, however – as with ransomware – many SMBs are in the dark about their own risk profile.

At the same time, they are often more vulnerable as they don’t have the internal know-how and bandwidth to adequately combat threats. Cyber criminals are fully aware of this and are increasingly targeting smaller companies.

The best way for an SMB to mitigate risk is to partner with a knowledgeable MSP. This enables the SMB to focus on its core business, while the MSP handles the security side of the business as their ‘virtual CIO’.

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