The second day ferreted out the massive opportunity for MSPs to simplify complexities for customers.

Allison Francis

February 23, 2022

5 Min Read
NerdioCon Nerdio Reps 2022

NERDIOCON, CANCÚN —  The second day of NerdioCon in Cancún featured a smattering of keynotes from Datto (SVP of business development Rob Rae), Pax8 (chief channel and chief product officer Ryan Walsh) and Forrester (principal analyst Jay McBain). Topics ranged from the market opportunity for MSPs, the new cloud world, reducing complexity, and developing your cyber resilience and crisis management strategy.

A few overarching themes emerged. The primary one zeroed in on reducing complexity. There is an increasing amount of importance placed on enabling customers to stay productive from anywhere. MSPs are responsible for making that transformation happen, and for taking customers to the cloud. In this “new” cloud world where most applications are going toward a SaaS delivery model, to really take advantage of this, MSPs must evolve. They must capture and provide value. How do they do this? By removing the technical complexity from their customers. 

This, and several other themes were highlighted in the sessions throughout the day.

Click here for a recap of the announcements from day one.

Pax8’s Ryan Walsh on PAN and WatchGuard Partnership


Pax8’s Ryan Walsh on stage at NerdioCon 2022, Feb. 22 in Cancun.

Ryan Walsh talked about Pax8, Azure, and Nerdio (PAN) coming together. Walsh discussed the Pax8 programs and services that enable IT providers to succeed in the cloud, along with the numbers that prove it. 

“Tech buying is more consumer-like now,” said Walsh. “Value-add is significantly more important, so it’s important to stay in front. Complexity is a real issue. These tools and partnerships add value. Don’t accept the status quo — really lean into the following questions: 

  • What can I do to add value?

  • How do I actually go to market and look for selling opportunities? 

  • How sticky is my product? 

At the show, Pax8 also announced that it has partnered with WatchGuard to give MSPs access to its advanced network security platform. WatchGuard’s Unified Security Platform includes advanced network security, network visibility, SD-WAN, DNS filtering, policy management, threat detection and more.

“This is our first network security offering, and so we wanted to go big,” said Walsh. “We partnered with WatchGuard because not only have they been around for 25 years as pioneers in cybersecurity, but they are exclusively a channel offering. WatchGuard has all the features and functions of enterprise-grade protection: network discovery, advanced persistent threat blocker, and intelligent antivirus, on a platform designed for the MSP environment.”

WatchGuard Firebox network security solutions are a key component of WatchGuard’s Unified Security Platform. They aid in consolidating MSPs’ network security, network visibility, domain name system (DNS) filtering, policy management and threat intelligence. The Firebox line offers high-performance, total security firewall appliances for every environment, including home offices, midsized and enterprise organizations, and manufacturing and IoT environments, the company said.

Datto’s Rob Rae on Defining Your Cyber Resilience Strategy

As cybercrime has wreaked havoc on the global economy, customers are relying on MSPs to protect the largest and most vulnerable segment of the economy: the SMB. MSPs help mitigate the risk associated with cybercrime and prevent billions in lost revenue, not to mention an immeasurable amount of lost productivity. Datto’s Rob Rae discussed key elements, framework and roadblocks MSPs may face in developing a cyber resilience and crisis management strategy to protect service delivery, and more importantly, a client’s critical infrastructure.

“Now more than ever before, there is a massive opportunity for the MSP channel,” said Rae. “The pandemic stirred things up, of course, but a lot of good things came out of it — specifically for the MSP channel. The issue used to be, ‘How do you get the customer to understand the value of what they’re paying for?’ Now since the pandemic, we’re in the golden age of MSP services. These changes won’t happen overnight, but now there’s a runway. We can take our time and pave this path properly.” 


Datto’s Rob Rae at NerdioCon 2022, Feb. 22, in Cancun.

SMBs are changing the way they engage with Datto, Rae said. Digital transformation has accelerated, and the MSP channel is a critical part of that. Also, the shift to the cloud is now a far more important conversation, not to mention M&A. There’s a ton of money and attention in these areas, and thereby, a massive opportunity for partners.

In terms of cyber resilience, “attacks are a poor reflection on all of us (MSPs, vendors, etc.),” said Rae. “Cyber resilience involves key elements — identify, protect, detect, respond and recover. We still see MSPs who aren’t insisting on things like MFA. Or, the end users still won’t pay for theses things, which should be table stakes at this point. MSPs need to get comfortable saying, ‘If you’re not serious about this, I can’t be serious about this.’”

MSPs must shift to the right path of adaptability and maturity and cyber resiliency. Revenue should double because the value of what they’re giving customers should also double. There is more diligence and work that needs to be done, because forecasts show the growth opportunity is massive. 

“We need to take our geek speed and turn it into grade five reading level,” said Rae.

Translation? Focus on reducing complexity. 

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Allison Francis or connect with her on LinkedIn.

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About the Author(s)

Allison Francis

Allison Francis is a writer, public relations and marketing communications professional with experience working with clients in industries such as business technology, telecommunications, health care, education, the trade show and meetings industry, travel/tourism, hospitality, consumer packaged goods and food/beverage. She specializes in working with B2B technology companies involved in hyperconverged infrastructure, managed IT services, business process outsourcing, cloud management and customer experience technologies. Allison holds a bachelor’s degree in public relations and marketing from Drake University. An Iowa native, she resides in Denver, Colorado.

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