Available immediately, version 12 of the product is designed to support Barracuda’s larger strategy to make Managed Workplace the industry’s RMM platform of choice for securing end user environments.
“We believe we have the best security-centric remote monitoring and management solution in the marketplace,” says Brian Babineau, senior vice president and general manager of Barracuda MSP, Barracuda’s managed services software division. Babineau spoke with ChannelPro at GlueX, the annual conference for users of IT Glue’s managed services documentation solution, which is taking place now in Scottsdale, Ariz.
Included in Managed Workplace 12 is new advanced software management functionality that lets administrators patch a wide variety of third-party solutions through a central console. Using that feature, technicians can now identify out-of-date software in customer networks, acquire and test software updates and patches as they become available, schedule software updates to occur automatically at non-disruptive times, and report on the outcome of patch updates.
Also new in Managed Workplace 12 are centralized management capabilities for Intronis Backup, Barracuda’s BDR solution for managed service providers.
Managed Workplace has origins that extend back to the earliest days of managed services. Developed by RMM pioneer Level Platforms, the product was acquired along with that company by security vendor AVG in 2013. AVG was itself acquired in 2016 by Avast Software, a security vendor then best known for consumer products, which later built the system into its new Avast Business line of solutions for commercial environments.
Barracuda bought Managed Workplace from Avast this February in connection with a deal that included a multi-year agreement by Barracuda to resell multiple Avast Business antivirus solutions.
Barracuda plans to turn tight integration with its portfolio of email security, backup, and other data protection solutions into a competitive advantage for Managed Workplace at a time when data protection effectiveness is increasingly the difference between success and failure for MSPs.
“The Managed Workplace solution has been in the market and developed for over 20 years. Barracuda has 16 years plus of security R&D experience. When you combine those together, there’s a lot of opportunities you can do with that platform,” Babineau says.
The new integration with Intronis Backup is an early part of that longer-term roadmap. “Intronis Backup is the first thing, and then we’ve set up the architecture to do quite a bit more in a short period of time,” Babineau says.
Barracuda has been busily, if quietly, updating Managed Workplace ever since purchasing it. “The development team has been working pretty much since February 1st on a go-forward plan,” Babineau says. The product is now 100% cloud-deployed, for example, and available to MSPs who prefer to run it offsite from data centers in North America, Germany, and Australia.
In addition, an enhanced API connection with Microsoft Office 365 also introduced since February reinforced the solution’s email management, screening, and protection abilities by linking Managed Workplace more closely with both Microsoft’s collaboration suite and Barracuda solutions like the Content Shield DNS filtering system.
“We believe there’s a lot of opportunity for MSPs to monetize Office 365 and email security solutions, given it’s the greatest threat vector out there and still the biggest risk,” Babineau says.
Emphasizing security is an opportunity for Barracuda to differentiate itself in the crowded market for RMM software as well, he continues, by looking beyond hardware to equally vulnerable on-premises and off-premises solutions.
“The biggest example would be if you have all your client’s inside of Managed Workplace and all of the devices and the user names associated with the devices and the emails associated with those users, you can go backwards and say, ‘are all those email addresses secured with advanced email security? Are all the devices running a remote monitoring and management solution? Are they up-to-date and completely patched? Are all of those devices going through the right firewall connections or are being content-filtered if those users are sensitive?'” Babineau explains.
Taking that kind of a security-first approach to managed services represents an opportunity for MSPs as well as Barracuda, he adds. “Our belief is MSPs can monetize the security aspects of their business, and they can do that by evolving what they use remote monitoring and management for,” Babineau says. “We’re still at a very early beginnings of maximizing that profit.”
Though other RMM vendors, such as ConnectWise, Datto, Kaseya, and SolarWinds MSP, are all building out managed services suites that include PSA and other operational systems, Babineau does not expect Barracuda to follow suit. It may, however, add support for features like password management available in documentation systems like IT Glue.
Barracuda was acquired by private equity investor Thoma Bravo in November 2017. Other Thoma Bravo holdings include ConnectWise and Continuum, both of which have RMM solutions of their own. The company has a stake as well in SolarWinds MSP, which owns two RMM products. According to Babineau, none of those investment stakes have any effect on Barracuda or its strategy.
“Each company that is in the MSP space has different board makeups from Thoma Bravo, so that’s entirely a different structure,” he says.
Barracuda currently has around 4,400 MSP partners, including Managed Workplace users. Of those, over 1,000 use more than one Barracuda MSP product, a figure that Babineau says is growing by roughly 30% a year.
ConnectWise declared security a strategic priority at its IT Nation Connect event last November. Datto, by contrast, is taking a slower approach to incorporating security functionality into its portfolio as it waits for SMB spending in that category to grow. SolarWinds has made multiple security-related acquisitions in recent years, including SpamExperts, threat monitoring vendor Trusted Metrics, and access right management vendor Protected Networks.