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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.

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333 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, California 95110
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WWW: acer.com

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News & Articles

May 27, 2020 |

First Fruits of Carbonite/Webroot Integration Coming Soon

Management of Carbonite backup software through Webroot’s admin portal will precede deeper “cyber resilience” integration between products from the two vendors, which became part of OpenText last year, according to CTO Hal Lonas (pictured).

Webroot and Carbonite partners eager to see how the former company’s acquisition by the latter last February will benefit them have only a short while to wait before receiving some tangible examples. 

Those wondering how Carbonite’s subsequent acquisition by OpenText will affect them, on the other hand, shouldn’t expect to see much change any time soon. The Carbonite/Webroot duo have been given a wide berth to keep doing what inspired their new parent company to buy them in the first place, according to Hal Lonas, OpenText’s senior vice president and CTO for SMB and consumer.

That’s in keeping with the logic behind the $1.42 billion transaction, which was aimed at helping OpenText widen its historically enterprise-heavy revenue base, Lonas adds. “OpenText traditionally has not focused on the SMB side of things, and so they’re very interested in that channel for us, and how we do it and how we’ve been so successful.”

Indeed, the Carbonite/Webroot team has been operating as a largely autonomous business unit since the OpenText deal closed. “The technology continues [and] our roadmaps continue as we laid them out several months ago,” says Lonas, who was formerly Webrooot’s CTO before becoming Carbonite’s CTO last September.

Not that being part of OpenText has had no impact on Carbonite, however. “It gives us a platform for accelerated investments,” Lonas notes.

Those investments are helping Carbonite and Webroot more swiftly merge their respective technologies into a “cyber resilience” portfolio with tightly integrated security and data protection capabilities. Acronis has been pursuing a similar strategy since late last year.

To date, the only concrete manifestation of those efforts has been the newly added ability for partners to buy Carbonite solutions through Webroot’s online purchasing portal. “That work has been going on with really great speed and execution by the engineering teams and made really good progress,” Lonas says.

Coming in the third quarter of the year though, in a move ChannelPro first previewed three months ago, is the addition of support for Carbonite’s backup solution for Office 365 and Microsoft 365 to Webroot’s Global Site Manager administration console.

“That makes a ton of sense for our market to put on the same platform,” Lonas says. “Just like you can control and view the status of endpoints, whether they’ve been scanned and whether they’re clear of malware, you’ll be able to see the status of backups and make sure that your users and your machines and your servers are backed up.”

The Unity API that has linked Webroot products to management tools from ConnectWise, Kaseya, NinjaRMM, and others since 2016 will soon gain deployment, control, and billing support for Carbonite products too. And coming later this year and into next year is functionality allowing Webroot and Carbonite solutions to coordinate cyber resilience activities in mutually reinforcing—and potentially market differentiating—ways.

“We don’t want to just bring products to market that look like a bundle,” Lonas explains. “What we think we can do is look at ways that security and data protection sort of can enhance each other and provide a kind of a one plus one equals three value.”

For example, he continues, the self-defense functionality that prevents attackers from disabling Webroot’s endpoint security product or changing its registry settings will soon similarly stop ransomware from tampering with the backups that can help would-be victims restore encrypted data.

“Ransomware’s a lot more effective if you don’t have a current backup,” Lonas observes.

Webroot software will also soon safeguard end users who inadvertently backup malware along with their data. “We may not be able to go through a user’s encrypted vault and scan it for malware, but we can certainly protect it if you restore an image or restore files back onto that machine,” Lonas says. “We can watch that stream of data and make sure that you’re not restoring malware.”

Features like that are a strategic necessity for Carbonite and Webroot, Lonas adds, in order to win over users who already have a backup solution in place. “We realized we’re going to have to offer more value and do things differently to gain market share, and in some cases get them to switch providers,” he says.

Not all of Webroot’s recent development work has been dedicated to integration, however. Earlier this month, users of its business endpoint protection solution received a new feature named Evasion Shield that uses patented technology to better detect, block, and remediate “fileless, obfuscated, and encrypted” attacks embedded in PowerShell, JavaScript, and VBScript files. In the works for some 18 months and provided at no extra charge, the new system builds on capabilities long available in Webroot’s consumer endpoint security products.

“We wanted to make sure we really had it dialed in before we made it available to business customers,” says Lonas, who notes that many channel pros rely on legitimate scripts to automate management tasks. Coming up in the second half of the year, he adds, are additional behavior-based protections against malware and targeted protections from new forms of ransomware.

Aligning functionality across business and consumer solutions more generally has become a higher priority for Webroot since the coronavirus pandemic led to a dramatic increase in people working remotely, often on home PCs. 

“Businesses want to make sure that every machine is covered,” Lonas notes. “Even if somebody uses their own machine, a personal machine, they’re making sure that it has Webroot endpoint protection on it, they’re making sure that users are trained, they’re making sure that they have DNS protection.”

In the longer run, Lonas adds, don’t be surprised if the work-from-home phenomenon causes the lines between Webroot’s business and consumer products to become blurrier, or even disappear altogether. “I think there’s opportunities there to figure out how to blend those two worlds,” he says.

Integration between Carbonite and Webroot software with OpenText applications, such as its EnCase Forensic criminal investigations solution and LiquidOffice forms automation system, is also under evaluation, according to Lonas. 

“We need to figure out kind of how to bring it to our market in the right way,” he says, noting that Webroot products feature lightweight, easily-installed agents no more than two megabytes in size. “We need to make sure that anything new fits within those parameters.”


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