Datto bolsters cybersecurity offerings with BitDam acquisition

March 23, 2021

6 min read

Tracy Rock

Director of Marketing @ Invenio IT

Datto bolsters cybersecurity offerings with BitDam acquisition

by Mar 23, 2021Security

One of the more interesting developments in BCDR over the last few years has been the convergence of cybersecurity with disaster recovery. Increasingly, products that were traditionally made only for backup are now also designed to detect cybersecurity threats. A prime example of this is Datto, whose backup solutions feature built-in ransomware detection to identify infections before they spread.

But we are starting to get a glimpse of how far this convergence could go in the years ahead.

In March, Datto announced it was pushing further into the threat detection market with its acquisition of BitDam, an Israel-based cybersecurity company whose products are designed to detect unknown threats – those that do not match any known malware footprints and thus get past antivirus systems.

It remains to be seen how Datto will integrate BitDam’s technology into its own offerings. But the acquisition is an interesting move that unquestionably aligns with Datto’s mission of helping businesses maintain continuity.

Here’s what you need to know about the acquisition and what it could mean for Datto and BC/DR.

What is BitDam?

Located in Tel Aviv, Israel, BitDam was founded in December 2015 by Liron Barak (CEO) and Maor Hizkiev (CTO). The company is the developer of the Advanced Threat Protection (ATP) technology, a cloud-native cybersecurity solution designed to provide businesses comprehensive defenses against specific threats, including malware, ransomware, phishing, spam, business email compromise attacks, account compromise and zero-day threats. In 2020, BitDam was named as a “Gartner Cool Vendor in Cloud Office Security.”

Just a couple of weeks prior to the acquisition announcement, BitDam had announced its release of ATP+. The security company claims this updated version of its flagship product was “built in the cloud and for the cloud” and was designed to provide two-click integration with Microsoft 365, OneDrive and Teams.

BitDam was regarded as the only vendor able to detect and halt unknown threats, identify threats at first encounter and safeguard business-collaboration tools against advanced threats. Its cyber-defense platform also works with Microsoft 365, Google Workspace and other collaboration tools. ATP+ was designed to protect all types of businesses, including enterprises, SMBs, managed-service providers (MSPs) and other service providers.

Behind the BitDam acquisition

As a part of the deal, BitDam’s security experts will be joining the Datto team with the goal to “help shape the security roadmap” for MSPs as “threats evolve globally,” said Liron Barak, BitDam’s co-founder and CEO, at the time of the announcement.

The price of the acquisition has not been disclosed publicly, although some news outlets report the deal was valued at $46 million.

“Cyber resilience has been at Datto’s core since the launch of our flagship Continuity service and the Datto Cloud over a decade ago,” Tim Weller, CEO of Datto, said in a press release. “This acquisition marks an important step on our security journey, coming on the heels of our recent launch of Ransomware Detection in Datto RMM. Both deliver new revenue and margin opportunities to our 17,000 MSP partners just as cyber attacks on SMBs are proliferating. We welcome the elite BitDam security team to Datto as we continue to execute on an ambitious security roadmap for our partners.”

Datto’s press release loosely hints at the goal of “integration of BitDam’s technology into Datto’s solutions,” but the company doesn’t elaborate further than that.

At the time of the announcement, it was indicated an undisclosed number of BitDam employees would become Datto employees. News reports also suggest the employees who would be joining the Datto team had worked together at BitDam for a long period of time. If this is the case, it’ll bring tacit knowledge of BitDam’s inner-workings to help the transition to and assimilation with Datto’s already existing resources.

What the BitDam acquisition means for Datto

BitDam appears to be a logical pairing with Datto. This acquisition will be an asset that will complement Datto’s existing products; its capabilities will help to round-out its overall cybersecurity solution to fit with its vision to provide MSPs with business continuity for its clients.

Another possible area of integration could be Datto’s SaaS backup solution, Backupify – although this is purely speculation. As Backupify provides independent, cloud-based data backups of SaaS platforms like G Suite and Office 365, it makes sense that Datto would bolster this product even further with the active threat detection of BitDam’s ATP+.

Primary focus placed on the cloud and security

As the company looks to the future, Datto has affirmed its plans to put even more focus on the cloud and security, and the acquisition of BitDam appears to be a natural fit to help meet these goals in the years ahead as it continues to build new solutions.

“In 2021, we will be more directly monetizing new products in these two areas,” said Weller, according to a CRN report. “In cloud, with Continuity for application workloads in the public cloud, and in security, with new products to help MSPs protect their SMB clients.”

Strategies to include Microsoft Azure

Datto’s goals for 2021 also include plans to launch its first business continuity products for applications running in the public cloud, most specifically Microsoft Azure, Datto’s CEO said.

“This new Azure Continuity product will follow on the success of SaaS Continuity where we protect data in the cloud that is hosted in Microsoft 365 and Google Workspaces,” Weller shared with the media. “We plan to take Azure into beta with a group of partners in Q2.”

Since the BitDam acquisition, Datto has been steadily integrating technology into its own offerings, according to CRN. The company plans to make it widely available to its 17,000 MSPs, who will offer it as a solution to their small- and mid-sized business customers.

Importance of strong security protection for business

The year 2020 was an unprecedented one as the COVID-19 pandemic forced businesses to pivot and come up with solutions to enable them to continue operations. This required them to look at both IT and cybersecurity very differently. One of their biggest challenges was to establish employees with secure work-from-home setups as a significant part of this “new normal.” Aside from previously established continuity threats businesses faced, organizations were now tasked with putting together a comprehensive cybersecurity strategy that included safeguarding remote employees logging into company systems.

In many cases, businesses provided employees with company-owned equipment and VPN connections, but others relied upon BYOD (bring your own device) and alternative internet connections. Both of these scenarios have long been a challenge for businesses and now they were having to quickly come up with solutions that would provide them with strong protection while supporting BYOD.

Putting no or a low priority on cybersecurity is no longer an option, because without a strong security strategy, businesses become significantly more vulnerable to cyber incidents. This includes, but is not limited to malware infections, network intrusion and data loss. Datto’s own annual ransomware survey found 95% of MSPs’ “most critical challenge” was security. Attacks against these businesses continue to rise, and 70% reported ransomware as SMBs’ most common malware threat. Aside from the tangible expenses associated with cybersecurity incidents, the unseen costs can go quite high as well. There are compliance, legal and brand reputation expenses to absorb as well.

Moving beyond the pandemic, chances are many businesses will not go back to how operations were before COVID-19. Instead, many will likely opt to allow some sort of remote work structure, either on a full or part-time basis.

For many businesses, this will mean relying more heavily on cloud platforms like M365. So it’s essential that these systems are protected against the ever-expanding range of cybersecurity threats, both known and unknown. Companies that embrace and commit to these stronger security strategies sooner rather than later will find this investment pays off in the long run.

How BitDam enhances Datto’s mission

Today, more than ever, businesses of all shapes and sizes need to put a heavy focus on cybersecurity. Threat actors are increasingly becoming savvier in their attempts to compromise businesses across all industries. The recent unprecedented SolarWinds supply chain attack demonstrates just how vulnerable companies and other organizations can be. On its heels came the attack against cybersecurity company SonicWall, which occurred after cybercriminals exploited a zero-day flaw in its software.

These events are just two recent high-profile cybersecurity events that illustrate just how far ahead of the curve cybercriminals try to stay. BitDam’s enhanced threat identification capabilities will better position Datto to ensure its customers are able to maintain business continuity with the strongest level of protection against zero-day threats.

As mentioned above, Datto is already unique in the BC/DR space in that its backup devices offer ransomware threat detection by providing the ability to scan each new backup for signs of infection. Adding on the capacity to detect potential cybersecurity risks, before they are identified, will augment the protection even further.

Stronger protection for your organization

Bad actors continue to seek ways to exploit businesses, both large and small. No business is immune, but those that are proactive in their cybersecurity strategies have a far better chance of circumventing the negative effects of these types of attacks. Hacks and ransomware continue to be a huge threat for businesses, especially when business operations are interrupted and continuity cannot be maintained.

To prevent your business from becoming a victim, any proactive steps you take will go a long way towards mitigating threats and ensuring your company’s continuity is intact and avoids costly data losses, network disruptions or downtime.

Learn more about protecting your organization from cyberattacks and other threats with BC/DR solutions from Datto. Request a free demo or speak to our business continuity experts at Invenio IT today. Call (646) 395-1170 or email success@invenioIT.com.

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Director of Marketing @ Invenio IT