Canada’s CloudOak named Best Startup at CompTIA ChannelCon for innovative MSP solutions

By the end of August, CloudOak will have two MSP offerings in general release, a Business Continuity Disaster Recovery appliance that offers Rubrik technology at SMB prices, and a cloud-based Business Continuity Plan application.

Troy Cheeseman, CloudOak’s Chief Strategy Officer

LAS VEGAS – It was a very good CompTIA ChannelCon for CloudOak. The Oakville Ontario-based company walked away with the award for the Best Startup. That’s just a kind of cherry on top for the company, which has had several highs since their launch in January, most recently the announcement of the pre-release of Plan4Continuity, a cloud-based Business Continuity Plan application for MSPs. The real head-turner, however, is likely their initial offering, a backup-as-a-service offering which provides enterprise Rubrik technology to MSPs at an SMB price point.

CloudOak was created out of Stage2Data, an Oakville-based MSP that was the first MSP signed up by enterprise converged data management vendor Rubrik, and which negotiated an attractive deal with them.

“Rubrik allowed Stage2Data to productize their enterprise solution and run it on a virtual appliance for SMBs,” said Troy Cheeseman, CloudOak’s Chief Strategy Officer and one of its three co-founders, who is well-known in the Canadian channel community for his time with cloud backup service provider Data Deposit Box. “We didn’t want to take this more broadly to market from the MSP – because other MSPs won’t buy it then. So we spun CloudOak out and struck a global deal with Rubrik, where we have a champion there.”

Rubrik is the technology under the hood of CUBE, a Business Continuity Disaster Recovery [BCDR] appliance tailored for the public cloud as well as on-prem, and which thus offers full hybrid capability to make it easier for MSPs to fully monetize it. CUBE became available to MSPs in February.

“This brings hybrid cloud data management capability powered by Rubrik to the MSP community,” Cheeseman said. “It has a drop-in classic architecture of an appliance, that lets you spin up virtual machines in the cloud.”

A key attraction here is MSP accessibility to Rubrik’s technology, which is enterprise grade, and which even in the enterprise is premium priced.

“To the MSP community that we go after, Rubrik’s pricing model is completely out of touch,” Cheeseman said. “We have it at a true SMB price, and this is exclusive pricing. Rubrik’s agreement is exclusive to us.”

CloudOak’s new offering, Plan4Continuity [P4C]  is a cloud SaaS solution that creates and manages Business Continuity plans in the cloud, to enable the creation of live business continuity plans in minutes using a single cloud-based interface. It turns a business continuity plan from a contingency in a drawer somewhere to a live cloud-based system that contains plans, simulation schedules and full audit logs.

“There’s nothing else that does this in the channel,” Cheeseman said. “It’s a simple concept – take a business continuity plan and make each element of the  document a trackable feature in the cloud, so that every action can be tracked. SMBs don’t have the time or skill to create something like this, and most MSPs don’t have the skill to create it. It’s a terrific differentiator for MSPs because there’s nobody else doing this. We take an arduous time-consuming and incredibly skilled process and turn it into a menu-driven two and a half minute enterprise.”

MSPs can use P4C to create multiple plans for multiple clients, across any vertical, as the client’s business continuity plan moves from becoming a static plan to a live cloud-based system that contains plans, simulation schedules and audit logs of all activations.

When P4C becomes generally available at the end of August, out of the gate it will integrate with CloudOak’s own CUBE, with Rubrik, and also with Datto.

“We will be announcing another major integration at the end of the month as well,” Cheeseman said. “From there, the strategy will be to add more major integrations, first with document management systems and other backup and DR solutions, and from there, in short order, the major PSAs.”

Cheeseman said that the pre-launch of P4C was made specifically so they could show it at ChannelCon, and that the reaction had exceeded their expectations.

“The reaction at this event from MSPs has been great,” he noted. “A typical response, 40 seconds into the presentation, is that they never thought of that, kind of like the reaction was to IT Glue when it came out.”

While P4C could be used as a pre-sales tool for CUBE, providing a free business continuity plan that takes only minutes to create, it also has a short sales cycle to sell on its own.

“CUBE, nine and a half times out of ten, is a displacement strategy for the MSP, so it’s a more difficult sales cycle, but P4C is cloud SaaS-based,” Cheeseman commented.

CloudOak was aggressively recruiting for quality MSP partners at ChannelCon, and will be doing the same at ASCII’s SMB IT Success Summit in downtown Toronto on August 21-22. Cheeseman indicated however, that they don’t think that their offerings are a great fit for every MSP.

“I think that an MSP needs to have a certain level of maturity for this type of service, which could be difficult for smaller ones,” he said. “So we will have something of a culture strategy, and it will be more of a select channel as a result. We will beachhead P4C at ASCII in two weeks. It’s the best of the Canadian shows, since it attracts the largest number of strong MSPs, and we think we will have the same success there that we have had at ChannelCon.”

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