Barracuda MSP emphasizes automated patch management in Managed Workplace 12

Barracuda makes the first major release of the platform they acquired early this year from Avast, in what they say is a major step in a strategy of aggressively investing in the product.

Last February, Barracuda Networks acquired the Avast Managed Workplace RMM [Remote Monitoring and Management] solution, a platform originally developed by Level Platforms, from the Avast Business Portfolio. Today, with the launch of Managed Workplace 12, they are announcing their first major release since the acquisition. While it includes other elements like integration with the Intronis backup line, the main focus is on enhancing the automation of third-party patch and software update management, so that patch management can better scale to keep pace with today’s demands.

“We had set out a fairly aggressive plan when we acquired the product line to invest in it,” said Brian Babineau, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Barracuda MSP.  “Since then, we have had a few minor releases around Office 365 management, deploying it in the public cloud in Australia and Germany, and in AWS in North America. We have also been working on integrating it with other Barracuda offerings, including Intronis backup, with some behind the scene integrations to allow us to do that.”

Intronis integrations are part of this release. Managed Workplace now includes policy-based monitoring scripts for the backup processes in Barracuda Intronis Backup, to help MSPs manage customers’ Intronis Backup processes more effectively, and to continue the strategy of integrating Barracuda components into the Managed Workplace platform.

“On the business side, we have also worked to expand the Managed Workplace team across the globe,” Babineau said. “We committed to our partners that our field resources around education would be deployed in the March timeframe, and we have since seen healthy cross-selling, especially around email protection and the Intronis backup. Barracuda partners have been deploying Managed Workplace over competitive workspace solutions, and the cross-selling activity there has been healthy.”

The big news with Managed Workplace 12 is the expanded patch management and deployment capability – because it fundamentally addresses a core and worsening problem for MSPs.

“That’s the highlight, the patch preparation and deployment,” Babineau said. “Our research tells us MSPs still spend many hours a week deploying patches. Doing it manually across the software stack makes it very hard to keep up. We are making it easy to do so, it doesn’t take large hours of the MSPs’ time.

A key here is a new single-pane-of-glass experience when performing third-party patch management. It lets MSPs easily identify all out-of-date software in customer networks, acquire and test updates and patches as they become available, and schedule software updates and patch implementation at a suitable time

“We spent a lot of time in Managed Workplace making sure that security is front and centre in the application so when an MSP begins their day, they can see what patches are available,” Babineau said. “They immediately can see timing options and notifications, rather than just getting some sort of notation that it’s Patch Day. We have centralized it so you can see everything. They can see things granularly, like Dropbox patches, so they can schedule them and figure out when they are done. Our goal is to get a centralized view of what’s available, so the MSP can set it so it runs without our intervention.”

Enabling MSPs to step up their level of automation is critical. That level is still fairly low, in part because MSPs are too busy fighting fires manually to spend time learning new things.

“MSPs should be looking for that level of automation that they can be comfortable with, and our goal is to give them that level of automation they can be comfortable with,” Babineau said. “If they don’t go that route, the profitability of their business is substantially at risk. Today’s security landscape challenges the entire thesis you can keep up with IT updates.”