Acronis names first Channel Chief Evangelist as part of MSP push

Former MSP Amy Luby joins Acronis as the company is promoting its new Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud to the MSP market – these days largely through the use of digital media.

Amy Luby, Channel Chief Evangelist at Acronis

Cyber protection vendor Acronis has enhanced its channel resources with the appointment of Amy Luby to the new role of Channel Chief Evangelist. Her work will focus around increasing community engagement with the MSP community, particularly as Acronis prepares for the General Availability of their new Cyber Protect Cloud offering.

Luby started out founding and running an MSP, Nebraska-based Mobitech in the mid 1990s, and built that into a Master MSP, MSP Services Network [MSPSN]. She sold MSPSN to High Street Technology Ventures a decade ago, and has worked in other channel roles since. She joined Acronis in March.

While channel evangelists are fairly common currency in the vendor community, they tend to be less common in companies like Acronis, whose product is well known, who has worked with the channel for many years, and who has a generally good reputation in the channel. Luby said, however, that several logical reasons combined to create her position at this point in time.

“Acronis has a lot of partners, and really good channel sales, but the channel community engagement piece has not been as focused for the MSP channel,” she told ChannelBuzz. “Building that visibility is exactly why I’m here. We haven’t been well known in the MSP communities as a cybersecurity brand. We are just starting to engage the more well-known MSP shows and conferences.”

Patrick Hurley, Acronis’ VP Sales, is also effectively the Channel Chief. But it’s unrealistic to have a head of sales of marketing take on community engagement as well, Luby stated.

“Community engagement itself is a full-time role,” she said. “It takes a lot of time and effort and for a sales leader, would take time away from closing deals.”

Luby said that the imminent launch of Cyber Protect Cloud, which was announced last fall at the Acronis Global Cyber Summit and which is currently in beta, is another key reason for her appointment.

“We are launching a new product with Cyber Protect Cloud, which is an evolution that provides a layer on top of our backup and DR platform, so there is some new technology to educate partners about,” she said. In addition to the backup and disaster recovery, Cyber Protect Cloud offers AI-based protection against malware, data authenticity certification and validation, vulnerability assessment, patch management and remote assistance.

“Having been an MSP, I’ve seen how hard it is when tools don’t integrate well,” Luby said. “It’s a huge time suck to keep engineers working efficiently and this is why I am so attracted to what they have done with the Cyber Protect platform. I’m super excited to be able to present this to the channel community as the integration and automation solves a core pain in scaling their security services business.”

Luby said that this kind of integrated cyber protection offering solves key problems for MSPs today.

“The issue is that security is a specialty area in and of itself,” she indicated. “To provide an integrated security solution, an MSP owner has to look at 5-8 new vendors, and vet them to figure out who is best in class, and wrap them around their core offerings. And even then, they aren’t integrated together. That’s where we step in and can help partners deliver an integrated and fully automated solution.”

The challenge at the moment is doing this outreach with the industry, like almost everything else, shuttered in people’s homes because of the coronavirus epidemic.

“We have expanded digital marketing engagement on the virtual side,” Luby said. “We’ve known that needed to be more of a focus anyway. We are looking at the different channel communities and engaging on a more active level – IOTSsA, CompTIA, ASCII, ChannelPro, IT Nation – all with online virtual and live events.”

While there are no physical events to attend at the moment, Luby said that the online events have been very successful.

“In the last three weeks, I’ve been on more video calls, virtual conference events, panels and impromptu discussions than ever before,” she said. “The channel is perfectly poised for remote work. Most channel organizations have a good amount of remote people anyway. Outside of having to deal with the increase in activity, MSPs are very well poised for that. I’m seeing great attendance at virtual conference type events. At our own events we are getting over 1000 people registered and most show up. Once we used to be happy if 50 people showed up for a webinar.”