Modern 'Alchemi' Boosts Cybersecurity and Operational Efficiency, Learn More at MSP Expo

Modern 'Alchemi' Boosts Cybersecurity and Operational Efficiency, Learn More at MSP Expo

By Greg Tavarez

The MSP space is booming. Businesses, overwhelmed by the digital sprawl, are flocking to these tech alchemists, seeking to transmute IT complexity into operational gold. Businesses crave nimble partners who can adapt to their needs, not just manage their existing infrastructure. This is where Alchemi Data Management steps onto the scene, not as another prospector, but as a cartographer to guide businesses through the uncharted territory of cybersecurity.

With MSP Expo 2024 around the corner, which is taking place February 13-15 at the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as part of the #TECHSUPERSHOW, we had the chance to speak with Rob Sims, the company’s founder and chief technology officer, where he talks about how Alchemi is supporting MSPs.

Here is what Sims had to say:

What recent innovations in your products or services are particularly relevant for MSPs?

The DEFENDER by Alchemi platform has introduced significant innovations, enhancing cybersecurity and operational efficiency. Notable advancements include our Behavior-Based Access Control (BBAC) and Content-Based Access Control (CBAC), providing nuanced, AI-driven monitoring and granular data access policies. The introduction of “Lifecycle File Versioning” revolutionizes data resiliency, enabling comprehensive version control without substantial storage impact, while our enhanced recovery and continuity features ensure robust disaster recovery and minimal operational downtime. Additionally, DEFENDER's agentless infrastructure monitoring streamlines deployment and management, significantly reducing system overhead and offering MSPs a scalable, efficient, and secure solution to drive their business growth.

Describe your company's role in the MSP ecosystem and how your company supports MSPs?

Alchemi not only offers a groundbreaking product in the DEFENDER platform, but also a comprehensive suite of value-added services. These services are meticulously designed to align with the diverse needs of MSPs, providing them with monthly and annual billing options that contribute directly to their revenue models. These services include advanced threat detection, behavior-based monitoring, data protection, and recovery solutions, each contributing to the operational efficiencies and security posture of MSP clients. Alchemi is committed to the success of our MSP partners, providing continuous support, updates, and innovation to ensure that together, we meet the dynamic demands of the market and stay ahead in the competitive IT landscape.

Rob Sims, founder and chief technology officer

What are the top 2-3 trends you are seeing in the MSP space and why they are important to MSPs?

Current market prevailing trends underscore the imperative for sophisticated, integrated solutions. The increasing adoption of Zero Trust Architecture (ZTA) is pivotal, and DEFENDER uniquely fortifies this by delivering paramount data security, the essential seventh pillar, ensuring comprehensive validation of data interactions – especially for the challenges related to Insider Threat. Addressing the issues of escalating cloud storage costs, our innovative single instancing technology dramatically curtails storage needs by eliminating duplicate data, concurrently optimizing operational efficiency and cost-effectiveness. The critical demand for rigorous data governance is seamlessly met by our data verification service, safeguarding the integrity and trustworthiness of data throughout its lifecycle. Adding another dimension to these trends is our AI-empowered search capability, which revolutionizes data accessibility and insights, further empowering MSPs to deliver superior, data-driven services.

How are these trends impacting your business?

Alchemi was conceived as a direct response to the recurring inadequacies observed in traditional data security, resiliency, and governance solutions. Drawing inspiration from the historical architecture of castles with their meticulously layered defenses, we have reimagined data protection for the modern era. Just as castles employed moats and walls to safeguard against external threats, and internal partitions to control access within, Alchemi recognizes the parallel need for robust external network and application security. However, we acknowledge the unique challenge posed by insider threats, akin to the trusted individuals within the castle walls. To address this, we have revolutionized access controls, introducing Behavior-Based and Content-Based mechanisms that scrutinize every internal movement with the precision of a vigilant castle guard, distinguishing between routine and potentially threatening activities. This fresh approach, grounded in historical wisdom, propels Alchemi to the forefront, transforming how businesses navigate and fortify their digital fortress in an era where data is the most prized asset.

How do your services/products integrate into the MSP landscape, creating symbiotic relationships rather than a mere vendor-client dynamic?

DEFENDER distinguishes itself through seamless, non-disruptive integration and a commitment to maintaining operational continuity. Crafted to plug effortlessly into any existing infrastructure, DEFENDER operates without need of agents on client devices or systems, ensuring a light footprint and minimal complexity. Its universal compatibility with various file servers, even within heterogeneous environments, allows it to interoperate flawlessly, fortifying the data pathway without directly accessing or altering the customer's data. This unique approach not only guarantees the integrity and confidentiality of data but also ensures that DEFENDER can be integrated or removed without leaving any residual impact on the system's structure or operations. By sidestepping the pitfalls of vendor lock-in, DEFENDER empowers MSPs with the flexibility to deliver top-tier security and data management solutions while preserving their clients' autonomy and adaptability in their IT strategies.

What emerging technologies (e.g., IoT, 5G, AI, generative AI, etc.) should MSPs  be considering and incorporating into their service offerings to help their clients stay ahead in their respective industries?

In the realm of emerging technologies for MSPs, generative AI stands out with its profound potential to revolutionize data analysis and decision-making processes. However, the practical challenge lies in securely bridging the gap between AI capabilities and the data they need to analyze. Alchemi has ingeniously addressed this challenge by embedding integrated AI capabilities within the Alchemi Cloud, which is already seamlessly integrated into the customer's environment as a strategic data tier. This integration not only ensures the essential functions of data protection, high availability, and universal access but also introduces the necessary infrastructure for sophisticated AI processing. Crucially, our approach ensures that the customer's data remains within their controlled enclave, with the AI engine operating exclusively on the customer's index and only being activated upon their command. DEFENDER empowers MSPs to harness the power of generative AI without compromising the sanctity of their data, providing a secure, seamless, and cutting-edge approach to data-driven insights.

The technology landscape and business needs are constantly evolving. How does your company's strategy actively encourage MSPs to embrace change and turn it into a strategic advantage?

We encourage MSPs to embrace change by advocating for a transformative shift in perspective, moving beyond the conventional patchwork of solutions that address isolated issues without a cohesive strategy. DEFENDER exemplifies this paradigm shift by providing a comprehensive solution that not only secures the critical Data Pillar of ZTA, but also introduces significant efficiencies and cost benefits. Features like single instancing, data verification, auto failover, universal access, and integrated generative AI, converge within DEFENDER to create a unified, powerful system. Traditional approaches often lead to a complex mosaic of client software, backup software, and disparate file servers, requiring extensive training, managing multiple vendors, and constant adaptation to shoehorn these solutions into evolving customer needs – a cycle that Einstein might have termed insanity, expecting different results from the same fragmented methods. Change for its own sake is not the goal; meaningful change is. That means a holistic reconsideration of how we approach data protection, security, integrity, and governance. By adopting DEFENDER, MSPs are not just embracing change; they are leading it, reshaping the landscape with a solution that's as comprehensive as it is innovative, ensuring that change is not just a concept, but a tangible, profitable reality.

What key challenges do MSPs commonly face and how are you helping solve them?

MSPs today navigate complex challenges, including establishing a robust ZTA Data pillar, managing escalating cloud storage costs, enforcing stringent data governance, and ensuring granular access control based on file content. Furthermore, maintaining business continuity remains paramount. DEFENDER addresses these challenges by integrating the Zero Trust Data pillar for enhanced security, utilizing intelligent single instancing to reduce storage costs, and offering advanced data governance and content-based access controls for precise data management. Features like auto failover and universal access ensure business operations remain robust against disruptions. In essence, DEFENDER serves as a comprehensive, strategic solution, transforming MSPs' approach to data management, security, and business resilience, and marking a shift towards a future where these critical aspects are seamlessly integrated and efficiently managed.

What sets your solution apart from competitors in the market?

DEFENDER stands out in the competitive market with its comprehensive approach, addressing the multifaceted demands of modern MSPs. It firmly establishes a robust ZTA Data pillar for unique disruptive data security, setting it apart from conventional offerings. With its pioneering single instancing technology, DEFENDER significantly curtails cloud storage expenses, while its advanced data governance and content-based access controls allow for precise data management. A standout feature, “Lifecycle File Versioning,” ensures the integrity and seamless recovery of data throughout its lifecycle. The integration of AI capabilities and a secure, non-intrusive infrastructure further accentuating DEFENDER's commitment to adaptability and precision. This amalgamation of cutting-edge features, coupled with a focus on operational efficiency and business continuity, positions DEFENDER as a transformative force. Its seamless integration into existing environments without requiring agents or system modifications, combined with its non-proprietary, open approach, ensures that MSPs can adopt DEFENDER without disrupting their current operations or being tied down by vendor lock-in.

Please share a success story or two about how your strategies helped MSPs navigate the growth minefield, turning challenges into opportunities.

A service provider, reeling from a month-long operational shutdown due to a ransomware attack, initially responded by adding restrictive security layers that impeded day-to-day operations. Turning to DEFENDER for a balanced solution, they found its seamless integration allowed uninterrupted business activities while providing robust protection against insider threats. DEFENDER's precise behavior monitoring, and content-based access controls vigilantly guarded their operations, with the unique capability to isolate abnormal behavior and remediate affected files to their pre-attack state. This not only enabled the provider to recover from the attack but also equipped them with a resilient, unobtrusive defense system, transforming their growth challenges into opportunities for enhanced security, operational efficiency, and peace of mind.

How do you see the MSP industry evolving in the next several years and how is your company preparing for these changes?

As the MSP industry evolves, embracing transformative trends like generative AI, cost-effective cloud storage solutions, and automated data governance, DEFENDER is already leading the way. Our platform integrates advanced AI capabilities for deep insights and streamlined operations, while innovative data management strategies, such as single instancing and lifecycle file versioning, significantly reduce cloud storage costs. DEFENDER's automated data governance ensures compliance and integrity, offering operational agility. Alchemi's commitment to continuous innovation positions us at the vanguard of the industry's evolution. We are not just adapting to emerging trends; we are actively shaping the future of MSP services, ensuring that our partners are equipped to meet both the present and future demands of this dynamic industry.

What technological changes/evolution do you expect to see in the coming year and how will those changes impact your business and/or the MSP market?

In the coming years, the technological landscape is expected to further emphasize the strategic use of data, transitioning from mere storage to deriving actionable intelligence. This shift signifies a profound opportunity for MSPs to evolve their offerings beyond infrastructure management to becoming pivotal enablers of data analytics and intelligence services. As businesses increasingly seek not just to outsource infrastructure but also to gain deeper insights from their data, MSPs equipped with the right tools will stand apart. DEFENDER is strategically positioned to meet these emerging demands. It not only streamlines infrastructure efficiency but also pioneers an integrated AI platform and data analytics toolkit, empowering MSPs to deliver advanced data-driven services. This capability positions MSPs as indispensable partners in their clients' growth, enabling them to provide high-value, intelligent solutions that many businesses would struggle to implement independently. By investing in capabilities like those offered by DEFENDER, MSPs can not only align with but also drive the future trajectory of the market, differentiating themselves through a comprehensive, forward-thinking approach to data intelligence and management.

What are you most looking forward to at MSP Expo 2024?

At MSP Expo 2024, we are most looking forward to connecting with industry leaders, sharing insights, and exploring new opportunities. This event is a platform for collaborative growth, and we are excited to showcase how our DEFENDER platform can help MSPs navigate the complexities of the modern IT landscape. We believe that through collaboration and innovation, we can collectively elevate the standards of managed services and drive the industry forward.

What is your session and why is it a must-attend at MSP Expo 2024?

We are still waiting for the schedule; however, for a panel discussing we would love to discuss the need for comprehensive Insider Threat data security, and for a speaking slot, to have our MSP partner discuss how DEFENDER is positioning their business to provide data intelligence services for their customers who don’t have the internal resources to do this themselves.

Why are you participating at MSP Expo 2024 and what are you highlighting at your booth?

Item No. 1:  Driving Efficiencies - within infrastructure, processes, and storage

Item No. 2:  Solving Insider Threat - The Data Pillar of Zero Trust Architecture

Item No. 3:  Increasing Profits - Adding data intelligence for new service offerings.

(If there are additional questions/comments you feel are important for readers and attendees, please feel free to add them.)

Embrace the wisdom of Ralph Waldo Emerson, who said, “The mind, once stretched by a new idea, never returns to its original dimensions.” We invite you to experience this intellectual expansion firsthand by visiting Alchemi at booth 811. Discover how our pioneering solutions like DEFENDER are reshaping the MSP landscape, offering not just new ideas, but a new vision for data management, security, and intelligence. Engage with us, and allow these new perspectives to stretch your mind, enrich your offerings, and elevate your business to unprecedented dimensions. Your journey to becoming an MSP of the future starts here, with Alchemi.

Edited by Greg Tavarez
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