IT Nation Connect 2018 ReCap

Less than 2 weeks ago SkyKick headed to Orlando Florida for IT Nation Connect (formerly called IT Nation). Our hosts, ConnectWise, threw yet another epic week of keynotes, engaging sessions, Partner meetings and dare we mention a few great parties. The theme this year was Connect Everything, with sessions and keynotes ranging from a look at how technology connects us to why and how MSPs can ensure the security of this technology.

Evident throughout the conference was the larger story that ConnectWise is committed to helping MSPs achieve business growth in 2019 – and ultimately success, something that is high on our agenda as well. This growth story flowed from the breakout sessions into the SkyKick Booth, where over the course of three days we talked with hundreds of MSPs eager to hear SkyKick’s approach to Partner acceleration and growth.

There was rarely a moment of down time in the booth; our feet ached and our voices strained, but we wouldn’t have had it any other way. Here’s a look at our visit to the Sunshine State for another successful IT Nation Connect.

DAY ONE – Wednesday November 7

SK IT Nation 2-1IT Nation Connect officially kicked off with a Welcome Reception that offered an unusual, yet enticing, menu (yes, we tried the fried alligator) of bites and refreshments in the Solutions Pavilion. SkyKick greeted over 100 MSPs on night one in the booth, with conversations and questions focused on a number of topics. Of note, Partners’ interest around our integration with ConnectWise Manage for Cloud Backup invoicing.

We demonstrated how Cloud Backup pushes invoice data directly into ConnectWise Manage, where partners can create and manage the invoices, resulting in improved profitability and customer satisfaction. The time Partners save eliminating manual processes to generate, reconcile and manage hundreds of invoices each month frees them up to serve more customers and scale their business.

During talks with Partners we highlighted our approach to the ConnectWise Manage integration, which was built around three principles:

1. Easy Set-up: Complete a few fields, Click Enable and you’re done

2. Flexibility: Automated daily syncs push data from Cloud Backup into ConnectWise Manage and a ‘Sync Now’ button can be used to perform on-demand syncs

3. Control: If any issues arise with the push of data (e.g. expired, inactive, or future-dated agreement), a ticket is created in a location you specify within ConnectWise Manage.

When asked “what’s next” by Partners, we were eager to share the upcoming release of a similar integration for migration invoicing, which is now available. SkyKick’s integration capability allows savvy MSPs to be more productive and streamline the management and support of recurring-revenue cloud services for a more profitable 2019.

DAY TWO – Thursday November 8

demo-2Day two kicked off with high profile Keynotes. ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini talked to Partners about their role in fighting cybercrime and later in the day took the stage to share the change of business to as-a-service – which highlighted improvements made to the ConnectWise Platform and Marketplace. Up next was inventor of the world wide web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who discussed the dilemma of how to regain control of our own personal data in today’s world. With Keynotes focused on cybersecurity, data protection, and how MSPs can protect both their business and clients Partner conversations in the booth were dialed in on SkyKick’s Cloud Backup suite for Office 365.

According to research by Forrester and other industry analysts, security is top of mind and is a big blocker for 53% of customers moving to the cloud today. Two years ago SkyKick anticipated this struggle and made investments in our security and data protection story for Partners looking to move SMB customers to Office 365.

Cloud Backup is a critical component within the cloud management service mix of most IT Solution Providers – as business continuity and data protection are paramount to running a successful MSP practice. Some Partners in the booth were surprised to learn that customer data is not backed up in O365. We spent some time explaining how Office 365 replicates data to protect against hardware failures and catastrophic incidents that could bring down a data center vs. backing up the data. Replication only ensures your data is available in whatever state it was left. In other words, if a file is deleted or corrupted, that deletion or corruption is replicated throughout the cloud. There is no way to quickly or easily get the data back to where it was.

It is true that O365 has some limited retention policies, but those expire, and it’s possible to permanently delete data before the retention period expires. Office 365 also offers some additional data protection features, such as Legal Hold and Archiving. However, these are not the same as a data backup solution. For example, while Legal Hold protects data from being deleted accidentally or maliciously, it is not designed to quickly restore data to where it was to ensure productivity.

Overall, demos in the booth showed Partners the complete protection available across the Office 365 Tenant when using SkyKick’s Cloud Backup; which includes Groups, Team, and Modern Team Sites. Several Partners who stopped by the booth spoke of how they are seeing more and more customers adopt Teams, Modern Sites and other innovative scenarios in O365. 


Some of the stats we shared in the booth around Cloud Backup were: 

  • 64% of data loss is accidental
  • 20% of data loss is due to malice and Hackers
  • Data loss is costly, estimated $4,000+ 
  • Customers WANT a backup solution
  • 70% of data loss is not protected in O365

SkyKick is committed to creating solutions that drive Partner profitability. Cloud Backup not only protects your customers but unlocks recurring revenue. That’s why Partners find Cloud Backup easy to sell. When offered, partners report higher than 70% attachment of Cloud Backup to O365. To make it even easier to sell Cloud Backup (making your more profitable) we offered 60% off our Standard Bundle at the booth – which you can still take advantage of. 

Partners made their way from the booth back to the afternoon’s sessions and then regrouped with SkyKick at the IT Nation Pub Crawl later that evening. Over some cold micro brews MSPs continued their conversations with us, drawing from the day’s sessions and guest speakers. 

With drinks in hand, conversations covered a myriad of topics from: how Partners can add Cloud Back as a second service; hard bundle offering tips; product updates such as Cloud Backup self-service option; white label marketing materials available; Cloud Backup security enhancements; and much more.

walk the moonFrom the Pub Crawl to SeaWorld we went, as ConnectWise hosted their IT Nation Celebration with a total take over of the park and a musical performance by Walk the Moon.




DAY THREE – Friday November 9

Highlights from day three included the inauguration of ConnectWise’s Torch Talk, a panel-led discussion that included ConnectWise CEO Arnie Bellini and other industry leaders discussing security and the moral obligation Partners have to keep their clients secure. 


We said our final goodbyes in the booth as the Solutions Pavilion came to a close. Partners engaged in demos of our Migrations Suites and Cloud Backup, discussed business acceleration plans, and took home some SkyKick swag of course.

In all, ConnectWise welcomed 3,600 attendees this year, making it their largest IT Nation Connect to date. We’re already looking forward to next year and hope to see you there.

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