Managed Service Providers, take note: a wave of transformation has begun.
As traction for the cloud continues to grow, customers are increasingly seeking cloud-based solutions for everything from backup, archival, and collaboration to email, active directory, security solutions, and network infrastructure management. As a result, revenue from cloud professional services is expected to grow to US$30 billion by 2018, according to a recent survey by Decision Tree Labs.
Of this impressive figure, the survey predicts that cloud-based backup and recovery services offer the greatest potential for revenue growth.
Navigating these new waters will not be smooth sailing, however. The changing landscape mandates that managed service providers (MSPs) reinvent their business and support models.
Traditionally, MSPs invested considerable resources in dealing with the challenges of on-site support, management and replacement of hardware, building in of redundancy across sites, etc. These challenges restricted the value and number of services an MSP could offer its customers, and hardware limitations often resulted in significant MSP churn.
In order to succeed, though, MSPs must be able to scale their offerings, keeping pace with their customers’ growth.
Today’s rapid increase in cloud adoption represents a golden opportunity for MSPs to focus on what really matters to their customers: products that deliver a clearly-defined benefit. MSPs can now increase the breadth of solutions they offer without having to linearly expand their workforce to service those solutions.
Today’s rapid increase in cloud adoption represents a golden opportunity for MSPs to focus on what really matters to their customers
Cloud-based products, offering instant trials and small initial purchases, allow MSPs to rapidly test and implement new solutions, and provide an opportunity for them to bundle their services coherently. For example, an MSPs can now combine multiple solutions into a “Data Protection” bundle that might include backup, archival, DLP, and governance—without having to worry about what would once have been astronomical hardware requirements.
Unfortunately, though, not all cloud solutions are created equally. There are still concerns around data security, scalability, service-level agreements (SLAs), data sovereignty (i.e. ensuring data does not traverse geographical boundaries), reliability, data integrity, etc. Thus it is extremely important that MSPs exercise caution when deciding on new offerings.
Here are some best practices MSPs should keep in mind when selecting cloud-based solutions:
- True multi-tenancy: True SaaS solutions are built from the bottom up, with a truly multi-tenant architecture that guarantees no risk of data spoilage (i.e. data from multiple customers becoming intermingled). It is extremely important to understand that simply running an on-premise solution in a data center or on an Amazon Machine Image does not make it a cloud solution—don’t fall for the marketing mumbo-jumbo!
- Data Security and Privacy: Storing your data in the cloud is like storing your valuables in a bank’s safe deposit box: no one but you should have access to them—the bank should not even know what you have stored! In the same way, you should evaluate cloud solutions for the security that they guarantee. Look for security certifications, audit reports, and reference customers to judge the level of security offered. Ask for penetration test reports to gauge the stability of the system against malicious attacks. Look not only at the results, but at how frequently the tests are conducted. A good cloud-based independent software vendor (ISV) will take all necessary steps to ensure the security of their offering.
- Data Sovereignty: If you have customers with a global footprint, find out if your solution guarantees that data does not traverse geographical boundaries. For example, does your cloud solution provider (CSP) meet the EU-US Privacy Shield requirements that replaced EU Safe Harbor regulations in October 2015? Your customers—and you—can get into significant trouble if data sovereignty regulations are violated.
- Service-level Agreements: Legacy on-premise solutions place the onus for system uptime on the MSP. While challenging, MSPs have the option to respond on their own in the event of an outage. Cloud-based solutions do not afford MSPs this luxury—if an outage occurs, all they can do is keep calling the ISV. When selecting an independent software vendor, MSPs should thoroughly evaluate the service-level agreements being offered with a careful eye on uptime percentage, service credit, etc. It is equally important to understand the support model offered by the vendor, and the best way to test support is to use During your evaluation, raise a couple of tickets and check for metrics like response times, quality of responses, time to closure, etc.
Druva has been working tirelessly to expand its MSP offering and now operates on a truly global scale. Exciting new features include a dedicated partner portal for MSPs alongside a new management platform for running converged data protection services for customers based in the public cloud. Working with MSPs, Druva offers full data backup and governance services using Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure public cloud instances around the world. This ensures that customers can enjoy the benefits of data protection faster and more affordably than with traditional solutions or other MSP service offerings.
We also invite you to access the 2015 Gartner report comparing 8 top endpoint backup vendors to learn why Druva is rated top overall.
*Gartner, Inc., Critical Capabilities for Enterprise Endpoint Backup, Pushan Rinnen and Robert Rhame, November 12, 2015.
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