Grow your MSP business with data protection

Data protection services are a great mechanism to grow a managed service practice. Every SMB needs a viable data protection strategy, but few have it, so the available market is huge. Here are a few tips to help illustrate the benefits for your business:

  • Expand Your Customer Base—Data Protection is one of the key strategic services you can offer and the SMB market is wide open for grabs. Every SMB needs backup solutions to protect their valuable data and most struggle with cumbersome, ineffective and insecure solutions.  In addition, data protection is a strategic service that allows you to add value by providing one of the most sensitive and critical aspects of a company’s business.  You can help your customers understand the trade-offs between RPO and RTO and the importance of understanding how to build a business continuity plan.
  • Generate Additional (Recurring) Revenues From Your Existing Customers — For break/fix customers and customers you have provided professional services, data protection services allow a natural expansion of your relationship to a model of recurring revenue and value.  Many customers are looking for alternatives to traditional backup solutions and a managed service presents an attractive alternative.
  • Create Sticky Customers by Protecting and Storing Their Data — When you are protecting your customer’s data you have become an indispensable partner in their business. Hiring a new break fix VAR is easy; moving their data to a new data protection service provider is not. What’s more,  if your customer finally gets a data protection service that works well and meets his RPO and RTO objectives they will not want to leave you.
  • Evolve Your Customer Relationships — Selling a strategic service like data protection allows you to completely change your relationship with your customer from being “another” vendor selling hardware/software, to being his “virtual CIO” making strategic recommendations and delivering critical business systems. When developing a business continuity plan, you will gain deep and broad understanding of customer’s business. This allows you to deliver even more value down the road.
  • Ride the Wave of Growth— One of the beauties of any service tied to data is that data typically grows at a minimum of 20% year over year.  This means that your data protection service will grow 20% on average even if you don’t add new customers.  That is why it is important to create a business model that is able to capture the data growth.
  •  Increase Your Brand Value by Selling a Customized Offering — Promote the look and feel of your colors, your logo and your brand.  This includes all customer-facing UI components as well as reports.  This helps establish domain expertise for your company even if the majority of the technical expertise is coming from your service partner.
  •  Leverage Existing Infrastructure— If you have made an investment in infrastructure you can leverage that investment by pointing your customer’s data to your data center.  If you haven’t made that investment and don’t want to, you can point your customer data at your service provider partner and let them provide the hardware, software and operations staff, while you focus your energy on professional services engagements and sales.
  • It’s easy – An integrated console provides easy remote administration. Whether you want to be a master MSP managing other service providers or an MSP managing multiple customers, a centralized client management interface is crucial.  The web-based console provides a wide range of control over both backups and restores.  You can designate which functions are automated while still maintaining the ability to manage and monitor the entire backup and recovery process from anywhere and at any time.  In a disaster situation, you can restore files over the web or perform complete bare metal restores of desktops or servers.

Summary

Data protection services are one of the most strategic and broadly applicable services you can sell.  When selecting a technology platform for your service, be sure it has the flexibility to support your service the way you want to package, sell and deliver it. Beware of partners that require you to use their appliance or their datacenter. It is fine if they offer these as options, but you should always have the option of using you own. Also be sure the solution has the option of an on premise only configuration. This will allow you to sell your service to customers that have security concerns about storing their data in the cloud.

As customers look to move away from legacy backup solutions, your ability to provide a path forward for this ever growing space (both in terms of number of customers and data per customer) will make you the partner of choice for your small business customers.

Recommendation

At various points in the past couple years, we have had the opportunity to take a deep look at most of the platforms available today. Based on this review, we believe, Vembu StoreGrid best fits the overall objective of proving a rock solid solution with ample flexiblity to meet the needs of a wide range of customer, but while still providing a decent framework for building out your solution without a lot of additional work. In short, Vembu StoreGrid provides a world-class platform with tremendous flexibility. All of the solutions are fully brandable so you can present a single image to your customers and continue to build the value of your company.

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