What will a leading MSP look like in five years' time?
The current environment with COVID-19 should serve as an example to us all, that significant challenges can manifest unexpectedly almost overnight. Successful MSPs need to be agile, flexible and reactive to any given situation - from specific customer requirements to responding to a nationwide call-to-action, all while maintaining business as usual - automating and streamlining operations, to guarantee business efficiency, profitability and continuity.
In the coming years, I see MSPs strengthening their customer relationships. Understanding a client's business model and objectives, will be key in aligning IT strategies and infrastructure plans. MSPs will play an even further pivotal role to this extent, becoming an extension of their client's team, enabling businesses, through IT, to achieve their business goals.
How are you supporting your MSP partners through the COVID-19 crisis?
The global COVID-19 pandemic is causing all of us to live and work, differently. We recognize our partner community has been moving at lightning speed to adjust and support their customers innovatively. Their reliance on trusted technology partners is more critical than ever. We value the on-going engagement with our loyal current and future partners.
As a result, we have transitioned to digital-only experiences that let us continue and maintain the close relationships we have with our partners, in addition to the daily conversations with our channel account managers. We are offering a 30-day free backup and recovery solution to our partners, allowing them to best secure their customer's remote workers data. As many customers are moving to SaaS applications, we are also offering partners a special discounted price per seat for our Cloud Backup for O365/G-Suite offering. We are very much all in this together.
What's backup/continuity trend will have the biggest impact on the MSP space over the next five years?
Today companies are becoming increasingly digital and as a result, they are generating copious amounts of data. Not all of that generated data is equally important to their function.
Organizations that are aware of this - knowing which pieces of data are more critical to their success than others, will be able to better leverage that data. Traditionally organisations take a server-based approach to their data backup and recovery deployments. Their priority is to back up their most critical machines rather than focusing on their most business-critical data. Rather than having backup and recovery policies based on the criticality of each server, we will start to see organisations match their most critical servers with their most important data. In essence, the actual content of the data will become more of a decision driver from a backup and restore point of view.
What are the main challenges and opportunities facing your MSP partners during the COVID-19 crisis?
Our partners had to transition thousands of office-based employees to home-based users literally overnight. They now have to ensure that remote workforce is efficient, productive and, more importantly, that corporate data and systems are secured and available 24/7 no matter what. With so many devices (managed and unmanaged) accessing corporate data from unsecured networks, companies are potentially becoming more vulnerable to cyberattacks.
In addition, the strict lockdown is posing a challenge for MSPs to go on-site in the event of a power failure or hardware failure. As a result, MSP customers now understand the value of off-site data and systems backup replication with true failover from the cloud to strengthen their overall data resilience posture. This is a must have and not a nice to have.
We also find a lot of organisations have adopted SaaS-based applications such as Microsoft 365 for their remote users with the support of their MSPs. It is imperative this SaaS data is backed up, as it can also be targeted by hackers (ransomcloud), as we have seen with many o- premise servers and devices.
What do you see as the next big opportunity for MSPs to grow their backup and continuity offering?
Organisations will have to look for more efficient and innovative ways to protect unstructured and structured data as data is becoming increasingly distributed - from on-premise servers, cloud-based applications, RoBo - particularly with COVID-19 forcing employees to work from home. An essential element to being prepared in the 'recovery era' will involve moving unstructured data to immutable object storage with remote replication, which will eliminate the need for traditional backup. The nightly backup will become a thing of the past, replaced by snapshots every 90 seconds. This approach will free up crucial primary storage budget, VMware/Hyper-V storage, and CPU/memory for critical servers.
What does it mean to you to be shortlisted for Best Backup/Continuity Offering in CPI's European MSP Innovation Awards?
StorageCraft has been innovating advanced data management, protection and recovery solutions for almost two decades. Together with our channel partners, we ensure medium and small organisations keep their business-critical information always safe, accessible, and optimized. Regardless of whether an organization relies on on-premises, cloud-based or a hybrid IT environment, MSPs using our technologies can solve the challenges of exploding data growth while ensuring business continuity through best in class protection and recovery solutions.
It is a great honour for StorageCraft to be shortlisted for Best Backup/Continuity Offering in the CPI European MSP Innovation Awards. This validates our product innovation and development decisions over the last 20 years, allowing us to meet the market requirements for today and tomorrow. More importantly being recognised by the MSP community is an immense achievement as the channel is in our DNA.
This article is part of CPI's MSP Innovation Awards 2020 coverage, celebrating the most disruptive MSPs across the continent and the vendors that support them. Find out more in our MSP Innovation Awards hub