Over the last few years, the most important buzzword for MSPs has been “cloud.” However, if you asked 10 vendors what the cloud is, you may get 10 different answers. Many SMBs are super-confused about what the cloud means and how it can help them. In fact, in many cases they “only know it when they see it.” Providing practical solutions using cloud technologies is the best way to help your customers overcome some of the inherent fear of putting their technology in the cloud.
Before we try to help define what makes a service cloudy, we need to acknowledge that there is a huge opportunity for those MSPs who are getting involved. Both the types of services coming to the market and the number of users for these services are growing at a rapid rate. In particular, we at Acronis have seen a massive shift in customer behavior when offering cloud backup and cloud disaster recovery services. No longer are SMBs happy to backup only to a tape drive for offsite storage when they can get a service, more cheaply, in the cloud.
The best thing about cloud services is that it is really easy to get started for both you and your customer. MSPs gain greatly from the automation and durability of cloud solutions. No longer is it required to gain core competencies in data center management. Managing customers is a breeze. In fact, at Acronis we are able to get MSPs up and going with a cloud backup solution in just about no time at all. Similarly, once our partner is set up, end users are able to start utilizing the backup solutions immediately using our simple onboarding tools.
Of course, one of the biggest benefits of the cloud is that it can be way cheaper than traditional solutions. In part, this is because the customer pays only for what it consumes. In traditional solutions, there are a lot of empty gigabytes floating around on disks and tapes waiting to be filled. Despite the nice price break for your customers, MSPs still make a much larger profit from selling cloud solutions. First, the volume pricing dynamics in using a cloud service solution allows plenty of margin to be shared. Secondarily, the revenue stream switches from being clunky and chunky sales cycles to a smooth regular revenue stream that can be relied upon over time.
Cloud services also have several unexpected benefits to the MSP. Reducing churn is a problem for every business. It turns out that customers who use a cloud service on top of the other solutions being offered are far less likely to leave. The competitor down the road will always make life rough with closer margins. However, cloud customers are far more adverse to switching providers, as they want the consistency that their current solution provides. Additionally, because a cloud solution, like cloud backup, is often a secondary sale, the cost of customer acquisition is practically nil. Tacking on that third or fourth sale to the same customer is often the difference between profitability and loss as marketing is always one of the highest costs in any business.
In summary, a good cloud solution should be:
- Easy to begin using
- Cost effective to scale
- Scalable so that only used space is charged
- Secure and robust
- A great way to extend a customer relationship
At Acronis, we are all in on cloud data protection and enabling our service provider partners to rapidly grow revenue with new cloud services. In fact, our backup cloud and disaster recovery products are recognized around the world for their innovation and ease of use.
If you would like to know how your MSP business can start selling a great cloud backup solution, please check out our special intro to Acronis cloud solutions here.
Good luck with your journey into the cloud.
Jon McCarrick is Acronis Partner Technology Evangelist. Jon is a veteran in the cloud service provider space, having worked for Parallels and Open-xchange prior to joining Acronis. Jon's mission is to create an active community of service providers around the Acronis product line. Expect to visit with Jon at your favorite trade show or find him on your favorite social media platform.