How File Sync and IT Consumerization Make Money for MSPs
Peel back all the hype and hysteria surrounding the consumerization of IT and what you typically find are end users trying to remotely access their files using a mobile computing device. Many organizations have come to realize that one way or another end users are going to transfer files to and from those devices any way they can. After all, corporate policies notwithstanding, end users are going to do whatever they think will make their jobs simpler.
IT organizations are finally coming to terms with that reality. As a result, many of them want to be able to provide their employees with a file synchronization capability; they just don’t necessarily want to deploy and manage it.
With that issue in mind two providers of data protection services delivered via the cloud recently extending their offerings to include file transfer services. Both vendors are exclusively channel and are enabling their partners to solve a potentially thorny problem at a time when several consumer-grade cloud services have been hacked.
In the case of Intronis, the company has added an ECHOshare file synchronization offering that managed service providers can now offer alongside a range of data protection services. Aaron Dun, chief marketing officer for Intronis, says the idea is to enable MSP to provide a broader range of data management services that can be both centrally managed and, just as significantly, presented on one bill to the customer.
Acronis, meanwhile, provides Acronis Access, a file synchronization capability that is layered on top of the company’s core AnyData data protection platform. Acronis General Manager Patrick Hurley, notes that replication capabilities that Acronis developed for data protection make file synchronization a natural extension to that platform.
In both cases, MSPs can take advantage of either service to offer file synchronization services under their own brands. While there is no doubt that thanks to the rise of mobile computing that interest in file synchronization is at an all-time high, other data suggests that end users wind up using consumer-grade services largely because, at least as far as they know, their internal IT organization does not provide any type of similar capability.
Naturally, that creates a significant opportunity for MSPs. Major storage system vendors such as EMC and NetApp have integrated file synchronization capabilities. But most internal IT organizations don’t have the time or inclination to implement those services particularly well. In addition, most customers have multiple types of storage systems from different vendors, so they more often than not need an approach that is not tied to particular storage systems vendor. An MSP that provides a secure file synchronization capability not only solves a major problem for the internal IT organization, it opens doors to all kinds of future data management possibilities.
In general, the consumerization of IT is creating demand for IT services that are easier to consume than what most internal IT organizations can deliver. With that in mind, MSPs would be well advised to focus more on how to provide a superior IT experience to organizations where the internal IT organization clearly doesn’t have the ability to do that themselves.