Survey Says SMB Customers Want On-Premises Storage Help

There is some good news for any MSPs out there wondering if the SMB market offers growth opportunity. According to a recent survey of more than 250 international small business and IT executives from data storage technology provider Drobo, the answer is a resounding yes, especially where on-premises storage is concerned.

In a general sign that SMBs need outside managed services to help effectively run their IT departments, 68% of respondents have one or fewer people dedicated to IT. No matter how small a company is; the odds are that if its IT department consists of one full-time employee, let alone a part-time employee or even nobody, that department is overwhelmed and unable to effectively select, install, integrate, maintain and upgrade IT systems. They will probably be quite receptive to a reasonable pitch from a qualified MSP who can turn all those tasks into a service available at the flick of a switch.

Now let’s move on to storage.

  • Virtually all respondents (99%) say they will not move 100% of their storage to the cloud; and
  • a majority says 75% or more of their storage will remain on premises.
At first glance, that's bad news for MSPs who specialize in providing pure cloud services, but good news for MSPs that blend on-premise storage with long-term cloud storage in a so-called hybrid approach.

More Good News

Here is some good news for everyone in MSP storage-land: 89% of respondents say that they are unsatisfied with big box storage companies’ current SMB storage offerings, citing a need for SMB-focused support for server virtualization, Microsoft Exchange, and file backup at an affordable price. That means nine in 10 SMBs are looking for someone to help them scale the “one size fits all” services they are getting from their big box providers. Pretty good odds.

Even better, the survey indicates SMBs want remote access, data protection and on-premise backup from their storage provider.
  • 81% percent of respondents reports it is of medium to high importance to have remote access to their data;
  • 76% say that on-premises backup is a high storage priority; and
  • 83% note that data protection features are a high storage priority followed by price.

The Bottom Line

If you are an MSP who provides services in the areas of remote data access, on-premises backup, and/or data protection, roughly eight in 10 of your potential SMB clients are very interested in what you have to offer.

Big box IT and service providers are good at a lot of things, but scaling their offerings to fit the needs and capabilities of smaller customers is not one of them. As the amount of data even smaller companies produce exponentially grows, the potential the SMB data storage market offers MSPs is exponentially growing, as well. The numbers in this survey suggest that if you pitch enough SMB customers with a managed storage services package, you are almost guaranteed success.

Side note: It's important to mention that Drobo specializes in on-premise storage equipment. Although the survey results are interesting, they could be slanted towards customers who are naturally inclined to buy on-premise storage solutions.

Additional insights from Joe Panettieri. Sign up for MSPmentor’s Weekly Enewsletter, Webcasts and Resource Center. Follow us via RSS, Facebook and Twitter. Check out more MSP voices at www.MSPtweet.com. Read our editorial disclosure here.
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