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February 13, 2020
By Adir Cohen
Managed service providers (MSPs) who want to take advantage of the cloud face a paradox. On the one hand, Gartner forecasts the global public cloud services market to grow 17.5% in 2019 (from $182.4 billion in 2018 to $214.3 billion last year), with cloud system infrastructure services (IaaS) predicted to be the fastest-growing market segment.
And although most businesses have embraced the cloud, skeptics remain, especially among smaller businesses. For MSPs who stand to profit by offering consumption-based pricing models as well as assistance in cloud deployment, migration and support and other supplementary services, the challenge is clear. It’s about building confidence.
Replace these common client doubts with confidence-building steps:
Client pain: Moving to cloud is overwhelming and uncertain. Most clients would adopt new technology that will move their businesses ahead. But they’re fearful that there’s no way back if the company needs to change after they’ve moved their data and applications to the cloud; or that it will be difficult for them to change providers should the one they’ve selected no longer best serve their needs.
MSP Solution: Take cloud migration slow and easy. Encourage clients to adopt a hybrid approach. Clients can move at their pace, switching to the cloud one service at a time. For example, they can start small by moving only their email services; they can then sample the advantages of cloud without being overwhelmed by a complete and total migration.
Client pain: Moving to cloud is unnecessary. Some clients already know about the benefits of cloud but because of their reluctance to change and to fix what isn’t broken, they’re still sitting on the fence. While MSPs understand cloud technology from top to bottom, they may have problems successfully selling it.
MSP solution: Here are cloud benefits tailored to your needs. Before you make your sales pitch, anticipate potential objections and be equipped to respond to them. While cloud isn’t for everyone, inaccurate perceptions may stop your clients from making an advantageous business move. Make sure they have all the facts on hand so that they can make an informed decision. Be ready to hear them out, identify their pains and worries, and match your solutions to their concerns. The top client objections include cost, data security, compliance readiness, remote team access, and the seemingly insurmountable task of moving all legacy apps to cloud. Address their concerns directly and present the advantages of cloud migration: faster apps/services deployment times, enhanced security, simplified infrastructure, reduced operational costs, improved collaboration and more.
Client pain: Moving to cloud is costly. For many businesses not yet on cloud, it’s an unknown factor; and many would prefer to spend money to upgrade existing on-premise hardware than invest in something they consider having no proof of concept. Most likely, your cloud solution will more than meet their budget forecast. It’s certainly better than investing in maintaining and renewing aging IT infrastructure.
MSP solution: Cloud offers financial gains. Explain the significant savings coming from lower operating costs. Their physical server costs money even when they’re idle, so sharing cloud infrastructure with other organizations allows them to pay only for your workload demands; lower energy costs without their own underutilized data center; lower staffing budgets and benefit from a more streamlined workforce; ensures no upfront investments; and requires no purchase of redundant or spare hardware. Moreover, most MSPs offer various pricing models tailored to client requirements, including per user; tiered bundles; and a la carte for more flexibility and customization.
Client pain: Moving to cloud is risky. Companies working with sensitive data may regularly perform backups or invest in security solutions, thinking this is enough to protect data in their …
… on-prem servers, a storage solution they’re familiar with and think they have more control over than the unknown cloud.
MSP solution: Cloud has multiple levels of control and security. People are understandably fearful about storing data off-site. Educate clients that cloud providers regularly install patches and updates for them, saving them time and reducing the risk of attacks without cloud services downtime. Cloud services are well secured against DDoS attacks; encrypt data while providing sophisticated employee-sharing tools; and protect against power outages, natural disasters and human errors that can cause data loss. Moreover, as MSPs, you can provide support by offering the best security solution for the client’s business needs. You also need to remind them that the cloud provider has a much larger security budget than they do and can provide security they cannot afford.
Client pain: Data loss and recovery. Your customers may be wondering how safely and effectively backup and archiving can be done in cloud.
MSP solution: Cloud provides better backup and archiving options. Cloud backup enables companies to send a copy of a physical file to a secondary off-site location to preserve it should the company face equipment failure or other disaster. By using cloud backup, customers can bolster their data protection game plan without adding to the workload of their IT departments and save on labor, hardware and software licensing costs. A cloud archive serves as long-term storage for data only occasionally accessed but nevertheless vital for compliance. Cloud archiving is cost effective when compared with in-house archiving and eliminates the need to buy archiving hardware and software for on-premise use. Cloud archiving also helps companies use less power and cooling resources and reduces the data center footprint.
Client pain: Who needs MSPs when there’s Amazon or Microsoft? Businesses may be dazzled by the major cloud players, but not really know what these big names can offer versus an MSP.
MSP solution: MSPs are vital to your cloud journey. Some businesses prefer a cloud environment where they have full control and don’t mind getting minimal support from their provider, a situation often found with the big cloud players. Other customers prefer, or need, extensive guidance, support and services so they can focus their attention on other critical parts of their business. They would benefit more by working with an MSP. Reinforce your vast array of services, including monitoring, management; providing hybrid infrastructure support; automating their cloud infrastructure to reduce the complexity of IT operations; and helping their businesses become more agile. By providing their cloud expertise, user-friendly services and widespread mobile access, MSPs can be the dependable partner clients need to help them in their cloud journey.
MSPs will benefit from action to increase client confidence in switching from traditional on-prem storage and security services to investing in cloud. The more you adapt your approach and offerings to address the fears and objections of potential clients, the more you boost your profits.
Adir Cohen is CEO of Cloud as a Business (CaaB), a cloud-solution provider allowing any MSP, VAR or hosting company to deliver white-labeled cloud offerings to their customers within a day. Follow him on LinkedIn.
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