The advent of Cloud Services has meant that onus for maintenance and backup for many client services no longer falls with the MSP.
Take Hosted Exchange for instance – a service like Microsoft Office 365 has zero Microsoft Exchange maintenance requirements, and all data is backed up and stored securely in a Microsoft Datacentre.
Or is it? Microsoft are not alone in suffering outages for their Cloud Hosted services, and for many MSP’s, thoughts have turned to how they can supplement the Cloud Service providers backups with their own systems of backup and redundancy.
Adding such services can be a real value add for a client in an industry where margins on Cloud Services are typically slim.
E-Mail is core to many clients businesses, and so ensuring that e-mail continues to flow when a Cloud Service is experiencing an outage is a belt and braces approach that many clients would be interested in. Additionally, the bog standard e-mail security products that are provided with many Cloud Services means that Spam and false-positives, or legitimate e-mails incorrectly marked as spam, can still be a problem.
The solution lies in providing both redundancy and a better grade of spam filtering, using best of breed products such as GFI Max Mail. By re-directing the clients MX record within DNS to a service such as Max Mail, and then configuring Max Mail to deliver e-mail to the Cloud Hosted service, your client gains the benefit of better e-mail security, plus a 2nd Web Portal to visit should the Cloud Hosted e-mail service suffer an outage. Additionally, you can offer e-mail archiving services through a product such as GFI Max Mail Archive – helping your client achieve both internal and regulatory standards, whilst adding another recurring revenue source to your MSP business.
Beyond e-mail, a clients web-site is often one of their most important Cloud Hosted services, and one of their most vulnerable. Many a smaller MSP will re-tell a story of how their clients Web-Site was hacked and ended up displaying a Political motivated message or worse. A service such as CodeGuard ensures that your clients web-site is regularly and automatically backed up, so that in the event of a breach or accident that takes a web-site off-line, you can quickly restore your clients web-site back to its former state.
Similarly, Cloud service Backupify allows users to automatically backup other Cloud Hosted services such as GoogleMail, Flickr, Facebook (including company fan-pages) and even Twitter – ensuring that if the Cloud Service provider loses data, or even if the user accidentally destroys their own data, a backup is available for restoration.
Another service that is gaining popularity is Managed Online Backup. These services can be as simple or as complex as your client needs. In this model, backups of vital documents and other data take place automatically according to a schedule to a cloud datacenter. The beauty of this type of service is that a good Managed Online Backup service will allow you to schedule backups at downtimes, such as after office hours.
Where automatic backup is not possible, MSP’s can also help their clients backup Cloud Service data on a manual basis. On-Line Accounting and CRM services often offer the facility to export data to a single file for backup purposes – and so the MSP can set a recurring ticket within their PSA or CRM tool to ensure that either they or the client download this data and store it in a secure location, be it on-site, or with another Cloud Backup tool.
Regardless of what Cloud Services your client has, as an MSP you have both an obligation and an opportunity to treat these services like an on-site service – ensuring that the data is backed up regularly.
As the former owner of an award winning IT Managed Service Provider, Richard Tubb works with MSPs to help them increase sales, take on employees and build up relationships with key industry contacts. You don't have to do it alone any more - contact Richard and have a chat about your needs and how he can help you.