MSPs: turn email archiving into a value-add

Pete Roythorne

Email is an important part of the solution that many managed service providers (MSPs) offer their users. In the scramble to sell this service, though, it is easy to overlook other associated offerings. Enterprise email archiving can be a valuable addition to an MSP’s service portfolio, as long as they market it effectively to their customers.

What most MSPs want is an easy-to-manage, high-margin service that provides repeatable revenue. It also helps if they can offer something that fits into their existing portfolio as a relevant add-on, because this makes it a relatively easy sell to their users.

An enterprise email archive fits that description. When implemented properly, it’s a low-effort service with a relatively high return. MSPs that market cloud email archiving correctly can sell their customers peace of mind. They can not only assure them that they are compliant with external email retention regulations, but also that their email is a permanent record of internal knowledge, rather than an ephemeral communication system.

Email archiving is a key compliance tool, and handled properly, it can also improve the efficiency of an email operation.

The customer proposition

shutterstock_235336597The key to selling corporate email archiving solutions to customers is to sell the benefits, rather than the technology. One of the first advantages of this service is efficiency.

CompTIA surveyed small businesses for its fourth annual report on attitudes towards managed services. It found that improving the efficiency and reliability of IT operations was the top reason for companies wanting to move to a managed services provider. Furthermore, 47% of companies with fewer than 100 employees cited this as a reason, while 56% of companies with a headcount greater than 100 listed it as a driver.

Reliability is something that MSPs can capitalize on in their service offering. “Everything in cloud computing revolves around the negotiated SLAs,” explains IT guru Kevin Jackson. “Cloud-based email is perfectly good in the cloud as long as the cloud service provider can meet any regulatory, legal, or business requirements.”

The second benefit is regulatory peace of mind. Of the companies surveyed by CompTIA, 38% cited enhanced security and compliance as a reason to move to a managed services provider, making it the second most compelling reason.

Extending the value

emailSavvy MSPs can provide a broader value-added proposition for enterprise email archiving, though. A properly configured system with a comprehensive set of features gives their customers the chance to mine their emails for insights.

Reporting features attached to a business email archive can enable a customer’s admin staff to query their archive for actionable business information. They may be able to identify who has been the most active communicator, for example, or highlight those employees consistently mailing inappropriate domains (such as those operated by their competitors, perhaps).

MSPs that want to layer an additional consultation service on top of a cloud email archive may also consider helping customers to configure their emails for security monitoring. They can design these services to monitor for warning signs, such as the inappropriate sharing of intellectual property in the form of text or attachments.

Maintaining a corporate email archive can also help MSPs serve their customers better, by refining their own email storage operations, reducing the cost per user while increasing the revenue. A properly-implemented service means that you don’t need a separate email backup. Instead, you have a compressed, immutable record that can be used to restore emails.

So, when considering enterprise email archiving as a service proposition for customers, MSPs shouldn’t hide it. Instead, they should talk it up as a key part of their service portfolio, offering it as a bundled service, but also as a separate add-on for customers. This can help to shorten the sales cycle for the MSP.

If marketed correctly, cloud email archiving promises high margin, incremental revenue on top of services that they are already offering. In a crowded market where competition is fierce, any extra added value can only be a good thing.