MSPs: How Selling Data Resilience Gives You a Powerful Differentiator That Wins (and Keeps) Customers

MAY 30TH, 2023

The global managed services market is projected to increase to $354.8 billion by 2026, a nearly 8 percent CAGR. That means opportunities abound for managed services providers (MSPs) looking to grow. It’s also opening the floodgates for increased competition. And that competition is becoming more formidable. 

For example, one MSP that goes by the unique name “The 20 MSP” is adapting to this trend by recently acquiring four MSPs right on the heels of its acquisition of six more MSPs. Other MSPs are looking toward specialization as the key to sustained growth. Both approaches offer opportunities to capture new customers and grow existing ones.

Regardless of whether you’re a specialist or provide a range of managed services, there is one area that every customer looking for or working with an MSP must address: data resilience. ISACA, an international professional association focused on IT governance, says vendors define data resilience as “the ability of data infrastructure to avoid unexpected disruptions, and a combination of governance, operational, and technical considerations involved in these efforts.” 

ISACA also proposes an agnostic definition. “A resilient data system can continue to operate when faced with adversity that could otherwise compromise its availability, capacity, interoperability, performance, robustness, safety, security, and usability.”

However you define it, with today’s increasing cyber threats and the potential for natural disasters, hardware failures, and more always on the horizon, data resilience is what customers want and need. The numbers bear this out, with Maximize Market Research saying the U.S. data resiliency market will grow at a 19.5 percent CAGR from 2021 through 2029, reaching nearly $83 billion—almost one-quarter of the overall managed services market. Delivering data resilience is where the market is headed. And for excellent reasons.

Data Is Precious and Downtime Is Disastrous

MSPs may be all about IT, but for customers, everything comes down to data. All that hardware and software is meaningless without the data flowing through it that is the lifeblood of every business. And they’ll do just about anything to protect it once they understand the costs in dollars and goodwill breaches, data loss, and downtime can cost them. It’s a lot. IBM puts the global average cost of a data breach at $4.35 million and the average cost of a ransomware attack at $4.54 million.   

Meanwhile, Uptime’s 2022 Data Center Resiliency Survey found that 80 percent of data center managers and operators have experienced some type of outage in the past three years. And over 60 percent of failures (downtime, essentially) resulted in at least $100,000 in total losses, while 15 percent cost more than $1 million. 

Businesses are acting because they understand the severity of the threats they face and increasingly recognize that data resilience is a must-have. An IDC survey found that 78 percent of IT leaders indicated digital resilience would be their top investment priority over the next two years. That translates into a ripe market for MSPs offering solutions that guarantee data resilience, eliminate data loss, and minimize downtime.

Data Resilience Is a Big Differentiator

By offering data resilience, your company can cement its role as a valued, trusted managed services partner for existing customers and attract new customers searching for solutions they can be confident in, knowing that their data is protected and their systems are resilient. It’s also an easy sales conversation starter since everyone responsible for organizational data is always looking for ways to improve their protections. 

A recent KuppingerCole Executive View report dives into the key capabilities that comprise effective data resilience and disaster recovery solutions. These are worth considering as you build your data resilience, offering to create a strong competitive differentiator.

Protect a Wide Range of Data Types

KuppingerCole recommends that the solutions you offer your customers can protect a wide range of data types commonly found in organizations, including unstructured data, file systems, and databases. Big data and data analytics—areas that are crucial to digital transformation—should also be covered. It should also support snapshots of physical servers, VMs, cloud VMs, and containers so your customers can quickly restore services.

Include Infrastructure Protections 

Many business-critical applications are deployed via infrastructure as a service (IaaS). While the cloud service provider (CSP) is responsible for the infrastructure, your customer is responsible for the resilience of their data. That means the solutions you offer must provide protections for applications and data stored in commonly used IaaS services. 

SaaS Data Demands Protection, Too

More organizations depend on SaaS applications to run their business than ever. While the CSP is responsible for some level of service continuity, it may not meet your customers’ RTO and RPO requirements. That could range from RTOs that take too much time to a lack of protection against customer errors. Your solutions should protect SaaS data, including office productivity tools and CRM systems, and support custom data retention requirements.

Offer Storage Options

Data storage and management are critical components of most businesses today. By offering a tiered approach to data storage, you can also save customers a substantial amount of money. That starts by identifying which data is crucial and must be backed up and protected and which can either be deleted or stored in a lower-cost option. 

Most importantly, it means offering options for ensuring critical data—financial or customer information, for example—is tightly secured, highly available, and quickly and easily recovered in case of a disaster. That’s data resilience in a nutshell. 

Your options should include backup solutions that can write protected data to disk or tape library devices to help manage your customers’ data storage costs. And your cloud-based storage solution should be compatible across varying protected environments so your customers can use the CSP of their choice while storing backed-up data in their local region, if necessary, for faster recovery. 

Security Must Be Paramount

Security starts with the basics. That includes robust security measures like encryption, firewalls, antivirus, antimalware software, and more. But a data disaster that falls on any MSP’s customer will impact your reputation as much or more than the customer’s. So offer solutions that ensure data in transit to and from the customer’s location is secured. Customer data-at-rest must be protected against unauthorized access, too, so be sure the solution supports robust certified encryption technologies and includes role-based access controls (RBAC) and multi-factor authentication (MFA).

Disaster Recovery Should Be a Snap

Prevention isn’t perfect. All it takes is an employee at a customer site clicking on an infected download to bring a system down—or fire or flood. Whatever the cause, getting your customers back up and running fast when disaster strikes will earn you their trust and open the door to more growth opportunities, if only through a positive bump to your reputation. 

The solutions you offer should include disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) options ranging from fully managed to assisted recovery, providing your customers’ recovery infrastructure while managing backup and replication. The service should also be available as a self-service solution that your customer manages internally.   

Arcserve Solutions: Unified Data Resilience Is Your Differentiator

The KuppingerCole report addresses the areas above, relating to how Arcserve solutions deliver on these promises with unified data resilience solutions. Here’s a quick recap.

Wide Range of Data Types

  • Protect virtual environments, including Nutanix hyperconverged infrastructure (HCI) with Nutanix AHV, files and objects integration, and VMware, Hyper-V, RHEV, KVM, Citrix, and Xen VMs with agentless and agent-based options. 
  • Deliver backup and recovery for Oracle databases with native RMAN integration and Microsoft SQL Server—including file classification infrastructure (FCI) clusters—Exchange, SharePoint, Active Directory, and Microsoft 365. They also provide protection—including ransomware prevention—for file servers, network-attached storage (NAS), storage-area networks (SAN), UNIX, FreeBSD, AIX, HP-UX, Solaris, SAP R/3, SAP HANA, and other platforms.

Infrastructure Protection  

  • Deploy on Amazon EC2 VMs, protecting operating systems and applications supported by physical machines as virtual machines (VMs) on AWS EC2 or deployed on Azure with the same capabilities.
  • Support bare metal recovery (BMR) for backups into Azure—where the source can be physical or virtual regardless of the original hypervisor—using virtual standby (VSB) and into AWS by using a proxy machine running in AWS. 

SaaS Data Protection  

  • Offer complete cloud-to-cloud backup for data stored in Microsoft 365, Microsoft 365 Azure AD, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Salesforce, and Google Workspace. 
  • Provide comprehensive on-premises protection for Microsoft 365, including Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, and OneDrive for Business

Storage Choices

  • Integrate onsite and offsite backup and restore with built-in cloud disaster recovery (DR) and backup to Arcserve Cloud Services and private and public clouds, including AWS, Microsoft Azure, Oracle Cloud, and Nutanix Objects let your customers choose the geographic location where their protected data is stored.
  • Protect onsite customer data with appliances that provide immutable object-based NAS with a scale-out architecture that lets your customers add one drive at a time or multiple nodes in a cluster, avoiding wasted storage capacity and associated costs. 
  • Combine the advantages of a distributed, immutable object store with the accessibility of SMB and NFS protocols and enterprise features, including global inline deduplication, compression, continuous data protection (CDP), and encryption at rest.

Robust Security 

  • Manage access with RBAC and MFA using the Okta platform.
  • Protect data-in-transit with TLS 1.2 (at rest) and AES-256 (in transit) encryption, with data encrypted on the protected server before sending it to its backup destination.
  • Support AWS S3 Object Lock that provides immutable storage, preventing deletion or alteration of customer backups.
  • Defend recovery point servers (RPS) and the management console against cyberattacks with integrated Sophos Intercept X Advanced for Server. 
  • Takes snapshots of customer data every 90 seconds for backups that meet the tightest RPOs.

Effective Disaster Recovery

  • Provide failover capabilities for on-premises servers by transferring images to the Arcserve Cloud that can be used to run virtual instances of the servers in the cloud that are accessible via a secure virtual private network (VPN).
  • Enable customers to keep virtual copies of systems on Nutanix AHV, VMware vSphere, Microsoft Hyper-V, Amazon AWS EC2, and Microsoft Azure, with an Instant VM feature that allows ad-hoc spin-up of backups as VMs on the local backup server or any VMware or Hyper-V host.
  • Offer features that automatically synchronize files, databases, and applications on Windows and Linux systems with a second physical or virtual environment on-premises, at a remote location, or in the cloud in real-time, and orchestrate the cutover to the target destination, simplifying data migration.

Arcserve Technology Partners: Standouts In IT

When you partner with Arcserve, you can offer the broadest set of best-in-class solutions for managing, protecting, and recovering all data workloads for customers ranging from SMBs to enterprises, regardless of location. 

Arcserve solutions eliminate complexity while empowering you with cost-effective, agile, and massively scalable offerings that deliver data resilience. And we are recognized for building highly collaborative working relationships with our technology partners.

Learn more about the benefits of becoming an Arcserve technology partner.

Read the full KuppingerCole report here.