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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreement (SLA)

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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

SLAs are the foundation of your MSP business. They are essential to building strong client relationships and must be clear, reasonable and well-constructed.

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Backup to the Future Part II: Bridging the IT Skills Gap as Backup Environments Become More Complex

Posted March 29, 2017by Joseph Tavano

Backup to the Future Part II: Bridging the IT Skills Gap as Backup Environments Become More Complex

“Backup to the Future” is a blog series that explores the state of the backup and disaster recovery as a service today—and the challenges that come with offering it—and looks forward to the ongoing new paradigms that are dramatically transforming the sector into tomorrow. Through this eight-part series, you’ll learn the forces that are shaping the business models for MSPs offering BDR today, and how to evolve to take on new business more efficiently and more profitably for long-term success.

As discussed in part one of this series, many current BDR solutions available to MSPs today feature an outdated labor model that restricts growth and scalability. In this article, we’ll dig a little deeper into one of the crucial reasons why this is so: the growing IT skills gap.

Really, an IT Skills Gap?

With such a low unemployment rate in the US among IT professionals, it may sound counter-intuitive to think there is a lack of skills in the industry. IT professionals are some of the most qualified, trained and certified professionals in the world, often with thousands of hours of hands-on technical experience in their field. So how could a skills gap exist? There are a number of factors.

First, IT environments for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are becoming more complex. In an era where numerous computers, wireless devices, routers, printers and other internet-connected technology are all part of a client’s IT network, the degree of specialization that is required to meet the demands of service delivery has only increased. Add to that the increased importance of cloud-based architecture into modern IT environments, and specialization then increases.

The result is that you might be able to hire a highly qualified on-prem Exchange database architect, but you might not be able to find a Cloud Exchange DBA or an Oracle or Cisco DBA to take on new clients that require experts in those technologies. With public and private cloud architecture crystallizing into very specific technologies, the specific BDR needs for clients can vary greatly, leading to a diversification of skills and experience that runs counter to predictions of a more unified skillset from years earlier.

All in all, finding the right BDR technicians for your team with the requisite experience and skills can be difficult, expensive and sometimes impossible.

The Geographic Gap

With IT demands no longer clustered around major cities and their outlying metro areas, the demand for high-quality managed IT services is high across the country.

From densely populated urban areas to suburbs to more rural areas in America’s heartland, SMBs are now in greater need of IT service delivery and BDR capabilities to run their businesses than ever. However, the ubiquity of technology has not followed in lockstep with the labor patterns of the nation, leaving many SMBs (and MSPs) with little or no IT professionals working locally to manage their BDR needs. With short supply and high demand, the cost of qualified BDR technicians can outpace the budgets of many MSPs, only to run into staffing issues again and again when trying to take on more clients.

Bridging the Gap

The IT skills gap is very real and one of the most serious challenges for MSP business owners today and into the foreseeable future. The only choice for long term success is to adapt to overcome these challenges. As you may know, the work required to run a BDR platform is time-consuming and routine, but it’s also highly specialized, leading to the IT skills gap issues we’ve just discussed. Fortunately, there is one BDR solution that can meet these challenges head on.

Continuity247® is unlike any other backup and disaster recovery platform in a number of ways—the most prominent being that it is far from just software. Continuity247 is the perfect combination of leading BDR software that’s built for the needs of modern MSPs and a world-class Network Operations Center (NOC) that is monitoring, managing, and verifying the backups of your clients, so you and your technicians can do more. Continuum NOC technicians are highly skilled, with a range of certifications, specializations and experience that simply cannot be matched at the same scale. This host of qualified talent is at your service and in back of every Continuity247 agent installed.

Continuity247 bridges the skills gap by bundling specialized BDR labor costs right into the price of the platform. Continuum MSPs pay for the technology, the labor and the certified skills to take on virtually any client they can close, neutralizing any issues that competitors will be facing relating to IT skills gap issues. This means that MSPs that switch to Continuity247 as their BDR solution will be able to grow faster and more efficiently, and with the unique advantages of the platform, will be able to outpace their competition as the channel becomes increasingly commoditized.

Click here to read part three of this series!

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Joseph Tavano is Senior Content Marketing Manager at Continuum, with more than 12 years of experience in content creation and editorial in various disciplines. He is the author of numerous eBooks, eGuides, blog posts and other collateral that enable Continuum partners and IT service providers in the channel to make their businesses stronger and grow their profits. He is also the producer of the Continuum Podcast Network, which publishes multiple shows every week and reaches tens of thousands of IT professionals every year. A native of Boston, he holds bachelors in English and History from Suffolk University and resides in Salem, Massachusetts.

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