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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 V: The Path to Better BDR Storage

Posted April 19, 2017by Joseph Tavano

Backup to the Future Part V: The Path to Better BDR Storage

When was the last time you thought about your mobile phone plan? I know—it’s not that exciting (who actually loves their phone bill?), but there are a few areas where mobile phone pricing plans and BDR are starting to look increasingly similar. Unless you want your clients to think of your BDR services with the same disdain that’s common in the phone market, it may be a good time to think about your partnership contracts and the pricing and packaging options you are passing down to your clients, because a mobile data plan and BDR storage plans are starting to feel more similar in the marketplace than ever before.

The Myth of Unlimited Storage

We all understand the lure of unlimited plans. The world is moving faster than ever, and MSPs are extremely busy day in and day out. So, the opportunity to purchase and subsequently offer unlimited storage to every client now and into the future seems like an easy option to choose. You’d never have to worry about storage again for a flat fee, and your clients won’t have to either. It sounds great, right?

If you’ve ever signed up for an “unlimited” data plan for mobile phones, then you know that there is, in reality, no such thing as unlimited. Whether there are data caps that are buried in the fine print or data-transmission-speed throttling at specific thresholds, no one is giving away a free lunch when it comes to unlimited data. The truth is that mobile phone plans are offering limited plans that cover the majority of data usage under the guise of a blue-sky offer. This may work for some phone consumers who don’t read, but transferring this concept over to the managed services industry presents significant challenges.

The Value of Flexibility

Let’s be clear: there is a finite amount of storage worldwide. Cloud storage is made up of vast networks of massive, interconnected server farms measured by the zettabyte (and growing), but it is finite. And when finite ends, restrictions begin.

Today, some BDR vendors have begun to offer “unlimited” cloud storage plans for MSPs to provide BDR to their clients—and if you expect there’s a catch, you’re right. These plans are proposing storage within the boundaries of what the vendor believes is “reasonable usage.” At best, it’s not a truly unlimited plan, and at worst it can govern the acceptable upper limits for backups. These are restrictions MSPs should not have to fear when onboarding new clients or planning to grow over time.

Ultimately, “unlimited” BDR storage plans are not as open and flexible as they seem. They do not lower the TCO of their BDR platform, and the flat fee that once seemed simple can wind up walling MSPs in, because they end up paying for massive amounts of storage that are not needed.

Why pay for what your clients don’t need? And why risk running into issues while scaling up when storage is in high demand? 

The Path to Growth: Managing BDR Storage

Backup and disaster recovery is complex—it’s why your clients hire you, and why they trust you as their advisor and custodian of their most valuable data. Understanding your clients’ specific data needs, how they may vary over time, and how to best provide them what they need at the best price is not only a competitive advantage, it’s also the best way to achieve a healthy profit margin on your service delivery. With Continuity247®, for example, you’re able to scale your storage up and down, month to month, to meet your clients’ storage demands. You never have to pay for what you don’t need. And what’s more, with options such as pooled storage, you’re able to purchase the right fit for the entirety of your client base and scale that as needed to bring on more clients.

The investment into understanding the data needs of your client base and choosing a flexible storage plan on Continuity247 allows MSPs to keep their total cost of ownership lower, scale their businesses profitably, and adapt to shifting market demands. Flexibility is a valuable resource in the BDR market, and a critical asset MSPs cannot afford to lose as competition increases. Understanding the pitfalls of “unlimited” plans and making the switch to Continuity247 could prove to be a major advantage as the BDR landscape continues to become more commoditized into the future.

“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. In our previous posts, we’ve talked about how to manage the total cost of ownership of BDR, bridging the IT skills gap as backup environments become more complex, how to differentiate your BDR solution, and how the cloud will impact BDR services. Check back next Wednesday for another post to learn how to achieve long-term success with your BDR solution!

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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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