Guest Column | December 5, 2016

4 Cloud-Based Services Every MSP Should Offer

By Stanley Louissaint, President, Fluid Designs Inc., ASCII member since 2014

Stanley Louissaint, Fluid Designs Inc.

It's no secret cloud-based services are in abundance right now. As an MSP, there are certain services that you must have in your arsenal to offer to your clients.

  1. Cloud-based Email
    Email is the cornerstone of communication in today’s businesses. It sells itself and takes little explaining, and clients understand it is a necessity.

    There are multiple platforms to sell when it comes to cloud-based email with the most popular service still Exchange. Over the course of time, Exchange has morphed from being primarily an on-premise solution to a hosted cloud-based service. To take it even further, Microsoft has further developed its own hosted Exchange platform into what we now call Office 365. Another option is G Suite by Google with email just one of the included services. The platform you choose to perform the job may vary but, you must offer email services to your clients.

  1. Backup/Business Continuity/Disaster Recovery
    Cloud-based backup and business continuity solutions should be a mandate because your client’s data protection should be of the utmost importance to you. Business continuity is a level up on the traditional cloud-based backup solutions. In the event there is a physical issue at your client’s site, business continuity enables you to launch their server(s) either the on-premise appliance or in the cloud. Most on-site only backup options cannot compete with the capacity of your cloud-based backup options. You are doing a huge disservice to your clients if you only have an on-premise backup solution for them.
  1. Antivirus
    Hosted antivirus solutions take the burden off of your internal servers while allowing you to manage all devices. Things are changing rapidly in the security space, and being able to get the latest updates instantly from your antivirus provider is crucial. The biggest advantage I find in this area is when you have a mobile workforce. Mobile users are often disconnected from an on-premise server that would provide the proper antivirus definition updates for extended periods of time. Because of this, they do not get antivirus updates needed to keep their computers properly protected. The benefit of using a hosted antivirus solution means that, as long as the user is connected to the Internet they will always be protected properly.
  1. Encryption And Archiving
    I mentioned email hosting services above. We have the ability to add-on to that base package by adding both email encryption and archiving. Regulatory requirements create the need for both of these services for many verticals. If you are not selling them, you are leaving money on the table. Security is a hot button topic and anyone that sends out emails with sensitive information needs to protect that data.

Archiving services allows for either compliance or simply peace of mind. This service allows the business to retain copies of all incoming and outgoing emails regardless of what an employee does to their individual mailbox.

Selling and bundling these cloud-based services allows you to create a recurring revenue stream. As MSPs, we are always searching for ways to add to our bottom line while simultaneously providing value to our clients — adding in the services referenced above to your offering is exactly the way to do that. If we cannot provide value to our existing relationships, why do our clients need us? Look at your current cloud services stack and, if you are missing any of these services, plug them in.

About The ASCII Group, Inc.
The ASCII Group is a vibrant reseller community of independent MSPs, VARs, and other solution providers. Formed in 1984, ASCII has more than 70 programs that provide turnkey cost-cutting strategies, innovative business building programs, and extensive peer interaction. ASCII members enjoy benefits such as marketing support; educational information; group purchasing power; increased leverage in the marketplace; and multiple networking opportunities. These programs enable ASCII members to increase revenue, lower operating costs, and grow service opportunities. ASCII is the oldest and largest group of independent information technology (IT) solution providers, integrators and value added resellers (VARs) in the world. Learn more at www.ascii.com.