Assessing TCOMS:
The Secret Ingredients for Best-in-Class MSPs

Most businesses, regardless of industry, want to grow, increase revenue, and achieve cost and time saving advantages.

In 2020, the challenges to accomplish these goals as an IT company are real. New cybersecurity threats emerge every day, and organizations face a changing business environment in the midst of COVID-19. Regardless of these challenges, Best-in-Class (BIC) Managed Service Providers (MSPs) will rise above the rest during these crises because they already have standards in place to unlock growth and reduce cost.

Axcient recently paired with Scantron, a long-time partner, and Service Leadership to present a Webinar on how to become a BIC MSP, and why these organizations will ride out the storm during one of the most chaotic economic events in the digital age.

Topics of discussion included:

  • BIC MSPs,
  • Reference Architecture and Vendor Standards,
  • Total Cost of Managed Services (TCOMS),
  • Assessing Your TCOMS, and
  • Axcient’s new x360 Platform.

Viewing IT as a ‘Competitive Weapon’

Koopmans joined Service Leadership’s IT Solutions/Services Executive Steve Lewis and Axcient CRO Angus Robertson to discuss implementing a Reference Architecture for revenue growth and cost savings. Lewis defined a Reference Architecture as a single design that spans multiple layers of the technology stack that MSP clients use. That means using one vendor, such as Axcient, to offer all services a BIC MSP would provide.

Standardization and designing a Reference Architecture are just two pieces of reducing the TCOMS. MSPs also need to rely on a vendor who acts as a partner, not just a client, for complete Business Disaster Recover (BDR) and Business Continuity.

Lewis said those that become BIC are ones “who view IT as a competitive weapon.”

“You never want to be complacent with the status quo,” said Dave Koopmans, Solutions Engineering Manger for BIC MSP Scantron. When it comes to streamlining vendors and adding standards to an organization’s Reference Architecture, he said, “the hardest ones to win over on this are our own internal people.”

But Koopmans also said that once internal employees see the value of simplifying their offerings, the process “steamrolls very quickly.”

Winning the BDR Battle With Security Education

In 2020, cybersecurity attacks are one of the biggest enemies to overcome. Human error is a major contributing factor to cybersecurity attacks and data loss.

After COVID-19 became an international pandemic, hackers took advantage of opportunities to launch ransomware, phishing emails, viruses and other types of malware.

“The media made a lot of noise [when COVID-19 became the new normal],” said Axcient’s Robertson.

That noise translated into panic and human error, which Robertson said is the weakest link in a Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR) solution.

Phishing emails present a serious problem when it comes to protecting an organization from attacks. A single click on an attractive, legitimate-looking email that contains malware is all it takes to rip apart an entire IT environment.

“It’s unfortunate that it’s part of human dynamic behavior that we see this happening,” said Robertson.

Scantron’s Koopmans agreed.

“Security is not a point product,” he said. “It’s a layered approach.

“Education is always going to be key about where [clients] are vulnerable.”

Aligning the Troops With a Single Portal

Implementing a Reference Architecture to cover all MSP service offerings and partnering with a single vendor is vital to financial stability and teaching users about the threats and vulnerabilities that come with a worldwide network. Because there always is an access point for a hacker to penetrate, a comprehensive Business Continuity/Disaster Recover (BCDR) solution such as Axcient’s x360 Platform is essential for an MSP to become BIC.

“For an MSP, there’s huge value in having a single portal,” said Lewis.

That’s true especially now, Lewis said, with businesses shifting to a remote workforce as COVID-19 continues to run its course.

“The opportunity for error is now much, much greater and less controllable with work from home (WFH),” he said. “We need to have an easier time to recover when needed.”

But, as Koopmans pointed out, getting everyone on board with a single solution “is a monumental task.

“If we are not promoting those standards and improvements to those clients, someone else will, and that revenue will just go away,” he said.

Lewis said BIC MSPs see the value in putting all their services in the hands of a vendor who can offer a complete package in a single portal. In fact, he said, BIC MSPs earn 2.2% more than those MSPs who are not as mature after calculating Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization (EBITDA) and after owner fair market compensation.

“Somebody like Axcient, where you can take a single vendor and they provide a comprehensive end-to-end solution, that’s frankly compelling for a BDR Reference Architecture,” said Lewis. “That’s where you get the most leverage.”

Winning the BCDR War with Axcient

“We are really happy to be able to help our partners to put partners in a better financial position and resilient position to really be more competitive,” Robertson said.

To accomplish this, Axcient recently introduced its x360 Platform and rolled out improvements on its products. The platform includes x360Cloud (formerly CloudFinder), x360Recover (formerly Replibit) and x360Sync (formerly Anchor). The new x360 Platform is available for free for 14 days as a trial offer.

Through the x360 Web Portal, MSPs can manage their solutions through a single pane of glass for BCDR, cloud-to-cloud backup, and secure sync and share. Axcient x360 supports single sign-on (SSO), multi-factor authentication (MFA), and multi-tenant management to increase MSP productivity and reduce TCOMS. The product, built specifically for MSPs, offers simplicity and scalability, said Robertson.

“Our mission is to keep your business running,” said Robertson. “We want to make sure from an agent standpoint that we can support different OS’s, the different infrastructure (such as IaaS) and different height advisers. And from a recovery standpoint, that we can go to a local appliance, or you can go straight to a cloud or using our data center or your data center, or a combination of both.”

The x360 Platform also includes AirGap, which two independent penetration companies verified as a robust, chain-free, image restoration solution that can recover data loss in as few as 15 minutes.

“It used to be a roadmap is something we didn’t care about,” said Koopmans. “We are solving problems now that we didn’t have two- to three years ago.

“We’ve been extremely happy working with Axcient and will continue to do so,” he said.

Sign up now to join us for our next best practices webinar with Service Leadership Founder & CEO, Paul Dippell alongside Axcient Chief Revenue Officer, Angus Robertson as they detail how you can unlock monthly recurring revenue and reduce Total Cost of Managed Services (TCMS) with a standardized BDR Reference Architecture. 

About the Author: 
Matt Saxton // Technical Marketing Writer in Product, Axcient

Matt works remotely from Mount Vernon, Ohio, as a Technical Marketing Writer for Axcient. He was a journalist for nearly 20 years prior to switching careers and was the managing editor for three newspapers. His experience also includes working as an IT Director, Content Developer, and Production Manager. When he’s not researching or writing about cybersecurity, Matt enjoys time with his family and pets, gardening, photography, and remodeling his home.