I just read through a survey done by the company Decision Tree Labs for PSA vendor Autotask. In this survey they received more than 1,100 responses from IT service providers globally answering questions highlighting and reinforcing the need to use a PSA tool to be able to track and measure your business and manage endpoints.

I for one am not shocked that a survey commissioned by a PSA provider that owns an endpoint management company stresses the need to track time and costs and manage endpoints. In fact, I agree wholeheartedly. Full disclosure for some of you who don’t know, I was an early employee of Autotask, and spent 7 years working with their prospects and partners helping them figure out this MSP thing. So while there are some self-serving questions, all of the survey’s data is valuable and useful for service providers. There are a couple of data points and quotes that I found very interesting.

The first, Patrick Burns, Vice President of Product Management at Autotask is quoted as saying, “Service providers need to be vertically integrated around endpoints. We’re moving to a device-centric world, and providers who can help customers drive value around the growing use of devices will be a profitable part of that world.” I agree with part of this statement, let me explain.

When I started in IT, computers were relatively expensive, and they held a small amount of data. Today, devices are relatively inexpensive and they hold a large amount of data. So in my mind, it isn’t the repair of the end point we need to worry about, it is the security and protection of the data that is key. So yes, manage the protection and security of the end point, but the hardware “data reader” is a commodity product, easily replaced. The data it contains, not so much. Unless, you have protected that data and can easily make that data or system image portable to new hardware.

Another quote I found interesting also talks about endpoints. My old boss, Mark Cattini, President and CEO of Autotask had this to say, “Networks are changing structure from client-server to client-device-cloud. The endpoint growth is happening outside office walls. As the home becomes a technology hub, security at the endpoint becomes more relevant.” This statement is very much on point.

More and more workers are outside the corporate firewall for some part of the business day. Sales and technical people who travel, remote branches, and home based workers are dominating the workplace environment. Corporate IT, and by extension, IT Service providers struggle to provide enterprise data protection to all of these disparate systems as it usually involves using multiple products. This is especially important if you are following the other recommendations of this survey on time management. Checking and managing multiple systems is a time wasting process and leads to loss of real dollars as well.

I think this problem was highlighted in the “What’s in your cloud” section of the survey where various services are shown with the cloud delivery method. The number one and number two hybrid cloud services provided are Disaster Recovery (45%) and backup (43%). Additionally the survey lists Backup and storage (#2) and Disaster Recovery (#3) on a list of the top services driving revenue. So these services are not only delivered by a large number of service providers, it is delivering a large percentage of their revenue as well.

There are many hybrid data protection providers out there who can provide a solution for these clients, although not always for both DR and backup. But as shown in this survey, these clients don’t just need hybrid data protection. They also need data protection in their remote offices and for their remote end points and if you are using different products to provide for their needs, you are being inefficient and that inefficiency is costing you money.

That is one of the reasons Axcient has always developed our own intellectual property. It allows us to determine how we want to deploy our product, not have that method dictated by a 3rd party partner. This allows Axcient to be the only DRaaS provider who can be deployed as a hybrid cloud with a physical or a virtual appliance, or as an agent, requiring no appliance at all for all those pesky endpoints outside the corporate firewall.

So to summarize, I believe the premise of the survey is correct, I only take issue with the focus of it. I don’t think we are in a device centric world. I feel we are in a data centric world, and that data is consumed by devices.

Steve Noel