Stop the Insanity…Simplify Data Protection
By Axcient CEO David Bennett
Data protection is more complex than ever. MSPs are trying to solve complex data security problems with the best available solutions, so they add or inherit multiple data protection solutions to serve their clients’ varying needs. This leads to additional complexity and costs to manage an unwieldy tech. Conversely, Axcient’s simple all-in-one solutions alleviate today’s pain points to deliver total MSP growth.
Constant and sophisticated security threats, a shortage of technical talent and resources, hybrid and remote workforces, and increasing tech stack complexity make it harder for MSPs to protect client data. While I’ve written about the impact of today’s cybersecurity landscape previously, in this post, I’m highlighting three MSPs that are not just overcoming these obstacles, but achieving business goals at the same time. We will take a look at how their straightforward strategy tackles these challenges head-on after channel revenue expectations fell short in 2021.
In this article:
- Get an updated look at the latest security statistics and ransomware risks impacting SMB clients.
- Connect the dots between business continuity and MSP profitability.
- See how three MSPs simplified their tech stack and services to grow their margins and reduce overhead.
Security Risks Are Still Huge
The complications of proliferating data protection strategies directly result from well-intentioned MSPs trying to overcome the statistics below. New attack strategies, dispersed remote endpoints, budget constraints, and human error present evolving challenges for MSPs and their SMB clients. Keep these front of mind as you evaluate the effectiveness of your current stack, investigate a streamlined approach, and explore your options in the channel.
- 78% of MSPs report attacks on their clients in the past two years.
- 50% of ransomware demands are more than $50,000.
- 40% of attacks require more than 8 hours to address – typically at a cost of $100 – $250/hour.
- 80% of businesses that pay the ransom suffer a second ransomware attack, often by the same threat actor group.
- 54% of MSPs say ransomware attacks are caused by phishing emails; 27% by user practices/gullibility, and 26% by lack of cybersecurity training.
What Do These Numbers Tell You?
In short, SMB attacks are up, the cost is enormous, and the cause is largely related to human error. We’ve known that SMBs are being attacked at an overwhelming rate, but what’s most surprising about the latest figures is that the same attackers are hitting the same businesses more than once – even if they’ve paid the ransom! And if you don’t pay the ransom, you’re still faced with recovery costs starting at $800, an unquantifiable stain on your business reputation, and possible compliance and/or state-imposed penalties. Moreover, for many SMBs, a data breach can be a business-ending event. In a recent study of security professionals, 66% of businesses reported significant revenue loss following a ransomware attack. Over half (53%) said their brand and reputation suffered, and one-third (32%) lost C-level talent and leadership through dismissal or resignation.
Cybercriminals realize that SMBs are relatively unprotected compared to enterprises. In fact, one-third of SMBs are only using free, consumer-grade cybersecurity tools, and one in five have no endpoint security at all. Not only are they making it easy to access their data, but they’re failing to ensure complete recovery and data restore. So while the initial payout on an enterprise attack may be larger, hackers have figured out that smaller attacks can be more lucrative, especially with the weaker defenses used by SMBs. Additionally, even though law enforcement is improving their ability to get all or some of these ransom payments back, and despite growing federal interest in counter ransomware tactics, there are not enough resources to investigate the thousands of SMB incidents that occur each year.
Backup Does Not Equal Business Continuity
As a data security veteran, I can tell you that backups are dead. If you’re entirely reliant on backups as your only defense against data loss, you will go out of business. Unfortunately, according to a 2021 Data Protection Report, 37% of backup jobs fail, and 34% of restore jobs fail. In total, there’s a 58% failure of recovery. The problem is that backups aren’t enough anymore. They can’t ensure business continuity and availability within hybrid environments and our distributed workforces. Attackers are targeting backups, and without additional layers of defense, once a backup is gone, so is the data.
Business continuity comes down to disaster recovery solutions and disaster recovery planning – not just backups. Of course, you still need backups, but they don’t deliver uninterrupted business continuity on their own. On average, it takes businesses 21 days to recover from a cyberattack. Still, it can also take up to 60 days or more, depending on the severity of the attack and the preparedness of the business. Everything from identifying and analyzing the incident to forensics and investigation by internal teams and insurance carriers, plus the actual recovery and restoration contribute to client downtime. MSPs can’t control whether or not clients will be attacked – although you should assume that it will happen. However, MSPs can ensure that clients can recover from any type of data loss they suffer.
Three Ways to Simplify for Business Continuity
A lot is coming at MSPs these days, and a simple strategy is proving most effective at overcoming challenges and delivering success. Luckily, Axcient x360Recover Direct-to-Cloud (D2C) provides comprehensive business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) for multiple business use cases with just one vendor. We’re showing you how actual MSPs are applying a simple approach and gaining significant wins in the three following partner examples:
#1: Simplify Your Tech Stack
LANAIR Group, LLC was focused on rapid growth, and in the process of acquiring new clients, they also acquired a range of legacy backup solutions – 25 to be exact! Each solution had its own process for billing, support, onboarding, maintenance, management, recovery, and sales and marketing. In order to keep their team up on the nuances of each solution, employee onboarding took a full two weeks. Support tickets were through the roof and difficult to resolve. Sales and marketing were overwhelmed trying to differentiate the solutions, and overall, security capabilities were stretched thin. Between patching, integrations, alert mechanisms, error management, and break/fix, LANAIR was drowning in vendor management, and profitability suffered.
“We had about 25 different backup vendors, and we were spread too thin… The more we simplify, the more profitable we get.”
– Neil Hawkins, Partner, and COO at LANAIR Group, LLC
- 80% reduction in vendors – from 25 to 5
- 50% reduction in support tickets with automatic alerts and self-fixing capabilities
- 30% reduction in employee onboarding – from 14 to 10 days
Axcient’s single, multi-tenant x360 Platform reduces redundancy, simplifies training and management, and improves user experience. Now LANAIR can redirect the resources previously spent managing vendors toward business growth and adding value for clients. From a security perspective, Neil was attracted to Axcient’s approach to data protection as security.
“By bringing data protection and security into one piece, we can continue to simplify our product stack in the background and reduce our attack surface from a security standpoint.”
– Neil Hawkins, Partner, and COO at LANAIR Group, LLC
#2: Simplify Your Services
Business Information Solutions (BIS) needed to meet the disparate needs of 146 clients without drowning in vendor management costs and legacy solution limitations. Clients presented multiple use cases for backup and disaster recovery (BDR), including remote endpoints, cloud app backup, and both appliance-free and appliance-based backup. Security and reliability were a concern – specifically the risk of relying entirely on Microsoft for backing up Microsoft 365 and data in Azure. The potential for complete downtime with both production and backups on the same cloud was too excessive to tolerate.
- 64% margins achieved on BCDR
- 50% reduction in support tickets
- Reduced security risks for Microsoft-based clients
- Simplified onboarding, training, support, and billing
BIS wanted a single backup vendor that could simplify management operations and deliver secure technology while evolving with digital transformation. So BIS standardized their BDR stack on Axcient’s three proven and reliable solutions: x360Recover D2C for BCDR, x360Cloud for Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace backup, and x360Sync for secure file sync and share. With a unified experience for onboarding, training, tech certification, support, billing, and sales and marketing – all within the x360 Portal – vendor management was simple.
Standardization contributed to profit growth by eliminating the time previously spent manually reseeding and verifying backups. BIS was also able to substantially reduce resources spent managing multiple vendors, navigating legacy tools, and responding to an abundance of support tickets. Chain-Free backup technology, AutoVerify automatic backup integrity checks, Virtual Office near-instant virtualization, automated Runbooks, and D2C for Microsoft Azure all enable and empower BIS. With just one vendor’s BDR processes to manage and master, BIS techs can deliver quick recovery and client responses with elevated expertise.
“Remote workers were the driving force… Being able to back up a whole laptop or desktop for remote users means that in a worst-case scenario, we have the entirety of their data no matter where they are.”
– Phillip Long, CEO at Business Information Solutions
#3: Simplify Your Economics
Cinch I.T. struggled most with unreliable BDR solutions that required expensive and time-consuming maintenance and support. Failed backups and server snapshot issues were inundating support, distracting them from more valuable tasks and optimal response times. Additionally, pooled storage, inflexible pricing, and confusing backup tiers made it difficult to achieve savings, let alone pass those savings onto clients. Instead, there were uncomfortable and potentially damaging conversations about surprise storage overages and fees.
- 46% client savings on backup
- 38% margins achieved on BCDR
- 28% reduction in support tickets
Since Cinch I.T. added Axcient to their franchisees, they have the option to meet multiple use cases with just one solution: endpoint backup, no-appliance BDR, turn-key BDR, and public or private cloud backup. Cinch I.T. has increased overall profits and margins by reducing software, administration, support, and training costs. With a simple fixed-rate per device, plus unlimited storage and retention included, clients can predict expenses, meet long-term compliance requirements, and rest assured with near-instant recovery.
“We were able to save our clients up to 46% on BCDR costs… Backup tickets are down by 28%, and labor has definitely decreased… With Axcient, automation, simple management, and built-in features, Cinch I.T. can redirect resources away from maintenance and redundant support tickets, and toward business growth.”
– Steve Lettery, Director of Business Development at Cinch I.T.
Check out the comparison below to see how much a typical MSP can save by simplifying their economics with x360Recover D2C:
Are You Ready to Simplify and Win?
See how a simple approach to BCDR can alleviate the consequences of vendor sprawl so that you sleep easy. Stop juggling vendors and start growing your business with these proven strategies and solutions to profitability. Schedule a 1:1 Demo to learn more, or Start Your Free 14-day Trial Now to see Axcient for yourself.
About the Authors:
David Bennett // CEO, Axcient
As Axcients CEO David Bennett is a tech veteran and seasoned channel executive with more than 26 years of IT channel leadership. Before joining Axcient, he spent nine years with Webroot as Chief Revenue Officer, Bennett has also held international leadership roles within companies such as Lenovo, Sony, and Kingston.
Since joining the company in February 2019 Bennett has focused on transforming Axcient into be the pre-eminent platform for MSP’s to Cure Data Loss. He is passionate about making MSPs’ lives easier by eliminating the pain of a sprawling complex tech stack. Bennett is quoted saying that, “our ability to grow as a company is 100 percent based on our ability to uniquely serve MSPs to save them time and money, thus help them grow.” When he’s not hard at work for Axcient or helping MSPs grow their businesses, he loves spending quality time with his family, working on his favorite car or motorcycle, and cooking from scratch.
More Great Stuff From Our Blog:
Check out some other interesting pieces from our blog: Check out our four-part series on Sales and Marketing Quick Guides for MSPs, Learn more about how Axcient supports partners with No-cost Onboarding and Ongoing Training, we dove into how chain-based backup works and why chain-free is the way to be, we talked with Jason Phelps from Huntress Labs about planning for the next ransomware attack, our CEO David Bennett explains why the current cybersecurity landscape means traditional backup is dead, or learn how you can ditch pricey on-site appliances with Local Cache for Direct-to-Cloud BCDR.