If most of your SMB clients have not already moved their workloads to the cloud, then don’t be surprised if they’re in the process of doing so, starting with their productivity applications. In the past year, the adoption rate of Office 365, Microsoft’s cloud-based productivity suite, has soared from 7.7% in 2014 to 25.2% in 2015. In April 2015, Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, revealed that Office 365 had 50 million business users. A recent survey from BetterCloud also found that more than half of SMBs plan to run all of their IT services in the cloud within 5 years.
The advantages of moving to the cloud are clear. A cloud productivity suite such as Office 365 enables mobility by allowing employees to access their work from anywhere using any device, including smartphones and tablets. Having mobile access to business files also increases productivity by enabling employees to work anytime, even on-the-go. And lastly, Office 365 has many different tools that promote collaboration between employees. Businesses can enjoy these benefits for as little as $5 per user per month. However, moving to the cloud also comes with challenges for both clients and MSPs.
Client Challenge: The Risk of Data Loss
Data loss in the cloud can happen. In fact, about 40% of businesses using cloud applications have already experienced some form of data loss within the last few years. As detailed in the Axcient white paper, Top 5 Sources of Cloud Data Loss and Prevention, cloud data loss is often a result of human error rather than application failure, with accidental deletions taking the lead. It’s also important to note that in Office 365, deleted data is only recoverable for a limited period of time — 216 total days in SharePoint Online, 186 totals days in OneDrive for Business, and 30 days after purging the Deleted Items folder in Exchange Online. The possibility for human errors in combination with Office 365’s light retention policies make data loss in Office 365 a serious risk.
MSP Challenge: The Need for New Revenue Streams
With SMB clients increasingly adopting Office 365 and leave behind their on-premises version of these applications, IT solution providers are faced with the challenge of losing revenue streams from legacy IT solutions. As clients move to cloud-based applications, their MSPs may have less of a need to manage and maintain hardware that on-premises software requires, such as servers and physical backups. Clients may not feel the need for an IT service provider to manage Office 365 for them since these applications are already running in the cloud and managed by Microsoft.
To help clients mitigate the risk of cloud data loss, MSPs are in the position to generate a new stream of revenue by providing clients with a cloud-to-cloud backup solution, such as Axcient CloudFinder. Most cloud-to-cloud backup solutions for Office 365 ensures the integrity of data by automatically backing up data multiple times each day and retaining data indefinitely. When data recovery is needed, data can be searched granularly and can be restored instantly and directly back into Office 365. A cloud-to-cloud backup solution for Office 365 can give clients peace of mind about their cloud data while providing MSPs with a new predictable and consistent revenue stream. As Axcient partner Dan Izydorek, President of PC Miracles, explains, “Cloud-to-cloud backup for Office 365 has given us the ability to ensure security for our clients’ most critical data: email and business files.”