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In the first of this two-part blog post, we touched on how to begin a conversation with your clients about cloud services - namely the flexible nature of cloud services, and the top-level questions your client should ask of a cloud provider prior to committing.
In this second post, I want to suggest three additional topics you should be helping your clients address as they consider cloud solutions for their business: data backup, portability of data and out clauses.
Your client will trust a cloud vendor with their critical business data, and in the majority of cases knowingly abdicate responsibility for its backup to the cloud vendor. But what measures does the cloud vendor have in place to prevent the loss of any data?
Help your client to ascertain what backups are performed, how long these backups are retained for, and in the case of a loss of data – how quickly can the data be restored?
As well as your clients cloud vendor backing up any data, how easy does the vendor make it for your client to access their data to do their own backup? For a belt and braces approach, could your client's MSP help provide redundancy through a separate backup of data?
Furthermore, in the event that your client wants to migrate their data from one cloud vendor to another – or even back to an in-house service – how easy is this, and will the cloud vendor assist with these efforts?
The portability of your client’s data may not be a concern to them in the first flush of excitement embracing a new cloud service, but as an MSP it is your job to help your client take a longer-term view.
With a longer-term view of cloud services in mind, it’s well worth educating your clients to ask cloud vendors the slightly awkward but most prudent question – “If we decide to stop working together, what happens next?”
For instance, if your client is dissatisfied with the service they are receiving from the cloud vendor – can they cancel their contract and move their data elsewhere, or are there financial penalties and charges for data extraction?
Helping your client to understand what they are signing up for, and what they can expect if they don’t receive the service they want is hugely important to avoid any nasty surprises.
As a MSP or IT Solution Provider, when you pro-actively help to educate your clients as to the benefits and potential pitfalls of cloud services, you position yourself as a valued and trusted advisor to their business.
Once you are in this enviable position, you can expect your clients to want you on hand to provide advice and guidance again and again in the future.
The former owner of on award winning IT MAnaged Service Provider, Richard Tubb now provides expert advice to help IT companies who want to grow.
Follow Richard Tubb on Google+ and for more news and advice for MSPs sign-up to Tubblog.
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