Jeanne DeWitt of Cloud Services For MSPs tells us what to look for… She and David Hood are longtime veterans of the managed services community. From their humble beginnings over 30 years ago developing software, Cloud Services For MSPs started offering managed IT services in the Toledo area to fill a void when their software needed supporting. Today they’re taking the next big step as a customer-focused Cloud Service Provider for MSPs.
Keeping your ear to the ground… that’s what we called it back in the day. Today, many internet content professionals and social media aficionados call it “trolling.” That’s what I did this past weekend; I went internet trolling to look for information about cloud computing trends that are starting to brew up for the year.
I recently joined a Facebook group with approximately 4,000 members made up of Managed IT Service Providers. These MSPs range in size from very small 1-to-2 people operations right up to large, well-experienced MSPs.
The common theme I got from this MSP Facebook group is that there’s still mass confusion when it comes to the Cloud. (And I’m 100% sure that other MSP groups, either online like this one or others, suffer from the same issue.)
I won’t say all because there are many MSPs who have the Cloud figured out. These are the voices you rarely hear in a public setting. They know exactly what their offering looks like, how to price it, and what businesses are prime candidates for the Cloud.
I’ve made it my personal mission to work with Managed IT Service Companies that are struggling to make sense of the Cloud. After all, there’s a bunch of noise out there. It seems that everyone has an option. So many cloud vendors say that they have the best solution for Managed Service Providers. If everyone has the best solution for you, who’s truly the best?
It’s not always easy to know what to look for in a CSP. But one thing is for sure… Some are so large that your MSP business will never get the customer support you really need. When you contact these companies for support, you end up wasting time waiting for answers from their level-one support for a week before your issue is escalated. In the meantime, you or your clients are left without the vital cloud solutions you require. This reflects poorly on your MSP business. With the dependence your clients have on the Cloud today, you need the confidence knowing that your CSP will genuinely be there for you when you have a question or issue.
Here are my first 3 tips for finding the right Cloud Service Partner:
1. Look for experience: Cloud Services For MSPs offers 30 years of experience in the technology world and not all of it in the Cloud. However, we’ve been around as far as the Cloud is concerned. We remember the ASP days of the late ’90s and early 2000s. We were pioneers with cloud computing since before it was cool.
2. Find a partner who’s just like you: Looks around the Cloud community right now. There are many cashing in on the growing market we play in. Mergers, acquisitions and consolidations are happening every day. We believe the right Cloud Partner is someone who was there in the beginning, will work with you now, and promises to be right beside you.
3. Ensure they’ll provide support when you need it: We think this is the most important part of any cloud computing relationship. Can you reach a live person when you need help? This is essential. When you’re not working with someone just like you, support is almost, well… non-existent.
Once you weed out the CSPs who meet these first 3 requirements, now look for the following capabilities:
Personalized Service & Years Of Experience
Look for a CSP Partner who provides personalized services, and has the expertise that years of service provide. Along with this, find one that you can trust will jump in and handle any issues with focus, efficiency, and determination to make things right.
Complies With ISO 27001, ISO 9001, SSAE16, SOC1-Type II, and SOC2-Type II Standards
Compliance with each of these standards requires your CSP to systematically address information security issues using a risk-based approach to select proper controls. These standards enforce (and assure) a robust Information Security Management System (ISMS).
Is Validated For Certifications You Need Like HIPAA or PCI
As you know, if your clients include healthcare organizations of any kind, your MSP business must also be HIPAA compliant. The same goes for your CSP. As a business associate, they must meet this requirement as well – and the same goes for PCI DSS compliance.
Be mindful when a CSP claims “PCI compliance” for their cloud services. It’s not unusual for a CSP to say their data center, managed and cloud services comply when only the data center component is. You must understand the scope of what’s covered and what isn’t. This also includes certifications like ISO 27001, ISO 9001, SSAE16, SOC1-Type II, and SOC2-Type II that we mentioned above.
Has Experience As A Managed Service Provider
Having been an MSP, they will know what you and your clients need for fast, efficient and secure cloud services. They should be able to provide marketing support to help you sell their cloud. With experience as an MSP, they’ll know how to help you profit from their services.
Uses Data Centers With Load-Balancing Capabilities
The idea here is to distribute workloads to backend servers to ensure optimum use of aggregate server capacity and better application performance. This is needed to reliably distribute workloads across multiple data centers, clouds and hybrid infrastructures.
Can Replicate Data In 5 Separate Data Centers
With replication, you have identical copies of information on multiple servers and across more than one data center. Your clients will experience high throughput, consistency, reliability, low latency and secure data replication. Don’t settle for a CSP with only 2 or 3 Data Centers –5 is what you should expect today.
Offers 100’s Terabytes Of RAM & 5,000 Virtual CLOUD SERVICES FOR MSPSs Per Rack
This enables file systems, storage technologies, and big data that so many businesses require today — And cloud computing is the perfect vehicle for hosting big data.
Offers Geo-Tracking If You Don’t Have The Required Bandwidth
Your clients need Geo-Tracking to locate their managed mobile devices via your Mobile Device Management solution. It uses a combination of GPS, Wi-Fi and GSM to obtain the most accurate location of the device.
Has Account Managers That Speak Plain Talk
Just like you provide this for your clients, you need the same from your Cloud Service Provider. And look for a CSP who can step in and provide support for your clients when you need help answering their questions.
Provides Cloud Service That’s Free From Front-End Loaded Portals
You should be able to go in and manage your cloud service. The CSP should provide a self-service portal with an advanced orchestration platform.
Offers VoIP, Desktop-as-a-Service, File-Sharing & More That You Can White Label
Your clients won’t know who the cloud provider is. And your CSP should never contact your customers unless you ask them to. You can contact your CSP on the backend for assistance when you need it.
Ensures Personalized Service No Matter How Many Businesses They Serve
This is why you would want to partner with a smaller CSP (like Cloud Services For MSPs) over a larger cloud provider who wants your credit card number before they find out who you are and what you need.
Is Your MSP business getting the right advice for cloud computing? To find out, contact Jeanne, David and the friendly staff at Cloud Services For MSPs. We meet all the criteria above and much more.
And be sure to check out Jeanne DeWitt’s article in “Soar To Success” – Are You Getting The Right Advice? 3 Tips For Cloud Computing In 2019