Should You Become An MSP?


Enter Asigra, a Toronto-based provider of online backup services. The company last week introduced the latest version of its Televaulting agentless backup/recovery software, which combines utility service provisioning with a disk-based WAN-optimized architecture.

Targeted at MSPs, the new edition is designed to take advantage of environments with 64-bit CPUs to deliver high performance for consolidated, multisite enterprise data protection.

"Whether used directly by enterprises or used by online backup service providers as their backup delivery platform, Televaulting's 64-bit edition is built to provide customers with longer-term growth options," said Eran Farajun, executive vice president of Asigra.

All VARs, however, may not be equipped to "fly solo" in the MSP world -- at least not yet, according to Farajun. He offered some tips for VARs considering managed backup services:

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1. Determine whether your customers deem you a trusted adviser. Would customers trust you to do their backup? If not, you might as well stop in your tracks and maybe even re-examine your customer relationships, Farajun said.

2. Can you invest in the back-end systems required for managed backup services? Typically, several terabytes of storage are necessary, but you will need to figure out the aggregate volume of data you can expect and if you could accommodate it, according to Farajun.

3. Do you have a salesforce to sell service products? "Selling a service with recurring revenue requires different positioning than selling product," Farajun noted.

4. Forecast how much revenue you can reasonably hope to accrue. A good target is $1 million to $2 million, said Farajun. If it's less than that, then you should "piggyback," or resell someone else's backup/storage services, he said.

5. If you go the partner route for managed backup services, have a good exit strategy, since hopefully you will be able to go out on your own one day. Farajun said that having a clear understanding of what you have contractually agreed to -- how you are protecting your customers from potential poaching, in other words -- will save a world of hurt later. Also, protect customer data by using naming conventions that keep clients' names secret from your technology supplier.

"Once you have your own 'vault,' you need to have the ability to freely move your customers there," Farajun added.

The new 64-bit version of Televaulting is slated to ship in the third quarter. It carries a starting price of $11,250 for new users. Current Asigra customers will receive product upgrades at no charge.