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Marketing strategy for today’s IT Solutions Providers

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Click Here to Join our webinar on October 15 2018 to learn more about digital marketing 101 for today’s IT Solutions

 

Executing on a comprehensive digital marketing strategy for today’s IT Solutions Provider is a “must-do”.

As an IT Solutions Provider – What is your true value prop in today’s world of cloud? It’s the basis of your digital marketing strategy.

Whether you call yourself a Modern MSP or a Modern Technology Provider or Cloud MSP or CSP – doesn’t matter – in today’s cloud world the partner must go through an extremely thoughtful process to define themselves and the value they provide their clients – more specifically to the business managers. For the sake of this blog we’re going to put the label of IT Solutions Provider to all of the above.

Why must the IT Solutions Provider give this some much attention?

Strategy for today’s IT Solutions ProviderHave you noticed that the marketing and sales world has turned upside down? The “buyer is in control” it’s called the; “buyers journey”; a world where buyers search for solutions to their problems. In a perfect world they find you and come look at you (your website) to become educated and make decisions – your website must tell your story – and it must tell your story quickly, professionally and simply. Not to mention that there are approximately 400,000 partners aka IT Solutions Providers worldwide – many call themselves MSPs, CSPs etc – So how do you differentiate?

Your website must accurately and quickly articulate your value prop. So with that said, I don’t know about you, but when we look an IT Solutions Providers (any website for that matter) website (yes, we needed some reason to make we go there) we give it about 30 seconds – after that we either stay and learn more or I move on.  Same thing when someone gives me their pitch – We consider the following:

1. Who the heck are these guys – are they legitimate? Do they even let you know who they are?
2. What the heck do they do – as it relates to cloud, are they even in the cloud world, or are they stuck in yesterday’s world?
3. Who do they do it for – are they applicable for my size and type of business?
4. How do they do it – do they have a proven methodology to migrate me to the cloud?
5. What’s in it for me – as a business manager or business owner are they delivery technology or business outcomes solutions?
6. How we do they do what they do – are there customer quotes on the website and maybe a few case studies?

So what’s your plan to stand out from the crowd?

IT Solutions provider webinar

 

 

 

Click Here to Join our webinar on October 15 2018 to learn more about digital marketing 101 for today’s IT Solutions

GDPR – Do you need to worry about it?

GDPR – General Data Protection Regulation EU’s New Standard for Consumer Privacy

In April 2016, the EU decided it was time to update their current Data Protection Directive which became the standard in 1995. The outdated policy did not offer residents the level of protection so desperately needed in a world where information is available at the click of a button. The new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) sets a stricter guideline and stiffer penalties for those in non-compliance.

New Requirements

GDPR’s requirements change significantly from the outdated directive of the 1990’s. The new rules focus on getting companies to follow stricter handling practices for customer data collected, specifically the following areas.

  • Removal: In the past, customers did not have the right to require companies to remove and delete their information. GDPR requires businesses to remove any consumer records upon their request. Corporations must wipe all personal information from their systems.
  • Portability: In addition to being able to request a removal from company databases, consumers have the right to ask their personal data be transferred from one company to another. Corporations must comply with the request.
  • Accessibility: EU residents have a legal right to request access to the information collected by companies with which they do business. Corporations must provide copies of all data collected upon request.
  • Transparency: Gone are the complicated end user releases used by companies. GDPR requires that businesses make their language easy to understand and detail exactly how they use personal consumer data.

In addition to these areas, companies must adopt stricter breach notification policies. In the event of a data breach, corporations must notify their customers within 72 hours of the intrusion.

Increased Fines – GDPR

Under the new GDPR system, companies found in non-compliance with the regulations face stiff fines. While the penalties are tiered, it still costs a significant amount for those affected. Companies who do not keep their paperwork in order may see a penalty 2% of their annual global turnover. However, if a company experiences a security breach, they see fines of up to 4% of their annual worldwide turnover or €20 Million, whichever is greater.

Fining companies experiencing security breaches is not unheard of under old EU policy. However, a loophole protected businesses that process data to another firm. New regulations do away with this protection. According to Article 32 of the GDPR, data processors are just as liable for security as controllers. Corporations that process data receive a smaller penalty, under the new regulation with fines of 2% of the annual global turnover of €10 Million, whichever is greater.

Data Recovery and Security

All EU companies must employ a disaster recovery plan. GDPR not only requires a plan in place, but companies must also test it at regular intervals. Under these new protocols, the data recovery plans must give companies the ability to restore any information lost due to technological or physical issues.

Companies must instill policies which restrict access suppliers and staff have to consumer information. Policies are just the beginning, management technology such as multi-factor authentication, granular passwords, and role-based privileges need to be in place.

While Windows is one of the most popular operating systems, as a North American based company, EU corporations cannot rely on built-in securities to bring their business into compliance. Instead, using third-party intrusion detection systems and virtual private networks can help bring EU corporations into line with the new rules.

In the event of a breach, quick response is necessary. Regulations require not just an immediate response to fix the issue, but also a plan of action to prevent future violations. An analysis log and subsequent management assist IT personnel in locating the source of the breach. The record gives insight into why the violation occurred and is a starting point for problem resolution.

GDPR

Not Just Limited to EU

The GDPR is the new privacy policy of the EU. However, that does not mean that it does not affect contractors and providers in outlying areas. Thanks to the worldwide nature of the internet, businesses work together across the oceans. For countries outside the EU, ensuring their practices line up with GDPR regulations is essential.

EU residents expect the same protection whether their data is collected and retained by a local company or a foreign entity. Corporations outside of the EU should review data protection and privacy policies to ensure they match up with GDPR standards. Hiring a Chief Protection Officer (CPO) familiar with GDPR requirements can consult with legal counsel and help others in the company understand legal obligations to EU clientele.

GDPR is the standard for consumer privacy in the EU. However, companies still have time to adapt these protocols before they face the hefty penalties called for under the new guidelines. With a deadline of May 25, 2018 looming, it is time for businesses to complete their updates to comply and not wait until the last minute to do so.

For more information read our blog post on: The Importance of Regional Data Centers for Office 365 Backup

Backup strategy for business continuity

The importance of backing up your data dates back to the earliest days of technology. Yet you might be surprised to learn that, according to the World Backup Day Website, even in our technology and gadget-driven world, about 30% of people have NEVER backed up their data. Sure, that number probably includes some of us who want to backup our data and simply don’t know how, but it also most definitely includes a large percentage of individuals and small-to-medium size businesses who simply don’t understand why backing up their data is necessary! Perhaps they see backups as something more suitable for the accident-prone, the forgetful and the technically challenged.  What is your IT backup strategy for your business continuity?

But data loss is much more common than you think.

According to the World Backup Day Website:

  • 29% of backup-related disasters are caused by accident
  • Over 100 phones are lost or stolen every day
  • 1 in 10 computers are infected with viruses every month

Here at CloudAlly, we also know that over 45% of data loss is caused due to user deletion. Let’s face it – those are some scary statistics! Even the most responsible, organized and tech-savvy among us could, in an instant, find ourselves without access to some of our most valuable digital media and critical online data. Even if we are able to piece together some of our information from the USB stick attached to our keys or an old email account, the restoration process of our data is often incredibly time-consuming and expensive. At the end of the day most are left with extensive amounts of data that is lost forever.

And yes, we really do mean FOREVER. In today’s world, service providers promise comprehensive data backup that the majority of users consider more than enough. What these individuals don’t take into consideration is all the scenarios in which they accidentally delete data, inadvertently download a computer virus, or have their phone stolen – resulting in the loss of data that no service providers or app developers can account for in their data backup policies.

The bottom-line: Backing up your data not just a recommendation, it’s a requirement. And it needs to be done in an active, comprehensive manner that enables you to quickly and easily restore all of your data, no matter what.

Now that we’ve established that data backup is a must, it’s time we provide an overview of how to backup your data: All the options you have for backing up your data and the pros and cons of each of these options.

While there are a vast number of companies and services operating in this field, data backup services generally fall into one of three categories: (1) On-Premises Backup, (2) Cloud-based Backup and (3) Cloud-to-Cloud Backup.

On – Premises Backup

An On-Premises Backup keeps a updated version of your data on a local server or external drive. The mains benefits of these types of data backup solutions include:

  • Maintaining complete control over all the data and related systems,
  • Ensuring that all corporate data is stored and handled internally
  • Dedicated IT staff can remain in charge of maintenance and support
  • The initial investment may be somewhat high (relative to cloud-based and cloud-to-cloud services) but it can be a more cost-efficient option in the long-term.

While those are some pretty convincing advantages, there are significant disadvantages that accompany on-premises backup solutions. For example, the main reasons small and medium size companies (SMBs) tend to shy away from on-premises backup plans is that they require significant in-house technical know-how, as well ongoing resources to build and maintain both the backup server infrastructure and the personnel needed to manage it. That’s why today many SMB’s tend to lean towards Cloud-based and Cloud-to-Cloud services.

Cloud – Backup

Over the past decade, Cloud-backup services have been extremely popular and accessible for both individuals and enterprises. From our experience, in the case of cloud-backup solutions there are multiple silver linings:

  • Easy access – Cloud backup technology approaches are convenient because the information can be easily accessed, shared, managed and retrieved. It doesn’t hurt that the service provider also takes on around-the-clock monitoring and reporting responsibilities that a small business would not find affordable within on-premises backup solutions.
  • Reliability – The built-in security features that accompany such services are of great value, particularly to SMBs. Such services generally include the relinquishing of responsibility for infrastructure and technology upgrades, which are often a significant burden for small businesses.
  • Cost-Effective and Scalable – Organizations can leverage the unlimited scalability of a third-party cloud backup solutions without investing upfront in infrastructure. With the popularity of pay-as-you-go models in this field, SMBs can significantly reduce the resources allocated for backup infrastructure and IT staff, and simultaneously plan for the costs that would accompany organizational capacity growth.
  • Quick Recovery Times – File recovery from cloud storage is generally faster than on-premises backups, and obviously doesn’t require being in a specific location in order to successfully recover and access your data.

 

While Cloud backup certainly has it’s perks, like any technology it also has its disadvantages. For example:

  • Original Backups and Full-Restorations can be Time-Consuming – Depending on the amount of data you and/or your company needs to backup, the first full backup and/or full recovery could prove to be quite time-consuming and negatively impact organizational activities while these backups/restorations are taking place.
  • Size matters – Organizations will have to take into account both the amount of data that needs to be transferred to the cloud on a daily basis and the amount of bandwidth available to complete this transfer. With companies that have extensive data, these limitations may be significant in the framework of their data backup strategy.
  • No Guarantees – While cloud-based backup services are generally extremely reliable, there are certain elements like the availability of bandwidth that is simply not in the provider’s control. As such they cannot provide service-level agreements (SLAs) and their services are accompanied by a certain level of risk.

Cloud – to -Cloud Backup

Last but certainly not least are Cloud-to-Cloud Backup Services like CloudAlly. As more and more of our business activities and interactions occur online, we continually increase the value of all of our online data. With an ever-growing global economy, it’s no surprise that cloud-based applications such as Office 365, Google Apps and Salesforce have become the optimal answer to the needs of SMBs and Enterprise worldwide. While these services do come with certain security features, they are simply NOT built for providing the comprehensive protection against the most likely culprit: ourselves. Time and time again, we’ve seen that simple, accidental human errors can result in the loss of essential business data. We mess up, it happens. Cloud-to-Cloud Backups are specifically designed to protect us from turning those “oops” moments into more serious data-loss disasters. Clear benefits include:

  • Take Control – Whether you want to secure online data for your whole team or only selected users within your organization, Cloud-to-Cloud services offer quick, easy and customizable automated backup service. With only a few clicks, you can choose the archive location, backup times and frequencies that work best for you and your team.
  • Put Safety First – Cloud-to-Cloud backup services can implement internal controls and audits such that you can remain compliant with any and all data privacy requirements.
  • Quickly Backed Up, Quickly Restored – Cloud-to-Cloud backups excel in keeping files that have been accidentally deleted easily accessible. Within minutes you can find, restore and export archived data from any point in time.
  • Data with Unlimited Lives – No need to worry about lost or corrupted data. Whether someone inadvertently deleted a file or a virus took over your email account, cloud-to-cloud daily backup services ensure your data is not only retained, but that it remains intact and ready for use, whenever you need it.
  • It’s All Yours – In our dynamic global environment, your past, current and future employees are located all across the world, weaving in and out of a variety of employment opportunities. Their constant creation of new data needs to be managed and monitored to ensure that these essential company assets stay accessible to your and your team. Cloud-to-Cloud backups provide you with the control you need to retain this data stays and easily move it from one user to another.
  • Cost-effective Solutions – IT managers are often working with limited budgets, and are all about being as efficient as possible. The in-depth monitoring features you can access through Cloud-to-Cloud backup services make it easy to delete inactive accounts without deleting the accompanying data they generated, and simultaneously cut licensing costs and storage fees associated with these inactive accounts.

So that’s the low-down on how to backup your data. Perhaps we’re partial, but from where we stand, Cloud-to-Cloud backup services have proven time and again that they are able to provide the most comprehensive solutions without compromising on standards for safety, security or simplicity. If you want to learn more about what causes to data loss in the cloud, and how to prevent it , download our free overview.

 

Cloud Backup Infographics Roundup

According to a forecast by Computerworld, 42 percent IT leaders plan to invest more on cloud computing this year. There will be an 11 percent shift of IT budget toward various cloud computing versions as a new delivery model by 2016, as per IDC predictions. That’s an impressive statistic and proof of how shiny the future of cloud is.

While the majority of enterprises plan to embrace or use cloud more, they often underrate the security part. What if the data stored in the cloud gets lost due to some virus attack, phishing, or accidental deletion. How can it be recovered? An inevitable solution to prevent data loss is back up.

In this article we are going to list the top 10 infographics that will help visualize why backups are important – be it a cloud or a cloud-to-cloud network, how it evolved, and where it stands now. Let’s get rolling then.

1. What Can Cause Data Loss?

Before, we talk about backup; we should talk about what causes data loss; viruses, phishing scams, hacking, or something else? Here is a detailed infographic about that.

2. How Data Loss Could Be Deadly for a Business

Here is an informative infographic from DSS Datacenter that depicts what data loss could cost a business. It has some shocking data loss statistics that will convince any business to implement cloud backup today.

3. Evolution of Backups

To protect a business from data loss, backups are crucial, but what brought around the concept in the first place, and how did it evolve? This infographic from Axcient explains.

Evolution of backup

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Women Are More Unlikely to Backup Their Data Than Men – Seagate Study

According to a survey conducted by Harris Interactive and Seagate, 30 percent of the women that participated in the survey acknowledged that they do not back up their data at all! Curious about what men do? Here is an interesting infographic with more information.

5. What Can Cloud Backup Do for You?

An excellent infographic  and a revelation for companies that are unsure about whether they need a cloud backup solution, and how it can influence their business, by Acronis.

6. Why Companies Are Moving to Cloud Backup Solutions

Cloud backup solutions play a significant role in a company’s data recovery strategy and an increasing number of businesses have started realizing this as of late. So, why is cloud backup the toast of the town? This infographic from CloudBacko explains.

7. How to Ensure Business Continuity With Cloud Backup

Business continuity is crucial for every enterprise. Wondering how cloud backup solutions can help ensure zero downtime?

8. Is Backup Reliable?

By now, it is clear that data recovery and backup solutions are important and can’t be ignored. However, are they reliable enough so that businesses can focus on their core needs without worrying about data loss anymore? Here is an interesting infographic from Kroll On track on what you need to know.

9. The CIO’s Essential Checklist for Cloud Backup

Cloud storage and backup can bring elasticity and agility but it is critically important for CIOs to address the basics of cloud backup first, including access control, availability, data encryption, and uptime. Druva made this job easier with an excellent security checklist for CIOs.

10. Look for a Cloud pro, Not a Poser

Many cloud solution providers claim to have a stolid security system that is ideal for securing enterprise data, but the fact is, they don’t have adequate knowledge and experience required and like other industries, they are self-claimed gurus. How can a business identify the posers? Here is an interesting infographic from Autotask that can help distinguish the good from the bad.

There are many other infographics on Cloud Backup, these were our top 10 favorite ones. The awareness to Cloud Backup is enormous by now, every business has a backup, and if they didn’t migrate it to the cloud yet –  they are probably considering  it. What about Cloud To Cloud Backup? Do you know you must also backup your SaaS applications? If you are not familiar with it, you should read our overview  “Why Backup Online Data” and learn why we all need to backup online data (YES! although it’s already in the cloud)  before it’s too late.