MSPs – Boost Office 365 Migration to Cloud Revenue by Including Cloud Backup

Office 365 migration to cloud, for MSPs

In today’s high-tech marketplace there are more MSP businesses than ever, which means that it’s more difficult than ever before to stand out in the space and to increase your revenue. As such, it’s vitally important for MSPs to shift their business models to include data protection. By adding a cloud-to-cloud backup and recovery solution to your: Office 365 migration to cloud plan, you can increase your revenue but 15% per job.

Let’s talk about why this is so important.

The Importance of Data Protection

“Data is not just an important part of business—many firms consider it to be their most critical asset,” revealed a 2015 CompTIA 2015 Outlook research report.

No matter if your main customers are multi-national corporations or small- and medium-sized businesses data is what makes the wheels turn. By offering data protection, you’ll see ripple effects that increase your revenue, grow your business, and improve your customer and supplier relationships. The reason why is because data protection safeguards your customers’ data everywhere it lives, meaning that, suddenly, you’re not just an MSP business, you’re a partner in helping your customers navigate and succeed in the digital age where data is on premise, in virtual environments, in the cloud, and within third-party SaaS applications.

Data Protection as an MSP Cornerstone

Did you know? 22% of IT decision makers say that they are or will be employing cloud as part of their backup process, according to Enterprise Strategy Group, 2015.

The truth is that you cannot be an effective MSP business offering Office 365 migration to cloud services without a way to protect your customer’s data. MSPs that don’t offer a cloud-to-cloud backup and recovery solution only partly service their customers. That’s why it’s vital to make data protection—such as CloudAlly offers—an integral part of your business.

Backup and disaster recovery is a key component every MSP business. Without it, what are you managing? Imagine if your customer goes down and loses connection to their data during your Office 365 migration to cloud service. If you don’t have a data protection strategy in place, you’ll be fighting a batter with no solution to offer. The reality of the situation is that if you’re an MSP business, your customers are going to put you on the hook to recover their data if they suffer a loss. So, by having a cloud-to-cloud backup plan already in place, you ensure you’re for any eventuality.

The Benefits of Adding Data protection to Your MSP Business

Adding data protection to your MSP business isn’t just about making sure you can compete, there are a myriad of benefits that will directly impact your bottom line. Offering your customers a cloud-to-cloud backup and recovery solution will end up playing a large role in your success, and here’s how.

1. Increased Customer Referrals

Your customers know the value of data to their business. They know that 47% of enterprises have lost data in the cloud and had to restore their information from backups and that those losses can cost thousands of dollars and hundreds of staff-hours if they’re unprepared. By offering data protection as part of your Office 365 migration to cloud bundle, you provide a new “entry point” for potential customers.

Customers in pain want to hire companies that offer a total solution to their issue. They don’t want to have to go to five different businesses to find what they want and need; they want a one-stop shop that fulfills all their needs. By delivering the highest level of service—including offering a cloud-to-cloud backup and recovery solution—you’ll demonstrate your willingness to go “above and beyond” for every customer, which will increase the likelihood that you’ll be recommended to other businesses down the road.

2. Deeper Customer Relationships

You won’t receive additional customer referrals unless you first build a deeper relationship with your current customers. The essence of the MSP and customer relationship is service, and we’re not just talking about hardware and software services. The success of your MSP business is based on your customer service orientation. An exceptional customer service orientation means more frequent and better customer communication and more solutions to potential pain points.

By offering a cloud-to-cloud backup and recovery solution as part of your Office 365 migration to cloud service, you increase the confidence your customer has in what you offer. Think about it this way, what happens if your customer goes down and you can’t get them back up? In most cases, you’ve violated the trust your customer has placed in you, and they’ll cancel their contract and never give you another opportunity to work with them again. What’s worse is that that customer will probably share their bad experience with anyone who will listen.

That’s why data protection is so important. It’s a client data safeguard that protects both you and your customer from potentially dire consequences, and that customer service investment directly impacts your bottom line. When you build deeper relationships with your customers, you can charge higher rates, gain more business, and build your reputation.

3. Recurring Revenue

Already, many MSP businesses have developed recurring-revenue models, but that model is only possible if you have a service that someone is will to pay for month-over-month. Data protection is a linchpin for recurring-revenue models. Customers will be far more willing to pay you a fee every month if you give them the confidence to believe that their data and infrastructure will always be available.

And another benefit of the recurring-revenue model is that it means you can lower the price barrier to entry for your Office 365 migration to cloud customers. If you know you can charge a monthly fee for backup, recovery, and business continuity, then you can make it easier for your customers to acquire your service in the first place.

4. Less Work

The easiest way to be more profitable is to do less work. When you purchase CloudAlly’s backup and recovery solution, you don’t have to add any extra work to your own staff yet you increase your reliability and the confidence your customer has in your business.

CloudAlly allows you to manage all of your customers from a single account. This means that you can activate backups for all users with a single click, and even set auto-detect options for new users. And if you have to perform a restore, CloudAlly offers non-destructive restores from any point in time.

When you partner with CloudAlly, you gain the support of a vendor that understands and supports your need to resolve all of your customer issues clearly and quickly. Once your customers have signed up, you can sit back and relax and allow CloudAlly to worry about protecting all the necessary data.


Cloud-to-cloud backup and recovery is no longer just a “nice thing to have” when it comes to MSPs and the Office 365 migration to cloud service. It’s a necessary cornerstone of your business. If you lose your customer’s data, you’ll lose all their business forever, and they’ll tell their friends to avoid you as well.

Boost your profits, and protect your business and keep your customers happier by becoming a CloudAlly partner today.

Contact Us about how to add our cloud backup solution to your services and increase your profits.

The Foundation of a Successful Office 365 Migration

Office 365 Backup and Restore – Migration Plan

Migrating to Office 365 has become common practice. Businesses large and small have been attracted to the online environment as a way to save money, increase efficiency, and improve business continuity. The issue is that too many organizations take Office 365 migration lightly and don’t include such basic foundational items as: Office 365 backup and restore.

Office 365 migrations are not simple cookie-cutter processes. To do it correctly requires experience in Exchange, Office 365, archives, security, DNS, storage, firewalls, proxies, networking, backups, and more. And with so many different products in the Microsoft Office 365 Suite, comprehensively covering the entire migration process can be a challenge.

So, what makes a successful Office 365 migration to cloud? It’s all about having a solid foundation and avoiding these common pitfalls.

4 Tips for Successful Office 365 Migration

1. Choose an Appropriate Migration Method

There are four different migration methods that companies can choose from, and each method has its pros and cons. For example, there’s a lot of hype surrounding Exchange Server migrations to Office 365, stating that it can be completed in six easy steps. But the reality is that only the smallest organizations can get away with such a simplified migrations. The key to success is choosing the right method for your business.

  • Cut-over Migration: This is considered the easiest of all migration methods. Basically, it transfers all mailboxes, users, contacts, and mail groups to Office 365 in one fell swoop. The downside to this migration type is that it’s limited. It works best for small business owners because cutover migrations can only handle up to 1,000 mailboxes and may take several days to complete.
  • Hybrid Migration: This is a much more complicated migration method and involves moving only some on-premise capabilities to Office 365 while leaving the rest to be managed on-location. The biggest difficult with this migration type is deciding what should be transferred and strategically planning for it. For example, with a hybrid migration you can decide to keep your SharePoint data in-house while moving your mailboxes online.
  • Staged Migration: This migration works best for those companies who can’t afford any downtime and want to opt into only migrating a few resources at a time. Just like the cut-over migration, staged migration is limited to fewer than 1,000 mailboxes, but there is little disruption for users.
  • Third-Party Migrations: The final migration approach, and our recommendation, is to use a data migration expert. Many cloud partners have their own Office 365 tools with a dedicated team of experts to ensure the migration goes as smoothly as possible.

1. Understand Office 365 Limitations

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to Office 365 migration plans. That’s because every business has different needs, and require you to perform due diligence on what Office 365 can handle before you move forward.

For example, Office 365 offers a variety of support plans and they were not all created equal. If you’re going hybrid, it’s essential that you have a support plan in place that supports Azure Active Directory Synchronization. The solution:

Another limitation is the inability to keep legacy archive solutions on-premise. The reality is that when you move your mailboxes to the cloud, you break the stubs and so users are unable to access archived email. The solution is to use your own third-party Office 365 backup and restore archive solution to handle the export, rehydration, and upload process. That’s where CloudAlly comes in handy. With the click of a button, we make it easy to create a zip download containing Outlook compatible PST format.

And if you choose the hybrid migration method, you need to understand the differences between the Exchange environments. If you have an Exchange 2007/2010 environment set up, then you’ll need at least one Exchange 2013 Client Access and Mailbox server ready to run the Hybrid Configuration wizard. And if your business doesn’t have Exchange 2013, you’ll have to update before going hybrid.

Finally, Office 365 is limited in its message recovery ability. Office 365 cannot perform message retrieval beyond the deleted item retention period. This can be a major problem for admins, but there’s an easy solution. Use CloudAlly to perform daily-automated backups of all your Office 365 information and keep it forever with unlimited storage and unlimited retention.

2. Don’t Skimp on Migration Infrastructure

When planning a migration, there are some infrastructure requirements you have to adhere to. Technically, a migration can run solely on virtual hardware, but it t4ends to result in performance problems except for smaller organizations. Microsoft recommends that larger businesses use Exchange 2013 and 2010 hybrid servers. We also recommend having a server that is running Active Directory Federation Services. This server can be used to handle identity management between the Office 365 cloud and your on-premise environment.

3. Implement a Cloud-to-Cloud Backup Service for Exchange Online

Office 365 Exchange Online lacks the daily backup and point-in-time recovery process that was probably present in your hosted Exchange environment. This means that you no longer have the ability to recover data lost or corrupt data once you’re up and running in your new Office 365 online environment. The recycle bin provides short-term recovery of individual items but can be hard deleted by a user. Exchange Online Archiving (EOA) provides immutable protection of individual items, but lacks the ability to recover a complete mailbox, folder, calendar, etc. Individual Items must be queried using eDiscovery, exported to an eDiscovery mailbox, and then downloaded, before moving back to the source mailbox.

CloudAlly’s Office 365 backup and restore service is compatible with all plans, includes Mail, Calendar, Contacts, and Tasks, and you can backup user and shared mailboxes, as well as public folders.

CloudAlly’s restore process allows you to non-destructively, recover lost or corrupt data, or export it in Outlook compatible format. You can even drill down through each backup by date or keyword to quickly search and located specific data, or perform a complete point-in-time recovery at an hierarchical level.

In the end, a successful Office 365 migration is dependent on using the right tools and having a complete backup and recovery solution in place once the migration is complete. While Microsoft provides some decent tools for migrating Exchange Server mailboxes to Office 365, they don’t provide everything. Familiarize yourself with all available migration tools, understand Exchange Online limitations, and consider CloudAlly’s Office 365 Exchange Backup to provide ongoing protection of your Exchange Online data.

It’s worth it.

How to Avoid Office 365 Data Breaches and Migration Complexities

One of the most common assumptions about using Microsoft’s products is that there is no need for more security. 

While easy deployment of Office 365 and ease of use has already made it a popular choice among businesses of all sizes, many of them are unaware of the risk of data breaches, and migration complexities they will have to battle along their journey from an on-premise environment to Office 365.

Let’s take an in-depth look at some of the risks involved with the use of Office 365 and how you can avoid them.

Security Breaches

Cloud applications are currently battling two types of security breaches. A hard breach is when a hacker gets around your security and steals your data. Such a breach compromises application security, and that results in critical data loss.

Yet, Office 365 already has it covered in their embedded security system. What they haven’t accounted for are soft data breaches. No real defense is available to ward off the imminent security risk with soft breaches.

Office 365 users that aren’t trained in basic security practices, can often result in such soft breaches. When an attacker “tricks” you into giving them the key, you can’t do much to save your confidential data.

Hence, the best way to tackle this issue is to train your staff on some basic security best practices.

  • Enforce policies that forbid users from sharing their password with anyone without permission
  • Back your policy with sanctions to lower the risk of social engineering hacks
  • Train your Office 365 users to double and, if the need be, triple check the web address of any page
  • Help them identify any page that asks them to log in and seems fishy by the content
  • Educate them to differentiate between a regular web page and a phishing page. These pages trick people into handing over their personal information and passwords.

Tackling Migration Errors and Other Complexities

The actual migration to Office 365 is not always as easy as it seems. It becomes a challenge for large- sized business with bigger and complex environments. If you decide to move the data manually, it’s going to become a bottleneck. Depending on the data volumes you are moving, it can also bring you to a screeching halt. This is where third-party solutions come in.

Exporting legacy data is half the battle. Using a third-party solution to do the job is the rest. Exporting large chunks of data from one platform to another is almost impossible without such solutions. But, these applications can mishandle and corrupt the data while doing so due to improper configuration. 

When initiating the use of a 3rd party solution, admins grant a specific set of permissions to that application.  When they do that, they can affect an entire service or a domain: One wrong instruction can take down the entire server. The chances of losses are higher if you are running a larger, more complex environment.

It’s also common to see Exchange 2003 or 5.5 still in use. This adds another level of complexity of upgrading the solution before migrating. With so many versions of Exchange running at the same time, migrating them all without major errors is nearly impossible.

Microsoft can’t manage bad instructions from a third-party solution if you give it the keys. For all it knows, a user wants their migration tool to overwrite their data and start fresh.

Now imagine what would happen if your entire system collapsed due to one faulty instruction.One way to protect your data during migration is to have it all backed up in a secure, cloud-to-cloud backup solution, like CloudAlly

If you are considering a third-party solution to ease migration, mitigate the risk first. Then select a solution designed to support Office 365. The right solution to look for is the one that assists in getting the archive built quickly.