MSP Opportunity: Backing Up Clients’ Office 365 Data

While Microsoft provides some level of protection against the deletion of emails you might need later, full backup services are up to the customer to procure. 

Small to midsize businesses (SMBs) increasingly rely on cloud-based applications such as Office 365 to run their operations. This approach lowers their costs of entry and overheads, allowing them to focus on their core business instead of trying to run expensive IT environments.
 
But just as with on-premises applications, businesses still need to protect their dataeven if the data spends most of its time in the cloud. That means implementing not only all of the necessary security controls and policies, but also backup strategies for important data. However, when it comes to Office 365, it’s easy to overlook the need to back up emails. While Microsoft provides some level of protection against the deletion of emails you might need later, full backup services are up to the customer to procure.
 
The question then is, “Do customers realize this?” In many cases in the SMB space, the answer is no. This creates a problem for customersbut also opens an opportunity for MSPs to add value by delivering a comprehensive managed email backup solution to protect against data loss. For MSPs, the customer journey starts with education. For example, Verizon reports roughly one out of every three software as a service (SaaS) users has lost data from the cloud even though they thought the data was secure. And as businesses adopt more cloud-based solutions, these numbers may well increase if they neglect the need for robust data backup and recovery.
 
SMB customers also need to understand more about the intricacies of Office 365 backup. While Microsoft provides storage for active data in the cloud, this storage isn’t the same as having full backup for emails. For example, if a user deletes several emails and later realizes they need some of the data in those emails, there’s only a 14-day period during which they can retrieve the emails from the recycling bin. After that, the data is gone forever. But with an active backup solution, the emails are recoverable.
 
The same is true in a situation when an employee leaves a company and the administrator deletes the employee’s account but forgets to save its contents. The latter is a common human error with potentially serious consequencesespecially if the former employee’s emails contain valuable customer information and even business contracts. If such emails are deleted, it could jeopardize a customer relationship. Having a backup solution in place can prevent this kind of situation.
 
Pricing is also an area where MSPs have a competitive advantage. Adding a managed backup solution from an MSP is a more affordable alternative for budget-conscious SMBs.
 
And when MSPs offer managed backup solutions, they gain control over data retention and recoverability, which allows them to provide faster and better service to their customers. Otherwise, when there’s a problem, MSPs have to resort to filing a trouble ticket with Microsoft—and wait for resolution.

Big 2020 Opportunity

As with any other added functionality, it’s important to keep it simple: look for solutions that can be managed centrally, with the same console used for remote monitoring and management.
 
As we move forward into the second half of 2020, the business case for adding Office 365 email backup is an easy one. It’s a lucrative opportunity that addresses a need many customers may not even realize they have. All it takes is a little education and the right offer, and you’ll pave the way to more business with existing managed services clients and a potential foot in the door with new customers.