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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreement (SLA)

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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

SLAs are the foundation of your MSP business. They are essential to building strong client relationships and must be clear, reasonable and well-constructed.

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Explaining the Advantages of Cloud Computing

Posted December 17, 2015by Mary McCoy

How_do_I_Explain_the_Benefits_of_Cloud_Computing_to_Clients.jpg


So you're trying to get existing or prospective clients to move to the cloud, but they're skeptical and resist. Perhaps they think cloud computing and cloud storage are just some fad that will disappear as fast as it rolled in. Sure, the cloud has become a bit of a buzzword, but that's because those who use it rarely understand what it actually is or does. It's as mystical to them as a unicorn galloping in a forest while pigs fly overhead.

In order to convince more businesses to move to the cloud, you have to convince them of its business value.


Cloudy with a Chance of Confusion

Have you ever tried to explain the cloud to your parents? I have, and it's 25 percent amusing, 75 percent exasperating. My mother, for instance, thinks the Annie Lennox songs and horrible family photos that she has stored in Apple's iCloud actually live in the air somewhere. I'm also not entirely convinced she knows that data stored in the cloud is housed in multiple locations.  

Explaining the cloud to clients or prospects is a lot like explaining the cloud to unaware loved ones. In order to actually sell leads on the advantages of cloud computing, you have to start with the basics. When approaching a client to upsell or a prospect to close, define what the cloud is and is not. Here's an excerpt from our new eBook, Explaining the Cloud to Your Clients:

"Contrary to popular belief, cloud computing has nothing to do with anything in the air or atmospheric conditions. Simply put, “the cloud” refers to a type of computing that is not done locally on your desktop, servers, or small devices (phones, tablets, etc.). That’s it—no mystique, no complication."

 

Why Cloud Computing Makes Sense

Now that they can wrap their minds around what you're selling them, you can share the benefits of cloud computing. Perhaps in your sales discussions you've heard someone ask "Why should I move to the cloud?". The reasons may be obvious to you, but are you explaining them in a way that makes sense to end users? The two main cloud computing pros you want to address are cost-efficiency and increased storage. 

Cost-Efficiency and Increased Storage

When users access the cloud, they don't have to worry about whether or not they have enough computing resources - i.e. processing power, information and storage - on their local hardware. Instead, this is managed offsite by third-party data centers that are connected to their devices. When approaching prospective clients, start by explaining the difference between accessibility and storage using a real world example. Discuss how pulling up a saved document is different from opening an email, even if done on the same machine. Email platforms like Gmail or Outlook use cloud computing technology so that people don't have to store all of that data locally to access it. Back in 2013, the average size of an inbox was 8,024 messages, and one can only assume this figure has grown in recent years. Having to store all of those emails on one device would overload its computing resources, negatively impacting performance while reducing storage availability for additional data. What am I getting at here? The prospects you talk to are already using and benefiting from third party cloud storage, but probably don't even realize it. Spell it out for them! Data center capacity exceeds that of their local machines. By choosing to buy your cloud-based backup and disaster recovery (BDR) solution, they'll receive significantly more computing resources for a comparable price, while avoiding the costly maintenance and upkeep of hardware and infrastructure. That means retrieving data will be quicker, easier and more cost-efficient.

"Cloud computing essentially employs shared services to
maximize the effectiveness of computing at such a large scale to deliver a more effective and efficient solution
that uses less power comparably than all end users would use collectively."

What if they ask how data centers are able to accommodate the storage needs of each user? Excellent question!

From On-Prem to On-Demand

When clients leverage your public cloud BDR solution, resources are offered "on-demand" and able to be adjusted at specific times and locations, so if you need to expand or condense their storage capability, you can easily do so! When your clients use only the resources they need for the time they need it, they pay only for what they use. That's a much easier way to predict and scale cloud costs over time, without throwing money away.

In selling prospects on the advantages of cloud computing, remember that first and foremost, they'll make their decision based on business value. According to Dell's Global Technology Adoption Index (GTAI), companies that take advantage of cloud and similar IT technologies have a 50 percent higher growth rate than their competitors. Share this statistic to strengthen your case that cloud computing services address real business needs and drive long-term profitability.


What are the Different Types of Cloud Storage?

We advocate using a public cloud BDR platform, but how does it compare to private and hybrid solutions? In our latest managed IT services encyclopedia article, we examine the various cloud platforms available to MSPs, as well as identify key terms you or your clients may not be familiar with. You can check out our ongoing collection of MSPedia articles here. 


Dispelling Myths around Cloud Security

OK so let's say that at this point, your prospects understand that in migrating to the cloud, they'll gain high computing power and performance, low cost of delivery, and the ability to rapidly scale to meet demand. So far, so good. Now, the real battle begins. How do you get clients to trust that their data is protected in the cloud?

After considering the volume of recent data breaches and the fact that much of cloud management is outside the end user's control, your clients aren't wrong to be cautious. It's understandable that they may initially choose to stick with on-prem storage. In order to win them over, you have to correct the popular misconception that the cloud is inherently unsafe. First, reassure wary users that cloud companies are doubling down on security, employing data encryption and implementing business-grade security processes to fend off malicious parties and restrict unauthorized users from obtaining access to their networks.  

Second, stress that the majority of breaches occur not because of where data is stored, but because of insufficient security policies, procedures and processes. The wrong employee having administrative access to their system could be enough to bring it crashing down. In reviewing where you stand, know that there are three core layers of cloud security to manage: physical, operational and data transfer security. 

The final portion of cloud security remains with the end user, and the extent which they manage their passwords, their devices, and access into the cloud networks that are so carefully guarded.

When pitching your cloud computing services to prospects, establish yourself as their trusted IT advisor, someone who will oversee and continually reevaluate their cloud platform to ensure that data integrity is met 24x7x365. 

 

If you've struggled to sell cloud computing services to end users, it's time to rethink your sales talk track! Clients can't fully buy into the cloud if they don't understand what it is or how the benefits of cloud computing help them grow and scale their businesses. The cloud has major benefits in terms of efficiency, cost effectiveness, and now security. By adopting this value-driven messaging and a sales strategy based around education, you'll be able to convince prospects that the cloud is a more stable, viable and secure environment for their organizations to conduct business in every day.

ebook-explaining-the-cloud-to-your-clients

Meet Mary! Mary McCoy is a Senior Demand Generation Programs Manager at Continuum, where she's worked for over two years. Mary has consulted with hundreds of partners, lending website, blog and social media support. Before that, she graduated from the University of Virginia (Wahoowa!) with a BA in Economics and served as digital marketing intern for Citi Performing Arts Center (Citi Center), spearheading the nonprofit’s #GivingTuesday social media campaign. Like her school’s founder, Thomas Jefferson, Mary believes learning never ends. She considers herself a passionate, lifelong student of content creation and inbound marketing.

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