Demand for cloud solutions and services among SMBs and enterprises continues to surge, but the overall percentage of IT solution providers participating in this burgeoning market — just 20% — is surprisingly small. If you’re among the 80% that have yet to make the foray into selling cloud solutions and services, Jason Bystrak, Executive Director of the Americas, Ingram Micro Cloud, would like to have a word with you. Recently, Bystrak contributed “5 Reasons Channel Partners Can No Longer Ignore Cloud Services,” to Business Solutions. Each of the reasons he shares is built on an important IT/business trend. Without giving it all away, the one I found most compelling was Bystrak’s fifth reason:
IT Security and Accountability are Major Concerns for your Customers
And, here’s what he has to say about that:
“Although the perception for many is that cloud-based technologies are more vulnerable and less secure, the reality is just the opposite. In many cases, cloud-based solutions offer more security because they are constantly and automatically being updated to account for new security concerns, such as CryptoLocker. Channel partners who work within vertical markets such as healthcare, legal and finance will also find the move to private cloud can address concerns around regulations, privacy laws and compliance.”
Based on my interviews with VARs and MSPs, I believe this trend is the biggest obstacle that keeps channel companies from selling cloud. Last year I interviewed David Malcom, VP of managed services at Computer Services, Inc. (CSI), a $213 million managed services provider that focuses exclusively on the financial services market. Despite CSI’s success selling managed services, it initially struggled to sell cloud services.
To get a better handle on things, the MSP began incorporating cloud-related topics into its compliance discussions, and that’s when it discovered that many customers don’t understand the important differences between different kinds of cloud services — such as public, private, and hybrid.
“If, for instance, a customer is already using another vendor’s cloud service, we’ll ask them where the data is stored,” says Malcom. “If it turns out to be outside the United States, that’s a red flag we want to help them resolve right away. It may lead to a potential violation of federal regulations that could be costly and time-consuming to resolve.”
Throughout the consultation process, CSI contrasts public cloud and overseas cloud services with its U.S.- based private cloud offering, which has been specifically designed to protect sensitive financial data.
“Educating customers about the cloud has gone a long way in getting them to entrust us with their cloud initiatives,” says Malcom.