Where the Real IaaS Opportunities Lie for MSPs

Your clients need more than an Infrastructure as a Service reseller. They need advisors to help with deployment and security as they move workflows to the cloud.

If you’re only reselling Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), you may be leaving money on the table. Pankaj Gupta, Senior Director, Product Management at Citrix, explains, “The traditional school of thought is that MSPs and VARs can grow their business by reselling IaaS. But such thinking is flawed. There is little benefit to MSPs and VARs in reselling IaaS. Instead, the real opportunity lies in selling consulting and deployment services and cross-selling add-on offerings such as security services and applications.”

Gupta points out that security is a top-of-mind issue not just for the CIO and CISO but the CEO and board of directors, who are accountable for ensuring they have the proper procedures and solutions to protect their systems and data. “This has opened the door for MSPs and VARs to cross-sell security services and products that can support their initiatives,” says Gupta. “And to be successful, MSPs and VARs need to understand that security is a shared responsibility between the provider and the customer. This is one of the biggest misconceptions in the market right now, and without a collaborative approach to security, they will ultimately fail.”

He says that companies need a comprehensive security posture to defend an expanded attack surface against advanced threats. But the products and solutions most organizations use are fragmented. “They need someone who can stitch all different pieces together. This is where MSPs and VARs can help – and expand their businesses,” Gupta says.

Best Practices for Implementing IaaS for Your Clients

Your guidance and expertise also benefit your clients as they migrate to IaaS. Your clients may not be aware that IaaS isn’t suitable for all workloads, so work with your clients to determine what will migrate and what will not. Choosing the right IaaS provider with an offering suited to your client’s needs is vital.

It’s vital to plan the migration, understand interdependencies within the IT environment, and determine the priority different applications and data sets will take during the migration. Also, make sure backups are current before migration and ensure you can maintain recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs) during the migration to avoid disruption to operations.

After migration, you need to test the system to ensure all data is successfully transferred and accessible to users, systems are communicating, and all tools work correctly.

Gupta says to add cloud migration services to your line card, MSPs new to IaaS “should begin by outlining a clear use case and conduct a pilot, and then bring on talent and build a cloud culture to drive things forward.”

Once you’ve developed your solution, he says, “Forecast costs out of the gate as they can be unpredictable. Then put procedures in place to optimize them along every step of the way—and be sure to think about multi-cloud and portability strategies as part of this.”

In addition to security, Gupta stresses that clients will need your expertise to comply with regulatory requirements, such as the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). They also need your help to maximize the ROI of migrating to an IaaS solution. “When it comes to delivering real value to end users, IaaS offerings need to be highly available and easy to use, auto-scalable, and purchased on a subscription, consumption-based model where pricing is simple and predictable,” he says. “Together, these things drive adoption, which is what it’s all about.”