EFSS vendor FileCloud reaches out to MSPs at ChannelCon event

FileCloud has been selling their Enterprise File Sync and Sharing Solution mainly direct, and through larger MSPs who do their own hosting. However, they just launched a partner program for smaller MSPs looking to resell a service that FileCloud hosts, and are looking – selectively – for additional partners.

Venkat Ramasamy, FileCloud’s COO

WASHINGTON DC – Austin-based FileCloud, which makes a cloud-agnostic Enterprise File Sync and Sharing Solution [EFSS], was in attendance at the CompTIA ChannelCon show here, touting their offering to the MSPs in attendance and soliciting their views on what mattered most for them in this type of solution. The week before, they introduced a new channel program specifically for MSPs who do not host in their own data centres, and would prefer instead to resell FileCloud Online, which is fully hosted by FileCloud.

FileCloud is actually a brand, with the parent company being CodeLathe, also based in Austin. They originally started as a consumer internet company, making a personal cloud solution for consumers. Looking for a more sustainable enterprise model, they pivoted to that, and in 2013 released the first version of that product. They sold it direct, and targeted midmarket and enterprise customers.

“Even now, the majority of our revenue is direct to market,” said Venkat Ramasamy, FileCloud’s Chief Operating Officer. “Today the channel is between 20 and 25 per cent of our sales, but it is growing. We have around 150 MSPs today, mostly international, and the U.S. ones are much smaller in size. We have larger partners in the UK, Germany and Canada, and in the Middle East, they can be national telcos.”

FileCloud is doing well in the Canadian market.

“We can host in Canada, and we are the only service in this space that gives a choice as to how the customer wants to keep the data,” Ramasamy stated. “We can deploy on a public cloud, a private cloud, or as a cloud service.” Their public cloud deployments are in the AWS cloud.

FileCloud previously had a partner program for the larger self-hosted MSPs, who operated their own data centres.

“The new program is for File Cloud Online, the cloud service that we offer, not for the self-hosted MSPs,” Ramasamy said. “Many MSPs do not have the resources to have their own clouds. That is the trend.” Most of these MSPs are focused on the SMB market rather than the enterprise.

Ramasamy emphasized that file sharing isn’t a simple application that can be easily run in a turnkey service.

“File sharing is a core application and people think they are simple but they aren’t,” he said. “It can be complex to set up policies for access permissions and device management policies. Even with the cloud products, you need a trusted partner for it.”

So why would these MSPs want to work with a smaller vendor like FileCloud rather than a much better known one like DropBox or Box? Ramasamy said that partners can make more money.

“In many cloud services partner programs, especially in our space, smaller MSPs bring in the customer, but then don’t get a full cut of renewals,” he said. “With us, the MSP owns the customer relationship and gets special pricing when the customer renews. With most vendors in this area, the partner basically brings in their own leads, but we share leads as well.”

Ramasamy said that even though FileCloud is mainly direct, they also manage customer relationships to minimize channel conflict.

“We are very transparent on the direct side,” he said. “We ask the customer if they want to work with a partner, and only if they don’t will we will do it direct.”

FileCloud is requiring fairly minimal commitment from partners. They don’t have to hit an annual sales quota to become and remain partners, just have an established practice. Still, Ramasamy said they are still being fairly choosy about who they sign up.

“We don’t want to aggressively grow the number, but rather selectively add partners who can help each other,” he said. “In Canada for instance, we don’t have the resources locally to support large numbers of partners.”

That’s why at their first ChannelCon, FileCloud was looking to do more listening and talking with MSPs, rather than be in full-blown recruitment mode.

“We want to talk with MSPs, and understand their perception of the market, and learn what they want from a vendor,” Ramasamy said.

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