BackupAssist thinks that being able to back up cloud data locally, with minimal storage requirements, will appeal to MSPs and lead to a surge of new MSP partners.
Australian-headquartered BackupAssist makes Windows-based automated server backup and recovery software for SMBs. Until now, the product has been on-prem. Now they are launching BackupAssist 365, a cloud version of their product, with the big differentiation being that it backs up locally rather than in the cloud, with all the cost, compliance, and continuity advantages that entails. It is also free to MSPs for the first 60 days.
“BackupAssist has been an on-prem solution, but a lot of SMB customers have been moving workloads to the cloud,” said Linus Chang, BackupAssist’s Founder and CEO. “The question many have is that if they need to back up their cloud data, given that cloud providers say it is secure. Most small business don’t understand the nuances around the technology, and tend to view the cloud as a utopia where everything just works. But the cloud is just someone else’s server. It’s not a magic wand for the SMB to abdicate responsibility.”
Chang noted that even though Azure just had an outage, and Google has permanently lost data, on balance the cloud IS more reliable than on-premise servers.
“Still, issues of accidental deletion, intentional deletion and ransomware attacks are the customer’s responsibility to protect against,” he said. “Much data today is born in the cloud, and never exists locally at all. What happened to the 3-2-1 rule of backup? With cloud, many people just don’t do it.”
What cloud backup policies do exist aren’t very effective in a multi-cloud universe, Chang noted.
“MSP partners say their average small business customer has data scattered in many clouds, which have different backup policies, or no backup policy at all,” he said. “That makes it hard for an MSP to provide business continuity guarantees.”
Chang said that MSPs had told him that cloud 90-day retention policies were an inadequate substitute for backups, and that cloud to local backup was needed to ensure the customer retained control of the data.
“With Office 365, your data is held hostage by Microsoft,” Chang quoted one MSP as saying, in what was his favorite quote of those collected. He noted as well that a survey BackupAssist did with SMB Nation found that files – not emails – were overwhelmingly MSPs’ top concern, with 67 per cent indicating such, compared to 18 per cent for emails.
BackupAssist 365 was designed as a remedy for these issues.
“It is a new product but also a companion to our existing BackupAssist on-prem product,” Chang said. “As a standalone, it automatically downloads cloud data to a local destination on schedule. We think customers will love this solution. We anticipate many will use both it and our on-prem, but some will only be interested in BackupAssist 365.”
“Being a cloud-to-local backup as a major differentiation,” said Troy Vertigan, BackupAssist’s VP of Channel Sales and Marketing. “The vast majority of cloud backups are cloud to cloud, and with cloud to cloud, the costs of restore can be expensive. Cloud to local provides up to 75 per cent in cost savings.”
Vertigan said backing up locally had several other advantages for customers.
“It’s easier to access when it’s stored locally,” he said. “You also know where data is for compliance purposes, and having the local copy lets you choose where it’s stored, and easily change the location.”
Because the backup data isn’t stored in a proprietary format, it can be restored easily, without even the need to use BackupAssist 365, Vertigan said.
“It also gives strong ransomware protection, which is incredibly important,” he said. “The local backup provides a safe ‘air gapped’ version of the data. It’s also fully automated, so it removes the risk of human error, and frees up employee time.”
BackupAssist 365’s local backup also benefits MSPs.
“It really helps them control the data destination, which is important to them for privacy and compliance reasons,” Vertigan said. “MSPs want to know where their data is. Cloud vendors can move data centre data, and not tell them, and they don’t find out till they have to recover and it takes a long time to get data back. This breaks their compliance requirements. This also avoids cloud vendor lock-in, and the licensing model by user lets the MSP monetize the product more effectively by charging customers by their size.” The licensing is based on the number of users for an annual subscription. The first 24 users are charged $USD 1.00 per user per month. The 25th-49th users are charged 95 cents per user, while the 50th user and up are charged 90 cents per user.
BackupAssist 365 launches tomorrow, September 18. MSPs get the licenses for free for the first 60 days.
“The billing will be turned on in late November, when we launch our MSP Centralized Management, and it is all integrated in the MSP portal,” Vertigan said.
BackupAssist sells through their partner channel, and also sells direct from their website. The MSP business is around 75 per cent globally and around 50 per cent in North America. The company expects that BackupAssist 365 will significantly increase their number of MSP partners.
“We have thousands of partners today, but we think the local backup capability will be of interest to tens of thousands of MSPs,” Vertigan said.
“We have an MSP channel already, but we are definitely open for business there,” Chang said. “MSPs are only a small part of the market for us today, and we think there will be a lot more MSPs because many use the larger backup vendors who are cloud to cloud backup, and so don’t offer what we do. The MSP doesn’t have to buy any hardware to do cloud to local backup because the entry requirements are so low, they already have the necessary hardware in place. It will be really interesting to see how the market reacts to this.”