Asigra believes the new offering will appeal to MSPs looking to get away from brokerage and get more control over their customers, without having to invest in a data centre.
Today, in partnership with Zadara, Asigra is announcing the Asigra Cloud OPEX Backup Appliance. A virtual backup solution, it integrates Asigra Cloud Backup Software version 14 with Zadara software-defined cloud storage platform, and is sold to MSPs as a consumption-based service. It can be deployed on-prem, at a colo, or in the public cloud
MSPs have believed for years that running their own backup service instead of simply being a broker was a fool’s errand, because it required them to make costly investments in data centre equipment. While that was once the case, Asigra believes that it is no longer.
“The old reasons why MSPs don’t need to deliver their own services are dated,” said Eran Farajun, Asigra’s Executive Vice President. “Many partners are brokers of cloud services, but the margins for effective MRR are no longer there. The average margin on these services, which was once around 40 per cent, is now 17 per cent. And in the brokerage world, you don’t control margins or communications with end customers. As a result, marketers of cloud services go right over the head of MSPs. Being a broker is just not channel-healthy.”
Asigra is emphasizing that the new OPEX appliance gives MSPs the ability to set up their own backup service without a big investment.
“This announcement is a manifestation of how easy it is to set up your own backup service,” Farujan said. “This is an appliance that is OPEX. The channel doesn’t buy it or own it. They pay for its use. They can host it themselves if they have a data centre, or put it in another cloud, including the Zadara cloud in Equinix data centres worldwide. This aligns with the business model of being an MSP. It removes a big element of risk of buying and amortizing hardware, and hoping that it gets consumed. Removing the risk means that it may be a little more expensive on a per unit basis, but it removes the need of having to pay up front.”
It also gives the MSP a much better quality of MRR than being a broker, Farujan said.
“It alllows partners to decide margin, and keep customers secret from the cloud service provider,” he stated. “Zadara also does the work of managing and monitoring the RAID, firmware and patching. That’s part of the subscription. They also don’t charge ingress or egress fees for your data, like the big clouds do.”
Farujan also stressed that the Asigra Cloud OPEX Backup Appliance will offer a superior level of protection against ransomware.
“Backup vendors tout the effectiveness of a good backup against ransomware, but the bad guys already know that, so they attack differently now,” he said. “They try and steal credentials to the backup application, and delete the backup data. So just having a backup is not good enough these days, because they attack it. Ergo, you have to harden your backup application. We have two-factor authentication and a soft delete, so even if an admin wants to delete something, it doesn’t get deleted but just moved. The customer doesn’t pay for it, but its still around for a while. It provides Attack Loop prevention as well.”
The relationship between Asigra and Zadara came about through the influence of mutual MSP partners.
“Existing customers who have used us independently nudged us closer together,” Farujan said. “The result is a ‘meet in the channel’ solution.”
Asigra thinks that the new appliance will appeal in two particular situations.
“The first is MSPs who started their MRR life as a broker, and are interested in finding out what it would take to stand up their own service,” Farujan said. “That’s especially so if they are interested in selling their business within the next 5-7 years. Delivering a backup or VoIP service yourself adds value. Some kinds of business, are best brokered. You don’t want to compete against Office 365. But other services like backup can be delivered this way. This gives you a way to do that without buying hardware, if you aren’t happy with 17 per cent margins and vendors marketing over your head to your customers.”
The second scenario is MSPs who are already providing their own backup services using their own infrastructure.
“If the storage hardware is getting aged, and needs to be refreshed, this is another option for the MSP to align cashflow,” Farujan said.
The Asigra OPEX Backup Appliance is available immediately now. It will be demoed at the VMworld event next month at Asigra’s booth #461 and Zadara’s booth #351.