Partner opportunity: Midmarket email migrations to cloud

A report by Intermedia revealed slow uptake of cloud-based email in the midmarket -- and an untapped opportunity for partners; more IT channel news from the week.

There's an untapped opportunity in the midmarket for partners to do more email migrations to cloud, according to a study published by cloud company Intermedia.

Intermedia commissioned the study to learn more about application migrations to infrastructure as a service (IaaS) for users already in or considering Amazon Web Services (AWS). Researchscape International, on behalf of Intermedia, surveyed 300 U.S. IT managers in midsize organizations -- 400 to 11,999 employees -- who either deployed, or intended to deploy, AWS.

The research revealed the application most hosted in IaaS today is ERP, with 44% of organizations using ERP in the cloud. Following ERP, 40% of respondents said they hosted file sync-and-share applications on the cloud, while 38% said server backup. To Intermedia's surprise, only 32% of respondents cited email, making it the application least commonly hosted in IaaS or platform as a service.

Eric Weiss, senior vice president of marketing for IntermediaEric Weiss

"You'd think that ... email was moving faster than other applications ... but it's actually moving more slowly than we thought," said Eric Weiss, senior vice president of marketing for Intermedia, based in Mountain View, Calif.

Weiss attributed the lag in email migrations to several factors: The first is companies don't understand their deployment options for moving to the cloud. "They have the option of a multi-tenant, shared solution in the cloud, and they can do a dedicated, single-tenant solution managed in a secure cloud, such as AWS or in Intermedia's data center," he said.

Additionally, of the challenges that respondents cited as an impediment or obstacle for moving email to the cloud, the No. 1 challenge was security, followed by data migration, compliance and "needing greater control than the cloud typically offers."

"People have not understood that these different deployment models provide them the security capabilities that they want," Weiss said. "One of the benefits of having a dedicated implementation of email -- for example, what [Intermedia is] doing with AWS -- is that they can make their own security configurations, integrations with proprietary applications and [so forth]."

Another factor that might explain why customers have been slow in the move to cloud: They haven't realized they have expert partners available to them. At the same time that 59% of IT managers said they were confident with their organization's ability to manage their own Exchange email environments on AWS, 90% of them indicated they would be interested in moving their email service to a dedicated, single-tenant cloud that an expert third party manages.

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This presents an untapped opportunity for partners to do email migrations to cloud for midmarket organizations, Weiss said. "I think that's one real eye-opener from the report: how much these midmarket and large enterprise customers want a partner to help them. Usually, midmarket-and-up IT companies have their own IT staff, and don't use managed services providers [MSPs] and VARs as much," he said. "The single-tenant approach is a great stepping stone for all those companies out there that haven't yet embraced the cloud, and channel partners can help them make that shift."

The report also found that IT managers showed a greater preference for per-user, per-month pricing models -- cited by 51% of respondents -- than they did for paying per volume of email -- cited by 28%.

In related news, AWS this week announced new migration tools, including AWS Application Discovery Service.

Autotask, AVG Business unveil MSP tools

Autotask Corp. and AVG Business have rolled out new tools for MSPs.

Autotask unveiled a "unified IT Business Management Platform" that combines professional services automation (PSA) and remote monitoring and management (RMM). Patrick Burns, vice president of product management at Autotask, based in New York, said the combined platform will provide greater efficiency. Typically, a technician viewing a service incident in a PSA product would need to consult an RMM tool to troubleshoot an issue with a particular device under management. Burns said the unified platform provides technicians what they need to remediate issues, without having to leave the PSA tool. 

"Why not bring RMM into that environment, instead of forcing them to jump back and forth?" Burns noted.

AVG Business, meanwhile, launched AVG Managed Workplace 10, a service delivery platform. Three MSP service models -- reactive, proactive and fixed-fee -- are integrated into the platform and its RMM capabilities, according to the company.

Ryan Vallee, product management lead at AVG Business, based in San Francisco, said research indicates MSPs are looking to expand their services portfolios, adding that AVG Managed Workplace 10 simplifies the task of delivering new services. Vallee said some RMM offerings require MSPs to go through a 30-plus item checklist before they can provide a new service.

IT channel news roundup for the week of April 18

Here's a look at highlights from the week:

  • SolarWinds N-able, an RMM and service automation software company, released the latest version of its N-central product. N-central 10.2 integrates with a remote support and access feature, called MSP Connect, and features cross-platform support for PC and Mac environments.
  • The MSPAlliance said it will issue SSAE 16 SOC2 audit reports for cloud and managed services companies. Based on the controls from the Unified Certification Standard, the audit reports are a part of MSPAlliance's MSP/Cloud Verify program, which also offers SSAE 16 SOC1 audit reports.
  • Security vendor Barracuda Networks launched its Intronis MSP Solutions in the U.K. The Intronis MSP Solutions include backup and data protection products, as well as the vendor's Intronis MSP Edition of Barracuda Backup.

The Market Share is a weekly news roundup published on SearchITChannel every Friday.

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