One of the greatest obstacles to moving customer data to the cloud is customer concerns about being able to see and control their data assets. This concern is unfounded – data in the cloud is as accessible for customers as if it were kept anywhere else, but customers can sometimes be reluctant to make a move. It’s essential for us to reassure our customers that their data will be safe, accessible and under control. Below is an example demonstrating how we worked with an enterprise backup and recovery business to move its customers successfully to the cloud.

The nature of the problem  

Cristie Nordic AB is a large European IT provider that specialises in business continuity planning and providing solutions for disaster recovery. In 2014, it saw an opportunity to expand its enterprise backup and recovery business to the mid-market through cloud-based managed services.

However, Cristie Nordic faced the challenge of convincing its customers to migrate data from on-premise backup and recovery systems to the cloud.  In this case, customers were concerned not with the change of control of the data assets, but with the perceived lack of visibility into the data. They also expressed concern about whether backed up data that went into the cloud was complete.  Additionally, they were concerned as to whether they could gauge their data growth, or accurately predict what their hosting charges would be in the next quarter.

To streamline operations, Cristie Nordic determined it needed one backup and recovery software licence from which to bill multiple customers, track their usage separately, and ensure compliance with their licence agreement. It wanted to be able to forecast licence cost growth, to remain profitable while providing customers with the best possible solution at a fair price.

 The right tools for the job

Cristie Nordic selected Rocket Servergraph Professional for its backup monitoring and reporting services. Servergraph provides a single view of the entire backup environment and is recognised for its ease of use. Key factors in the company’s decision included the software’s ability to support a broad range of industry-leading storage and backup systems. Moreover, it enabled proactive monitoring and reporting, as well as the chargeback capability the service provider was looking for to effectively run and deliver its cloud-based offerings.

The process was a success, and large swathes of backed up data were moved to the cloud with the approval of customers. Magnus Thunberg, data protection specialist for Cristie Nordic, who was closely involved with the Servergraph implementation, gave a comprehensive breakdown of the process:

“Previously, responding to customers’ backup status and service level requests required manually sorting through information on the backup servers and log files, then exporting data into spreadsheets and charting programs to create reports. By adding Servergraph to monitor, alert, and manage the backup operations, not only could we cost-effectively manage the backup processes, we could also provide comprehensive reporting without struggling to manipulate the data. We’re now able to implement a standard report for every customer with the information they need to assure them that everything is optimal. The most important thing for us to provide is confidence to the customer that the service is delivering on contracted levels, and we couldn’t get that capability from any of the competitive solutions. While confidence is not something that is directly measurable, backup success rate is, and with …, not only can we maintain a very high success rate, we can also easily prove it to the customers.

The new cloud backup and recovery solution also helped customers reduce the risk of managing software licenses as their implementations scaled up or down. Cristie Nordic used the chargeback and automated billing capability to monitor capacity utilisation and growth by the customer. With these planning tools, the firm could monitor customers’ licensed capacity and project when they would need to upgrade. The chargeback feature also delivered billing insight within individual customers’ cloud-based backup operations. Chargeback provides, even more, confidence for a customer to sign a contract. Customers don’t get frustrated with the expense when we can proactively sit down and help them manage their business. They can see the value.

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Servergraph has enabled us to expand our MSP business quite rapidly. We have grown backup data under management from 100 TB to 3 PB within two years in a region of the world that on average has smaller companies with fewer data. Severgraph allows our product experts to remotely view the implementations and see what is happening with customers. If a problem occurs, we can help them immediately and deliver the highest quality solution.”

The experience Cristie Nordic has had with transferring its clients backed up data demonstrates providers that the challenge of shifting this data is not insurmountable, even when faced with concerned customers. However, it does rely on these providers making clear to their clients the advantages of the move, using the right software to implement the move, and above all be willing to lead their customers in the right direction.