We’ve been championing the value of cloud migrations for a while. But now, with more and more businesses forced to figure out remote work plans, the benefits of having a centralized and always accessible cloud platform are crystal clear. In short, there’s never been a more opportune time to move to the cloud.
Important PSA re: On-prem Microsoft Exchange Server under attack
The Microsoft Threat Intelligence Center (MSFIC) has detected multiple cyberattacks on on-premises versions of the Microsoft Exchange Server. The threat actor known as Hafnium originates from China but operates within the US. The cloud Exchange Servers are not vulnerable to this attack.
The on-premise servers affected are:
- Exchange Server 2013
- Exchange Server 2016
- Exchange Server 2019
We are advising all managed service providers (MSPs) who run on-prem Exchange Server software for their customers to ensure that they’re taking all the necessary corrective action. Security updates are available from Microsoft here.
Our recommendation is to take the servers offline, patch your Exchange environments immediately to protect you and your end clients against these attacks. Then check for indicators of compromise. For more details on this, please go here.
So if you have clients that haven’t made the jump to the cloud, now is the time to discuss it with them. Whether you’re planning to resell private cloud services or Microsoft services, there’s certainly something out there to fit your clients’ needs.
Even before our world was turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic, businesses that made the switch to the cloud regularly saw increased productivity, lower overhead and simpler administration. This is true regardless of business size. Global market research firm IDC has reported 70% of companies with 10-99 employees are using cloud services, in addition to more than 90% of companies with 100-499 employees.
With various iterations of lockdown or stay-at-home orders currently in place, working in the cloud is the only way to do business in some cases. Businesses that have been allowed to keep their physical doors open have similar concerns top of mind: making sure they’re ready in case they have to go through something like this again.
On top of all that, the cloud is also shown to have security benefits as well. Although cyberattacks are becoming more commonplace and technology providers are ramping up skills to defend against them, vulnerabilities in on-premises systems can take their toll.
The benefits of cloud are clear
Cloud services help clients perform better in a variety of ways while simultaneously delivering the agility required to face a business landscape filled with an unprecedented level of uncertainty. Organizational benefits include cost-effectiveness, improved emergency preparedness and increased mobility and collaboration.
Migrating to the cloud lets your clients do away with costly on-premise server hardware. That means no more lifecycle replacements. It also does away with all of the secondary costs that come with running on-premise hardware, facility costs, utilities, software licenses and staffing. Clients can scale their cloud resources up and down as needs change.
Better emergency preparedness
Cloud environments are off-site and redundant by design. Moving your clients’ data and applications to the cloud makes it much easier for them to recover from disasters or outages affecting local offices.
Every business is looking for more options to support mobile and remote work. Your clients’ cloud services are always available no matter what their schedules are or where they’re located.
Workers in the office and spread around the world can easily collaborate when everything they need is available in the cloud. Engineers at headquarters can join a presentation with sales staff in the field in real time. Distributed teams on the same project can work together in real time, or asynchronous when in different time zones.
This all sounds great. But while the benefits may be obvious to IT professionals and MSPs, how do you convince clients that are still skeptical?
Turn small-scale adoption into full cloud migrations
Supporting data is just starting to trickle in, but evidence already shows there was a significantly increase in cloud adoption over the course of COVID-19 lockdowns. Many businesses didn’t opt for full cloud migrations, however, they simply added new services here and there to support new remote workers.
This isn’t bad news, in fact it’s quite good for MSPs and VARs. Those clients have now sampled what cloud services can do for them. Connect with those clients! Listen to their concerns and find out what they like about their new cloud platforms. Then use that forward momentum to help them see all the benefits of a more complete migration.
Tools available to help move your clients to the cloud
There’s something out there for any client looking to get started with moving to the cloud. As a value-added cloud solutions provider, Sherweb’s broad portfolio of cloud products and services not only provides tools for clients to be successful, but also offers additional support and expertise required to help MSPs and other resellers grow their business.
Windows Virtual Desktop (WVD)
WVD is the latest virtual desktop service from Microsoft. It’s designed to be an Azure-native alternative to Remote Desktop Services (RDS), but supports accessing RDS environments when you needed. WVD was designed to provide multi-session access to Windows 10 desktops and access to Microsoft 365 apps from anywhere your end users have a web browser. It boasts a strong set of built-in security and compliance tools, it’s easy to deploy for new clients and it’s also easy to scale up established ones because of Nerdio.
Nerdio is an official Microsoft co-sell partner. Nerdio for Azure is a powerful provisioning tool you can use to automatically roll out IaaS platforms, WVD desktop farms and even comprehensive ITaaS suites on Azure in as little as two hours. Don’t think that Nerdio is just a glorified setup wizard for Azure, though! Everything you need to manage powerful, secure environments is available from Nerdio’s unified management dashboard. It includes optimization tools that help standardize and automatically scale Azure environments as performance needs go up or down. The kicker: easier management for less work means larger MSP margins.
Azure is Microsoft’s premier cloud computing service. Whether your clients need a cost-effective way to test new applications, manage day-to-day apps or services like WVD or deploy new services for their own customers, Azure can scale to accommodate their needs. It’s flexible enough to provide Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), Platforms-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS). It supports a variety of different programming languages and frameworks, both Microsoft and many popular third-party offerings. You can use it as your clients’ primary cloud computing platform or as an extra resource to handle unexpected bursts of traffic or transaction volume.
Encouraging Microsoft 365 adoption is one of the easiest cloud migrations you can suggest because so many of the included services are ones that your end users are probably already familiar with. Microsoft 365 brings Microsoft Office apps your users know together with enterprise-grade email services, lots of cloud storage and a whole suite of business and IT tools that make administration easy. It’s an excellent business collaboration platform that’s still both secure and easy to use. Microsoft 365 Business Premium, for example, is the closest thing to an all-in-one license that enables secure remote workers and has become an easy hero offer. If you’re looking for a way to get your foot in the door with new clients then Microsoft 365 is a great entry cloud service to offer.
UCaaS includes tools for messaging, telephony and team collaboration, made available together on a single platform. It helps your clients’ staff and customers stay connected no matter where they are. If your client is looking to go remote long term, shifting to a UCaaS solution will allow them downsize older, expensive on-premise telecom infrastructure.
The right cloud partner is your best asset
These are just some of the services you can offer as a cloud service provider. But regardless if you’re looking to resell Microsoft services or private cloud services, the most important thing is to find a cloud service partner that you trust.
Sherweb can help with everything from marketing campaigns and pre-sales conversations to ongoing 24/7 tech support for every cloud service we offer. We even have engineers available to handle end-to-end cloud migrations on your behalf, while you still get to own the customer relationship.
The time for moving your clients to the cloud is now. Check out our Partner Guide for more ways Sherweb can help you on your journey delivering effective cloud services for your customers.