Data Center Intelligence Group LLC (DCIG) announces the availability of its first report focusing on Top 5 solutions for MSPs.
The 2023-24 DCIG Top 5 Microsoft 365 SaaS Backup Solutions for MSPs report provides MSPs guidance on the best backup solutions for them to use to backup and restore their customers’ data hosted in Microsoft 365.
The Overlooked 99.9% of All US Businesses
MSPs constantly remain on the lookout for market verticals that may need their products or services. They may even serve market niches with relatively low profiles if they can do so profitably. Yet the fact is most technology providers have had to, by necessity, largely ignore 99.9 percent of all US businesses.
While perhaps shocking, technology providers bypass small businesses, the majority of US businesses, for one simple reason. These 33 million+ small businesses consist of less than 500 employees each according to the US Small Business Administration (SBA). Their small size presents a tactical challenge for technology providers. They struggle to cost-effectively market to and deliver products and services that meet small business needs.
Cloud-based SaaS offerings have changed this paradigm. Available as subscription-based, on-demand services, any small business may access enterprise-caliber technologies at an affordable price. This has led to the availability of thousands of SaaS offerings from which small businesses may choose.
From all these available SaaS applications, over 11 million small businesses have already selected Microsoft 365. All small businesses, regardless of their vertical, store data, share files, send emails, and do video conferences. Microsoft 365 meets these needs with enter-prise software and features at a price that small businesses can afford
Taking Responsibility for Data Stored in Microsoft 365
However, as small businesses rapidly adopt Microsoft 365, many may fail to recognize it creates new challenges for them. They still own and must manage the data and user identity information they create and store in Microsoft 365. This responsibility extends to backing up this data, restoring it, and managing the resulting backups.
Microsoft may use terms such as data availability and protection when discussing Microsoft 365’s features. However, businesses should view these references primarily in the context of HA and data security. For instance, Microsoft hosts Microsoft 365 in its highly available Azure data centers. It physically secures these data centers and employs antivirus and fire wall software to protect data stored there from attacks.
Microsoft 365 even offers some limited data protection capabilities. Its Deleted Items and Recycle Bin utilities retain recently deleted data and permit restores of the deleted emails and files.
However, these 2 utilities do not holistically protect data stored in Microsoft 365. Businesses regardless of their size must assume these responsibilities.
In response to these challenges, the following 3 major trends have emerged:
1. Cloud-based, Microsoft 365 SaaS backup solutions now exist. These solutions provide backup and recovery specifically for the SaaS-based version of Microsoft 365.
2. MSPs deliver the Microsoft 365 SaaS backup solutions and provide the technical expertise businesses often seek. These MSPs provide the marketing outreach that the Microsoft 365 SaaS backup solution providers need. They often also provide technical advice and initial and ongoing technical support that businesses need.
3. Microsoft 365 SaaS backup solutions specifically tailored for MSPs have emerged. In addition to providing comprehensive backup services for Microsoft 365, these solutions include features that meet the specific needs of MSPs. MSPs have two primary needs.
First, to effectively manage the solution for all their clients, they need the solution to possess multi-tenancy functionality.
Second, many MSPs also use remote monitoring and management (RMM) or professional services automation (PSA) tools. They use these tools to manage the software they offer to their clients. The Microsoft 365 SaaS backup solution will ideally integrate with these RMM and PSA tools. MSPs then use these tools to centrally manage their clients’ Microsoft 365 backups and charge them for services delivered.
Top 5 Microsoft 365 Enterprise SaaS Backup Solutions
Businesses increasingly adopt SaaS applications in general, and Microsoft 365 specifically. This trend has resulted in the availability of more Microsoft 365 SaaS backup applications from which businesses may choose. In 2021 there were approximately 15 SaaS backup solutions available to protect Microsoft 365 (then Office 365). Today the number of available Microsoft 365 SaaS backup solutions has climbed to nearly 30.
In preparing this report DCIG formally evaluated 25 Microsoft 365 SaaS backup solutions based on multiple different features and capabilities. 14 of these solutions met DCIG’s criteria for a Microsoft 365 SaaS backup solution for MSPs.
The general categories under which these features fell included:
• Anti-ransomware/cyber resilience.
• Billing, configuration, and licensing.
• Pre-existing integration with existing remote monitoring and management (RMM) or professional services automation (PSA) software.
• Publicly available application programming interface (API).
• Recovery and restore.
Based on these criteria, DCIG awarded the following Microsoft 365 SaaS Backup Solutions for MSPs a Top 5 ranking:
• Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud
• Cove Data Protection for Microsoft 365, from N-able
• Datto SaaS Protection+
• Keepit Backup and Recovery for Microsoft 365
• Spanning SaaS Backup
Common Features across Microsoft 365 SaaS Backup Solutions for MSPs
In reviewing these 14 Microsoft 365 SaaS backup solutions, DCIG identified the following attributes that they all had in common:
1 Offer multi-tenancy. All the Microsoft 365 SaaS backup solutions mentioned in this report offer multi-tenancy. This feature positions MSPs to log into the software and manage backup and restores for each client independently.
2 Offer an API. MSPs may have their own management console they want to use to manage the software they offer to their clients. Each of these fourteen SaaS backup solutions offer APIs that MSPs may access and use to configure and manage their product.
3 Baseline technical support. All solution providers offer a baseline level of technical support that includes same or next business day support.
4 Per-user licensing. Every solution utilizes per-user licensing. In considering this feature, MSPs should verify what options each provider’s per-user license covers. Some include protection of data in all Microsoft 365 applications and cloud storage costs. Others charge extra to introduce protection for some Microsoft 365 applications. If using cloud object storage, that may incur new charges on the monthly bill from a cloud storage provider.
5 Universal support for protecting Microsoft 365 Exchange, OneDrive, SharePoint, and Teams applications. Each of the 14 SaaS backup solutions evaluated protects, or will shortly protect, data in these four Microsoft 365 applications. However, the options that each SaaS backup solution provides for granularly performing backups and restores in each application differ significantly.
6 Perform full and incremental backups. Every SaaS backup solution first performs a full backup and then incremental backups. After the first full backup, some only perform incremental backups forever. Others may create a new full backup on the subscription anniversary date. These then do incremental backups until the next anniversary date.
7 Offer same day technical support. Every provider recognizes the importance of providing technical support for its MSPs and offers same day technical support.