IT professionals overseeing backup operations all have one common goal: ensure that data is protected and restorable in the event of a disaster or cyberattack. However, MSPs including backup management and monitoring as part of a broader back up as a service (BaaS) offering face an additional challenge: doing this while also hitting profit targets.
How are MSP professionals juggling all of this while also keeping an eye on trends about to impact their category? We set out to find out.
We commissioned a survey of 100 MSP professionals responsible for managing or influencing BaaS operations to understand the biggest challenges impacting them today as well as the issues they anticipate influencing them in the future.
Our findings show a category at a unique crossroads. While age-old backup monitoring challenges continue driving daily concerns, new trends are about to hit the category and affect backup operations for years to come.
- MSP BaaS professionals struggle to protect all assets amid growing data volumes. Nearly half of all BaaS professionals cite complete asset protection and protecting growing data volumes as top challenges impacting them today.
- BaaS operators continue managing backup activities manually…but aim to change that soon. Almost two-thirds of MSP backup professionals report no automation across their recurring backup activities. However, about half anticipate some automation implementations over the next two years.
- Automation priorities center around backup failure remediation. MSP backup professionals cite backup failure remediation and backup failure ticket creation as key areas they intend to automate in the next 1-2 years.
- A tension exists in the BaaS category between wanting to consolidate backup applications in use versus finding efficient ways to manage growing fragmentation. 45% of MSP backup professionals anticipate initiatives to decrease backup software applications yet 41% anticipate initiatives geared toward managing a growing number of applications.
- MSPs will begin closely syncing backup monitoring with cybersecurity. 48% of MSPs anticipate incorporating backup monitoring within their cybersecurity offerings. This makes it the number one trend they expect will impact their category within the next five years.
- Greater resource allocation is going to backup operations. More than 50% of MSP backup professionals report that their teams’ headcount and budget are up versus three years ago.
In a world with ever-growing backup data, keeping that data protected is hard. As a result, it’s no surprise that MSP BaaS team members select ensuring that assets are backed up (51%) and protecting growing data volume (48%) as some of the top challenges they face today.
Interestingly, MSP backup professionals also cite backup storage usage visibility as a core challenge (48%), an issue that was not as prevalent when we surveyed backup admins in general. Perhaps unsurprisingly, mitigating storage usage is a bigger concern for backup admins working in these more profit-centric IT environments.
That said, BaaS professionals are nearly tied when it comes to picking the top challenge they face in their daily operations. 17% cite protecting growing data volume as their top issue while 16% cite securing backup data across applications. This likely shows a complementary story. MSP customers’ volume is growing, but so is backup product heterogeneity. This leaves MSP backup admins to manage both growing data volume and growing backup application types.
Many of these challenges are likely compounded by the very limited use of automation within MSP BaaS operations.
MSP backup professionals were asked about the state of automation implementation across typical backup activities. This included everything from storage usage alerting to compliance reporting. The stark reality is that nearly two-thirds of MSP professionals report no automation across most of these activities.
Nevertheless, nearly half of all MSPs anticipate introducing some type of automation into their BaaS operations within the next one to two years. Number one on the automation to-do list is backup failure remediation (54%). Automating backup failure ticket creation (49%) is a close second. With automation in place, MSPs can resolve failure issues faster and more seamlessly achieve agreed-upon success rates, making them logical priority areas for these for profit- and customer-centric organizations.
Other anticipated transformations include cloud migrations.
Today, less than half of MSP BaaS operations take place in the cloud. However, MSP backup professionals expect 63% of their operations will move to the cloud within the next three years.
Yet, these aren’t the only changes coming to the backup category. When asked about trends they anticipate hitting BaaS operations over the next three to five years, 48% cited greater incorporation of backup monitoring within cybersecurity programs. This makes it the top future trend.
At the same time, an interesting tension arises when it comes to backup environment heterogeneity trends. 45% of MPS BaaS professionals anticipate initiatives to reduce the number of backup software solutions they manage. However, nearly the same number see trends towards better management of expanding backup applications. It’s likely that the cost of complex environment management is high, leading to desires for software consolidation. At the same time, customers regularly come with legacy backup software solutions resulting in an ongoing need to manage environment heterogeneity.
Amid these changes are also positive adjustments in BaaS budgets and headcounts. MSP backup professionals report that team headcount and budgets are up versus three years ago, a likely signal that MSPs are placing greater importance on data protection to better support existing and future customers.
MSP BaaS operations continue to be dynamic. Environment heterogeneity and securing all critical assets are still areas of high concern. But this is all compounded by the introduction of cloud transformations, automation initiatives, and cybersecurity within backup operations.
In essence, building a well-running, profitable BaaS operation is not getting easier. Instead, it’s becoming more complex.
MSPs seeking to build and scale their BaaS offerings will need solutions that centralize backup management oversight and drive efficiencies throughout recurring workflows. Without this, BaaS operations will poorly protect data and will fail to meet key SLA requirements.
Bocada commissioned a global, survey-based research study of 100 global IT professionals. Data collection and data analysis was completed by PlanBeyond, an independent market research company.
All respondents were responsible for managing and/or influencing backup operations within their organization and self-described as working for MSPs or managed service providers. Respondents were recruited via a mix of channels including direct social media outreach and existing contact databases. Respondents’ professional background was vetted through LinkedIn profiles to verify their professional background. Responses were collected in June 2022 via a series of single-select and multi-select closed end questions. Where appropriate, answer choices were randomized to avoid order bias.
Bocada delivers backup reporting and monitoring automation solutions for complete visibility into backup performance. The Bocada platform simplifies complex backup and storage oversight, allowing IT organizations to save time, reduce overhead costs, and decrease data protection risks. With the largest installed customer base in the Fortune 500, Bocada is the world’s leading provider of backup reporting automation.
More information is available at www.bocada.com