Enterprise storage and data management solutions have typically been beyond the reach of smaller organisations. But now a cloud-based service that lets customers of all sizes reap the benefits of a managed solution is widely available from Data Management Professionals South Africa (DMP SA).
Iniel Dreyer, MD of DMP SA, explains that the company’s fully-managed backup as a service (BaaS) offering, CloudProtect, has been launched on the First Distribution Webstore. This means that business partners are able to offer it to their own customers in a secure multi-tenanted environment.
The offering is a white-labelled solution based on the market-leading Commvault technology, providing a wealth of end-to-end data protection features from endpoint devices to the datacentre.
CloudProtect offers customers encryption, built in ransomware protection for automated cloud backup and recovery solutions together with full protection for physical, virtual, and cloud resources.
“We protect your customers’ data wherever it lives, covering all operating systems and catering to any size business,” Dreyer says.
Importantly, there are no technical resources required. CloudProtect does all configuration, deployment, reporting, testing, and locally based secure cloud storage on behalf of business partners, with all-inclusive packages engineered for the most popular use cases.
The service is ready to go out of the box, explains Head of Sales Nick Wonfor, and it’s backed up 24/7 by DMP SA’s local support team.
Local companies will find it attractive because pricing is in rands, and it’s an operating expenditure (opex) model, billed according to actual usage, with no upfront investment. Technical services are included in the pricing, offering maximum value for partners and customers.
With the service hosted in the Teraco datacentre, data never leaves the country, adding another favourable feature.
Customer pain points
South African companies are under pressure to ensure their systems conform to the Protection of Personal Information Act (PoPIA), which takes effect on 1 July 2021.
“The typical customer is already battling to do regular backups – and now they have to ensure compliance with PoPIA,” Wonfor says. “Backup as we knew it has changed dramatically – now, companies have to do so much more, which costs them money and resources.”
“Our model gives customers protection against a variety of threats, and we can assist in analysing data from a PoPIA perspective, ensuring that it is protected and managed.”
Customers are looking to more predictable costs, so they are moving away from a capital expenditure (capex) model to an opex model, he adds. “As CloudProtect is a flexible solution, they only pay monthly for what they use.”
The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the move towards the cloud, Dreyer points out. “Two of the biggest drivers were a move away from tape to long-term retention in the cloud; and disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS), moving away from unused cold datacentres in a bid to drive costs down.”
But moving to the cloud has highlighted the gaps customers have in their existing data management strategies, he adds. “In the absence of analytical tools, they don’t know what data or production systems they are even able to move into the cloud.”
“Part of what we do is assisting customers in analysing their data and helping them to make informed decisions on what they can move to the cloud and what they need to keep on-premise.”
“Being a flexible model, we can put together a solution that manages all of their data, regardless of where it resides.”
Use cases for CloudProtect
Managed data protection ensures that customers are protected against all data loss scenarios, including accidental deletion, hardware failure, outages and malicious threats. All data is protected, recoverable, accessible, and secured to ensure business continuity and peace of mind.
CloudProtect addresses the most common use cases for backup today:
- Microsoft 365 – Contrary to popular belief, Microsoft’s standard protection is very limite Native Microsoft 365 data protection does not allow for granular data restore and offers no contractual service level agreements (SLAs) for Recovery Point (RPO) and Recovery Time (RTO), placing businesses at risk of massive data loss. If users accidentally delete a file, suffer a ransomware attack or internal security threat, there is no guarantee of being able to restore lost data without a solid backup strategy for Microsoft 365.
- Endpoint data – As more workers depend on mobile devices, there are growing volumes of company data stored on endpoint devices – be it desktop, laptop or any other endpoint device. This data must be protected as businesses are at an increased risk of non-compliance and data loss. CloudProtect protects data, securing it in transit and at rest, ensuring the privacy and integrity of data travelling between the enterprise and the cloud, and enabling secure filesharing. Its functionality includes global device tracking and remote wiping capabilities.
- Protecting and securing virtual and physical servers – CloudProtect provides all-round data protection, for all servers.
The service is targeted at “anyone with data”, Dreyer points out. “Our customers range from very large enterprises with complex IT systems, all the way down to backing up the laptops for a two-man show.”
“CloudProtect has taken the enterprise solution from Commvault and made all of that functionality available to everyone.”
Why work with DMP SA?
CloudProtect is not only a local offering that competes favourably against global competitors, it’s backed up by a team that boasts 12 years of experience in the market.
Few data management vendors are able match DMP SA’s locally based technical team, Dreyer says. “Data management is the whole of our business, and we have a large, strong team in place to deliver data management to our clients.”
DMP SA boasts the highest levels of industry certification, and takes care of all processes, procedures and standards on behalf of partners and customers.
A further benefit is the fact that CloudProtect is billed in rands, and it’s a truly flexible service model, with no hidden or upfront costs.
Additionally, DMP SA offers a full data management service – not simply storage. “When customers look at the costs, it’s important they understand what to measure them against,” says Wonfor. “This is not just a storage solution; it’s software plus storage plus services.”
The solution offers a single pane of glass for management. “There is one interface for everything that you protect, with the same look and feel.”
“This eases management and also makes it a simple matter for resellers to add services as customers identify pain points that need to be addressed.”
The benefit for business partners
CloudProtect is available on First for Cloud, a white-labelled webstore platform available to First Distribution partners, who can offer the fully managed service to their customers either as a standalone offering on the platform, or as part of their own broader product offering.
“First Distribution allows us to tap into a wider partner ecosystem,” Dreyer says. DMP SA has made CloudProtect available in easy-to-sell packages.
The CloudProtect solution appeals to a range of resellers:
- Those with limited IT resources, no time to manage a customer backup, or no experience;
- Managed service providers who want to provide backup or enterprise-grade data protection but don’t have the time to manage complex technology and support it;
- Partners interested in providing cost-effective automated cloud-based backup to their customers, without adding overheads or investing in technical staff and infrastructure;
- Resellers who are unhappy with existing service that no longer supports their requirements;
- Partners looking to expand their services with a new offering, without driving up costs or adding to the technical team’s burden;
- Any reseller selling Microsoft 365 without data protection; or
- Those selling volume laptops without data protection.
“A major benefit to working with First Distribution is its leadership in the cloud market through partnerships with the likes of AWS and Azure,” says Dreyer. “When we looked at distributors, we realised that First Distribution is really a leader in cloud, and in the way it markets web products.”
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