As employees bring their own cloud applications to work, some employers are blocking access to various public cloud services. Instead of getting caught in this war, here's how MSPs can negotiate a profitable truce between businesses and their employees.
First there was BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). Then along came BYOA (Bring Your Own App). Now, many companies are trying to block employees from using public cloud applications -- including file syncing and sharing services. But such mandates can often create a feud between business owners (who want control) and employees (who want fast, nimble, consumer-oriented cloud applications). How can MSPs arbitrate a settlement in this war?
I'm writing this blog from first-hand experience. Our employer recently sent employees a memo, describing why employees are no longer permitted to use public cloud services -- including file sharing services. The employer offered up a rudimentary in-house file sharing system. But it isn't user friendly and feels like a classic client-server system built in the 1990s...
The result: I suspect quite a few employees ignored the memo, and continue to use public file sharing services without corporate IT's approval.
The MSP Opportunity
As an MSP, you've got a unique opportunity here. I recommend the following basic moves:
- Visit your customers and ask them what public cloud services their employees use.
- Chances are, your customers will share a quick list of apps and vastly underestimate the true reality...
- Ask to set up a quick employee survey. Use a system like SurveyMonkey to ask your customer's employees (anonymously) which public cloud services they use.
- Gather the data then report back to the customer's management team.
Use Data to Win Business
Your findings should list each of the major cloud applications or services in use, their potential benefits, and the potential risks to the organizations.
- Do the cloud applications adhere to key corporate compliance and privacy requirements?
- If not, are there ways to adjust the public cloud services to meet the compliance requirements?
- If not, are their channel-friendly alternatives that (A) fulfill management mandates, (B) deliver a great end-user experience and (C) generate recurring revenues for you?
Two years ago, many MSPs feared the cloud. Today, I suspect many MSPs are using customers' cloud missteps to win back business. Go visit your customers and I suspect you'll discover more opportunity awaiting you. Poke around, and you'll also find channel-friendly file syncing and sharing services.