Applied Connective Technologies
Backup Appliance Provides Basis for Fixed-Fee Managed Services
Applied Connective Technologies (ACT) was established in 2004 as a commercial phone systems provider, but it quickly expanded into IT and networking and then again into physical security. Today the company has four offices throughout the state of Nebraska, and it prides itself on providing local service for everything from cable installations to the business continuity services that are available through Barracuda MSP.
ACT’s transition to selling managed services occurred within the past three years, shortly after Ed Knott took over as the sole owner of the company and was able to execute on his vision. “We had a long history of providing break-fix services, which meant we had to prove to our customers that paying us every month was a better value for them,” says Knott. “We started off trying to sell services using a per-device model, but that was difficult to manage. We then moved to a per-person model, which was a little better. We found the most success after we came up with a fixed-fee, value-based managed services offering. This year, monthly recurring revenue makes up 30 percent of our overall revenue, and we’re projecting that number to reach 45 percent next year.”
Hardware, Software, Services, and Support for One Fixed Fee
ACT’s managed service offering covers a much wider scope than most MSPs. In addition to the foundational components such as remote monitoring and management, antivirus, and backup and disaster recovery, ACT includes hardware, telephone systems, and video surveillance solutions in the mix as well. “Customers see a lot of value in having predictable monthly costs and one company to call if something goes wrong,” says Knott.
Committing to an “all you can eat” service requires working with reliable technology vendors. One company that’s been a key part of ACT’s managed services transition is Barracuda MSP. “We use Barracuda Backup – MSP appliances for local data replication and Barracuda Intronis Backup – MSP for secure cloud backups,” says Knott. “We pay a fixed fee for Barracuda MSP cloud storage, which aligns nicely with our fixed-fee offering. Plus, I don’t need to spend a lot of time managing the technology to make sure it’s working. It manages itself and alerts us if something goes wrong. I know I can count on Barracuda MSP in an emergency, which I’ve had to do on a few occasions.”
Ransomware Creates an Easy Sell
Knott recalls one incident last year where a customer got hit with Cryptoware,which locked up all its files. “We had them back up and running in less than an hour,” he says. “What a difference that experience was compared to a breakfix client that had its own backup system and got hit with a similar ransomware virus. The client learned the hard way that its backups hadn’t been working for the previous three months, and it ended up having to pay a $1,000+ ransom to get its data back.” Paying the ransom wasn’t the worst part, Knott adds. “The client’s data was tied up for nearly five days while it was figuring out how to buy Bitcoin currency to pay the cybercriminals responsible for the ransomware. The cost of downtime and disruption to their business was estimated to be about $10,000, which was devastating for this small company.”
When Knott comes across prospects who think they can save a few bucks by handling their own backups, he shares these two stories, which illustrate the real difference between “cheap backup” and an affordable business continuity solution like Barracuda MSP that can be counted on whenever data recovery is the only viable option.