Trois-Rivieres-based IT Cloud Solutions, which distributes continuity and productivity solutions to a client base of largely smaller Canadian MSPs, has made a pair of announcements which leverage their partnership with data protection vendor StorageCraft. They will soon be launching their ‘Replica’ backup and data recovery [BDR] service, which offers an appliance that utilizes the StorageCraft stack. They have also just launched StorageCraft Cloud Backup for Microsoft Office 365 for small businesses.
“We will be the first MSP distributor in North America to build an appliance with the full StorageCraft stack specifically for MSPs as-a-service,” said David LaTulippe, IT Cloud Solutions’ VP of Sales and Business Development. The Replica appliance and service is scheduled to launch in a month.
“We are a true value-added cloud distributor, that been an IT department in the Canadian cloud for our MSP partners since 2005,” LaTulippe said. “We don’t sell to end users ourselves, but through over 600 MSPs, with more than 20,000 users of our cloud solutions. We have onboarded more than 250 of these in the last year.”
While not all of their MSPs are small, the small MSPs are the large majority, and are the focus of IT Cloud Solutions’ service.
“95 per cent of our partners are small IT companies with less than 20 employees – like 95 per cent of all organizations in Canada,” LaTulippe said. “That’s why we are focused on small companies.” Not surprisingly, given that the company is based in Quebec, Quebec has the largest concentration of partners, with about 200. IT Cloud Solutions does have a national presence, however.
“We have 75 MSPs in Ontario, and at least 10 in every province, although we are stronger in the eastern half of Canada than the west at present,” LaTulippe said. “While we have not spent money on marketing in the past, this year we will invest nearly a million dollars outside eastern Canada, to build up our brand recognition.”
LaTulippe said that IT Cloud Solutions differentiates itself by providing a high level of support to its partners, support that is not commonly offered to smaller MSPs.
“We offer Five Star free support to our partners, and have many, many testimonials about our support available,” he stated. “We offer supervised solutions, where after the partners do the install for the customer, we do all the monitoring, provide all the support, and bill on their behalf. We also provide additional assistance, like helping MSPs prepare a quote for Skype for Business. We provide this same level support for all our partners, even if they are small two-person companies, and even if a customer of theirs has only two seats. We are very close to the small customer and the smaller partner.”
IT Cloud Solutions presently has a Business Continuity Department and a Business Productivity department. StorageCraft provides the continuity element.
“We had another cloud backup solution before, but it was a file and folder system, and not a complete system,” LaTulippe said. “We approached StorageCraft two years ago because we wanted strong technology that also provided image backup solution, and StorageCraft was one of the best. Replica will provide full image backup as well as file and folder backup.”
IT Cloud Solutions uses BitDefender, a well-regarded Romanian-based security software vendor, for their anti-virus solution.
“We are the only cloud distributor of BitDefender in Canada,” LaTulippe said.
IT Cloud Solutions is also a Microsoft reseller, and became an official Microsoft distributor last September.
“The fact that we are an official Microsoft distributor is being officially announced next week,” LaTulippe said.
Two models of the Replica appliance will become available next month. One is an all-flash NAS unit with 1TB to 4TB of storage capacity, and is designed for the smaller MSPs. For those with somewhat larger needs, IT Cloud Solutions is also offering a 1U rackmount device with 1TB to 12TB of storage capacity.
“Replica is not just a DR plan – it’s a 100 per cent supervised DR plan and service,” LaTulippe emphasized. It also ties fully into the StorageCraft API sets.
“IT Cloud Solutions had been working with us before as a reseller partner, but this appliance significantly increases the depth of the partnership,” said Lee Bender, Senior Business Development Manager, StorageCraft. “They decided to take our whole stack and build an appliance solution around it. We have had this type of model in the U.S. for a long time, even going back to the days before cloud services. Partners have also done this for their own clouds, which we have always encouraged. IT Cloud Solutions is the first to do it as a Master MSP, for their network of MSPs and resell partners.”
While Replica is the headline item because of the ‘firsts’ involved, LaTulippe also emphasized that the StorageCraft Cloud Backup for Microsoft Office 365 for small businesses is a significant new offering.
“The Office 365 Backup is a big deal,” he said. “Partners have been installing it since yesterday, and are subscribing their customers. It offers great value at $CDN 3.95 per user per month, with unlimited storage and unlimited retention.”