Articles
Feb 13, 2024
8 min read

Introducing Alcion for Partners: To MSPs with Love

Introducing Alcion for Partners: To MSPs with Love

We are excited to announce the launch of Alcion for Partners — a program that empowers Managed Service Providers (MSPs) to supercharge their Microsoft 365 ecosystem offerings with modern AI-driven data protection that extends well beyond traditional backup and brings additional focus on security.

What is Alcion?

If you’re new to Alcion, we are the company behind the easiest-to-use security-first backup service for Microsoft 365. We heavily utilize AI to help Microsoft 365 administrators quickly detect and eliminate cyber threats, while reducing their operational burden. Our multi-layered approach to security combats ransomware and malware using threat detection, intelligent backup scheduling, encryption, and backup delete protection is resonating deeply within the industry. We promise you will be impressed!

Why Alcion for Partners?

Since the early days after Alcion’s launch, our team has received significant interest from the MSP community. Alcion initially did not offer functionality specifically tailored to the needs of MSPs. However, forward-thinking MSP business owners seized the opportunity to differentiate their services through a strong security-focused offering, even if it meant utilizing tools initially better suited for managing single tenants.

At Alcion, customer needs and feedback heavily influence our product development process, and we prioritize addressing friction and inefficiencies. In this spirit, we partnered with a few visionary MSPs and over the last few months developed both the business processes and enhanced software behind Alcion for Partners.  

What is Alcion for Partners?

Alcion for Partners is a comprehensive offering that encompasses two primary areas:

  1. Business model: Specifically tailored engagement process and terms to fit the needs of the MSP market and enhance our partners ability to grow their business.
  1. Alcion partner portal: Intuitive unified experience to monitor operations, manage configuration, and track licensing across all MSP customer tenants.

You can find additional details on the capabilities below, and to get a quick overview, you can start with a quick demo.  

Partner and MSP Friendly Business Engagement

Through our engagements, we found that MSPs are some of the hardest-working and most enterprising IT professionals. It was imperative for them that our solution encompass not only the Alcion service but also the appropriate engagement model. We settled on offering terms that allow MSPs to focus on building out their customer base as opposed to being constrained by their relationship with Alcion. The following practices move us closer to this goal.

Self-Service Procurement

When an MSP is onboarding a new customer or provisioning additional users for an existing customer, the last thing they need is to go back and forth with a vendor to procure the additional license they need. We heard stories about how licensing delays result in very real lost revenue opportunities.

This requirement came through clearly in every MSP conversation, and we have made sure that our partners can self-service everything related to Alcion, especially when it comes to licensing and billing.  

Zero Commitment Monthly Billing

During challenging economic conditions, MSPs may experience customer churn even when they provide an excellent level of customer service. This creates significant financial risk for MSPs, especially when other vendors (e.g. Microsoft) are pushing for annual or even multi-year commitments to secure favorable pricing.  

Alcion is committed to helping our partners and is offering monthly billing with no commitment required. This aligns with the typical cashflow model for MSPs and isolates them from risk related to customer churn. We are confident in the quality of our offering and realize that our partners, if satisfied with our offering, will rarely choose to reduce their Alcion exposure, unless this is driven by MSP end customer churn or severe spend reduction.

Dedicated Partner Support

A significant number of MSPs who reach out to Alcion do so because they are deeply unsatisfied with the level of support they receive from their existing Microsoft 365 backup providers, especially those who have gone through M&A or similar restructuring over the last few years. We heard multiple stories from MSP operators that are struggling to fulfil customer requests because of reliability issues with their backups. The customer becomes impatient, yet all attempts to reach support for the backup vendor go into a void and are unacknowledged for more than a week. Even when acknowledged, the quality of the response leaves a lot to be desired.

In contrast, Alcion support, on the rare occasions when it is needed, is there not only for direct customers but also for MSPs. Because of the quality of our product, the Alcion operations team scales its ability to support our partners well. We also have a community Discord for direct access to our product, support, and product engineering teams!

MSP Admins Love the Alcion Partner Portal

As mentioned earlier, the early Alcion partners valued our service so much that they were willing to sacrifice efficiency and manage their customers one at a time. With today’s launch, this is no longer necessary, and we extend the ease of use that Alcion is known for to our MSP customers though the Alcion Partner Portal. Developed in collaboration with select design partners, the portal offers the following capabilities.

Alcion for Partners | Managed Tenants

Multi-Tenant Management  

Our goal with the Alcion partner portal is to provide MSP admins with a single dashboard where they can get actionable operational insights on the state of Microsoft 365 data protection for all accounts they manage. Key indicators such as protected resource counts and overall data protection compliance are available alongside alerts for failed operations or malware and ransomware related security incidents.  

Additionally, admins can drill into details of recent backups for all resource types without leaving the partner portal.  

Delegated Administration

While the Alcion partner portal provides a great way to monitor at scale, MSP admins still occasionally need to perform changes to specific tenants. Alcion dramatically improves the efficiency of this process through delegated administration – an MSP admin, with the proper permissions, can easily switch the UI between the multi-tenant context of the portal and the specific context of a customer tenant without the need to re-authenticate with different credentials.  

This boosts the productivity of MSP admins in Alcion dramatically, and it is not surprising that our design partners heavily advocated for this capability.  

Self-Service Customer Tenant Onboarding

The Alcion partner portal makes it extremely easy for an MSP to add a new customer account. Onboarding a standalone Alcion tenant takes less than 5 minutes from login to first backup, and an MSP admin can enroll a new customer Alcion tenant even faster. All they need to do is initiate the process of adding a new tenant and then login with tenant specific credentials to demonstrate that they have control of the tenant in Alcion and confirm the request to be managed through the MSP portal.

The process takes just a couple of minutes, and there is no involvement needed from Alcion’s sales, support, or operations teams.

Consolidated Billing

Finally, the Alcion partner portal helps deliver on the promise of simple MSP-friendly billing. There is no need for explicit license procurement. Instead, MSP admins operate Alcion as they see fit for each of their customers, and licenses are provisioned on demand for each protected user. To make things even simpler, billing is aggregated into a single consolidated invoice that covers protected users across all tenants managed by the MSP while still allowing to see per-tenant breakdown for analytical and accounting purposes.  

Partners get simple pay-as-you-go (PAYG) monthly billing without the need for long term commitment to unlock preferred pricing.  

This is Just the Beginning

We, at Alcion, are dedicated to supporting the growth and success of our partners. As we continue collaborating with our MSP customers, we look forward to helping even more partners modernize their Microsoft 365 data protection, and further differentiate their offering.  

You can sign up as a partner at https://partner.alcion.ai/. There are no partner fees or upfront commitments! If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to our partner team at partners@alcion.ai or join our Discord.

Georgi Matev
Author
Georgi Matev
Head of Product

Georgi Matev is the Head of Product at Alcion. Georgi has spent his entire career in Product Management for enterprise B2B and B2B2C companies in a number of verticals including storage and data protection, AI infrastructure, healthcare, and travel tech. Most recently, he held product leadership positions at Domino Data Lab and Kasten. Georgi holds an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business and a BA from Harvard University.