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My favourite phrase at the moment is "the gift that keeps on giving", and not because it's Christmas! I've been continually using that phrase these past few months to describe the value of cloud technology and subscription services. Not a month goes by without some great new feature or benefit or innovation being added in to the existing services - often as an inclusion to at no extra cost.
This time it's Azure Backup. If you missed the announcement a few days back, Azure Backup can now be used to backup PCs, specifically Windows 7, Windows 8 & Windows 8.1 PCs.
We've all been dealing with customers long enough to know no matter what systems you setup for them and how much you educate them, you always get those special few who continue to store their documents exclusively on their PC. Unfortunately, you often don't know about it until they call your helpdesk, tell you their laptop fell in to a lake then inform you they keep all their "important" documents on that laptop and not on OneDrive for Business or the company server, and plead with you to find some way to restore the documents (that's actually based on a true story!)
Unless your helpdesk service extends to scuba diving, there's no chance.
The Azure Backup service now supporting desktop operating systems offers a great opportunity to extend a low-cost backup service to your customers' laptops, tablets and desktops. From backing up documents to application data, it could be pitched as a worst case disaster recovery solution, completely managed by you and with no customer infrastructure required.
A low-cost solution means it's affordable and easier for a small business to justify the investment. But it's also very quick to setup and deploy and low-touch to administer from a resellers perspective, delivering a great ongoing annuity revenue stream with good margins. It's the type of solution you can easily package up in to a great offering and really gain traction selling it in to lots of customers.
For more details check out -http://azure.microsoft.com/blog/2014/12/16/azure-backup-announcing-support-for-windows-client-operating-system/.
If you want to learn more about what Azure Backup does, how you set it up and scenarios to provide it to customers, check out the Demo Army Azure Backup Tour of Duty: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/auspartners/p/demoarmy.aspx#tours