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IT Service Providers: Did Thanos Expose a Vulnerability in Your Vendor Management Strategy?

Jun 4, 2019, 09:46 AM by Alex Simons

Thanos Expose a Vulnerability in Your Vendor Management Strategy

Image: Marvel Studios

Warning: This post is loaded with “Avengers: Endgame*” spoilers. If you still have not seen the second- highest grossing movie of all time, just contact KeepItSafe® and we will review your cloud backup go-to-market strategy spoiler-free.


How did one Avenger defeat the most powerful supervillain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe?

They didn’t. That statement contradicts the Avengers’ business model. Defeating Thanos required roughly 30 superheroes.

So how can you support the backup requirements of a diverse client-base with one partnership agreement from a commodity cloud backup provider?

You can’t.

Managing vendor relationships has always been a challenge for IT service providers. How do you extract the maximum value of an outsourced technology offering without sacrificing the business requirements of the end user?

There’s no simple answer to that question. Plus, you need to strike a balance while simultaneously maintaining profit margins that support the growth strategy of your business.

But with so many different backup providers to choose from, how on earth (or Asgard) do you know that your firm is deploying the correct product strategy to support the unique needs of your business? The Russo brothers indirectly answered this question with “5 cloud backup vendor management motifs” in their $2.5 billion box office phenomenon, “Avengers: Endgame”.

Let’s take a look.

Vendor Management Takeaway Number 1: Start with the Requirements of Your Clients

There are many factors to consider when selecting a cloud backup partnership. But the decision should start by addressing the business needs of your customers.

Take a moment to think about your customer base. Are all of their IT environments the same?

Of course not.

Your customers will not fit in a “one-size-fits-all” box. Neither will their backup solution. Neither should your service offering. Ensure that your vendor strategy enables customization so you can deploy end-to-end solutions that suit the unique needs of each individual client.

How could Thanos exploit this?

With a fully equipped Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos is the most powerful being in the universe. Good luck defeating that guy with the same cookie cutter attack strategy used to defeat “The Dark Elves” in “Thor: The Dark World”.

Thanos getting ready

Image: Marvel Studios

Vendor Management Takeaway Number 2: Lower Your Barriers to Entry

MarketsandMarkets is predicting a 26.1% year-over-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) for data backup and disaster recovery expenditure through 2022 [1].

In other words, it’s a good idea to start selling now.

Developing in-house cloud backup infrastructure is equivalent to launching a startup within your existing organizational structure. It requires hardware, network configuration, talent sourcing / training, and other IT resources that can drain both your CAPEX and OPEX.

Partnering with a proven provider with secure infrastructure and in-house expertise is usually the fastest path to market. This will help you capitalize on this accelerated cloud backup and disaster recovery expenditure ASAP.

How could Thanos exploit this?

Humanity didn’t have time wait after Thanos obliterated 50% of us at the end of “Avenger: Infinity War”. But the Avengers were able to quickly regroup at the beginning of “Endgame” through their partnership with Captain Marvel, an extraterrestrial warrior who expands the Avengers’ service offering to include light speed travel, manipulation of stellar energy, and superhuman strength equal to Thanos.

cloud backup industry growth

Data: MarketsandMarkets

Vendor Management Takeaway Number 3: Balance Your Books

Your business is about the bottom line.

So shouldn’t your cloud backup and disaster recovery strategy?

The best way to calculate the ROI of your cloud backup solution is to start with the total-cost-of-ownership (TCO).

The TCO of your backup solution should be the sum of all direct and indirect costs required to develop, maintain, and support the service offering. These costs often include:

  • Software Licensing
  • Startup Costs
  • Hardware Maintenance
  • Implementation
  • Administrative Support

Many service providers try to cut costs at the top line with cheap hyperscale public cloud storage. But the savings are often negated at the bottom line due to a wide range of hidden costs including:

  • Network Egress
  • Compounding Storage Fees
  • Over-Provisioning
  • Orphaned Snapshots
  • Unused Instances

Try to distinguish between price and value. Just because a chunk of cold storage is cheap, it does not mean it is good value for you or your customers.

How could Thanos exploit this?

The Starks became billionaires by offering quality technology. Remember Tony’s dad, Howard, in the original “Captain America”?

Tony would not be able to challenge a Titan like Thanos by nickel and diming his Iron Man suit with loser-brand rocket launchers or “low-bandwidth-Jarvis”.

He understood the value of quality infrastructure.

Vendor Management Takeaway Number 4: Play to Your Strengths

According to the 2018 RightScale State of the Cloud Survey, 81% of enterprises are utilizing a multi-cloud strategy to support their IT landscape [2].

The multi-cloud model is an approach where you deploy multiple cloud technologies to optimize IT workloads based on the business outcome. This ensures that the best solution is deployed for a specific task or business process. The tailor-made approach empowers customization and can help your clients achieve many benefits including:

  • Optimized Workloads – Different clouds specialize in different workflows. A multi-cloud backup solution deployed through a custom cloud service provider (CSP) can help ensure that your business is leveraging optimized backup solutions qualified for a specific task at hand.
  • Flexible Deployments – Not all data is created equally. Different applications have different recovery requirements. For example, if your client has an ecommerce application hosted in the cloud, the performance and availability is extremely important. But many other datasets won’t need DR.
  • Avoid Vendor Lock-In – Commodity cloud providers capitalize on the difficulty to change platforms. Could you imagine downloading a client’s entire business from the internet? A custom CSP partnership model will offer a choice of different software platforms with seeding options to prevent vendor lock-in.
  • Cost Savings – A multi-cloud CSP pricing model enables your business to choose the best pricing for the appropriate business outcome. The “pay-as-you-go” pricing model ensures that your business is not stuck paying for a less-than-stellar backup service as a necessary evil to remain with one provider.

So instead of using a single cloud model for all of your backup needs, consider a multi-cloud backup strategy deployed through a custom CSP.

How could Thanos exploit this?

Did the Avengers rely on Rocket Raccoon to decapitate Thanos with a magical axe?

No. A raccoon isn’t strong enough to lift “Storm Breaker”. Thor is better equipped for that task.

Does the Hulk sneak around and steal ancient artifacts?

No. He’s 10 ft. tall, 1500 lbs., and green. That job is better suited for Ant-Man, the Wasp, or Black Widow.

Labeled “Earth’s Mightiest Heroes”, the Avengers have a full roster of superheroes with different superpowers. They don’t rely on any single Avenger to solve all of the world’s problems. They each specialize in a specific role to defeat Thanos, “a foe no single superhero can withstand”.

Avengers of backup

Image: Marvel Studios

Vendor Management Takeaway Number 5: Join a Winning Team

Cheap hyper-scale public cloud providers have turned cloud backup into a commodity. Many MSPs now offer some sort of cloud backup “solution” within a larger service portfolio.

But when you offer a commodity, how do you differentiate your service from heightened competition in a crowded marketplace?

I could give you the whole blue ocean tactics to avoid the commodity trap. But long story short – the key differentiator is the ability to specialize in a specific type of service.

So how do you specialize in cloud backup and disaster recovery when backup is just a checkbox in a broader IT service strategy?

You can partner with a custom cloud service provider with a flexible partnership opportunities that support the unique needs of your business.

How could Thanos exploit this?

He can’t!

Thanos is not capable of defeating a team of superheroes (plus an army of Wakandans) who specialize in securing Earth from supervillains. Not even immortality, telekinesis, or science beyond contemporary earth could withstand a “customized end-to-end Avenger-grade failover strategy” trusted by thousands worldwide.

Join a Winning Backup Team

Image: Marvel Studios

Learn more about tailor-made multi-cloud failover solutions trusted by thousands of businesses worldwide by contacting a KIS channel advisor today

*KeepItSafe is not affiliated with or endorsed by Marvel Entertainment, LLC, or the Walt Disney Company.
[1] “Cloud Backup Market.” Cloud Backup Market by Component (Solution & Services), Provider (Cloud Service Provider, Telecom & Communication Service Provider, & Managed Service Provider), Deployment Model, Organization Size, Vertical, and Region - Global Forecast to 2022, MarketsandMarkets, June 2017,

[2] RightScale. “2018 State of the Cloud Report.” Flexera, 1 Jan. 2018,

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