Advice from an MSP - Marin IT

Jul 2010

Advice from an MSP - Marin IT


I was recently chatting with one of my customers, Chris Cooper from Marin IT. Marin IT’s story is quite remarkable and unconventional. To give you a sense of Marin IT’s growth, the company was protecting (with their managed backup service) approximately 700GB of data in the first 3 months of operation. Since then, they’ve more than doubled their business, currently protecting 1.7 Terabytes of compressed, de-duplicated data. And they continue to grow.

I asked Chris for his take on the Managed Backup Business. 

What would you say is your secret sauce?

Chris: We are not focused on making money off our customers as soon as we walk through the door. That’s a big problem (in this business).  Everyone is focused on making a profit. Our team was sick of working in the corporate IT model. We started this business out of our Cars.  Starbucks was our office and conference center. We brought gear home and configured routers on our kitchen tables.

Today our operations run out of a comfortable business park office but we still choose not to be the hot rod big time IT shop. We evaluate what people actually need and we give them solutions they can actually afford. Today, we maintain a large, loyal customer base. Our double digit growth is driven exclusively by word of mouth.

The Team at MarinIT

If there’s a piece of advice that you were to give to other MSPs out there who are looking to grow their managed backup business, what would it be?

Chris: Don’t be greedy. Focus on service - focus on what your clients can manage. For example, we have a new local client that we’ve been working with…the former IT consultants were billing the client for support on a per server basis which eventually grew to a massive amount, as the client’s infrastructure grew.

We put in a blade system with VMware. After virtualizing their environment and eliminating complexity they didn’t need, we reduced their rack requirements from 6 racks down to 2 racks.

We reduced the amount of cooling, power, and network hardware as well. We know the client appreciated our efforts because we didn’t just go out there trying to sell them anything and everything. Instead we worked with them, taking on the role of a trusted advisor. This sort of a strategy works for us, because we believe in it. It’s who we are as a company.

To learn more about Marin IT, visit them at

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