You are asked to wear many hats as an MSP and the trusted IT advisor for your customers. Protect Suzy in accounting from the catastrophic consequences of being infected by the latest Cryptolocker virus. Ensure that Joe, a business owner with limitless expectations but limited budget, can access all his data from anywhere, anytime. “Easier said than done Joe, but I’ll make it happen,” says the MSP. Of the IT hats you are asked to wear, the one that involves backing up your customers’ critical digital assets is arguably the most important.
Let’s say Joe, our demanding small business owner is vacationing in Bora Bora. His computer is stolen while he naps on the porch of his seaside villa. Joe expects that he had a backup for his data. At one point, the server that runs all of his business’s CRM, accounting and payroll systems crashes. Joe also assumes that he can easily recover his critical business systems. In either situation, Joe would never consider, and rightfully so, that his data would be lost. Sure, there is going to be a slight hiccup in operations while the data is restored. But that’s a far cry from a data loss event that could potentially put Joe out of business.
50 Percent of Data Recovery Customers Had A Backup Solution
Gillware Inc., data recovery lab has a statistic that might scare an MSP into revisiting their current data backup solution. According to Brian Gill, CEO of Gillware Inc., roughly 50 percent of Gillware’s data recovery customers had a backup solution when they lost their data.
Then why, you might ask, did they need professional data recovery services?
The answer is this: the backup solution they were employing was insufficient or improperly administered. For example, they might have been using a file-based backup solution to protect laptops and desktops, but not the main server or file-share. Some had a robust backup system for the company server, but were doing nothing to backup individual laptops and desktops. Others had sourced and implemented the exact right backup solution that could have covered all their bases. But they had configured them incorrectly and no one was testing the backups. In short, most MSPs are doing the right thing and offering their customers some form of data backup protection. But the backup solution they are providing has holes.
Building a truly comprehensive backup offering is not an easy task for an MSP. This is certainly not due to a lack a data backup solutions available on the market. In fact, the exact opposite is true. There are so many options for an MSP to choose from that determining the best path forward is difficult. As a data recovery and backup provider, Gillware suggests their MSP partners cut through the noise and offer only proven and efficient backup software for their clients.
Here are four primary factors when selecting products or services to build their data backup solution:
- Backup Type: The two most common types of backup are file-based and image-based (full volume) backup. Oftentimes, MSPs choose one or the other but Gillware strongly recommends doing both. You can use an image backup solution to protect servers and file-shares and a file backup solution to protect laptops and desktops. This way you reduce any potential holes for data loss.
- Coverage: All too often Gillware runs into Partners that did everything right and were properly backing up there customers’ critical servers, laptops and desktops when the unthinkable happens. Fires, floods, hurricanes, and tornadoes can strike at any time and oftentimes without warning. Extending backup coverage to include both on-premise (local) and off-premise (cloud) backup is essential in today’s business climate.
- Cost: There’s a delicate balancing act between what it costs for an MSP to offer a truly comprehensive backup solution and what customers like Joe are willing to pay. MSPs are usually for-profit businesses and need to offer services to their customers that can generate meaningful profit.
- Features: Backup providers love to include all kinds of technical information about their products on marketing materials, websites and in webinars, but the information provided usually misses the mark.
Key Points: Management, Deployment, Configuration
All reputable backup providers, regardless of the backup type, will move data from point A to point B, will do so in a secure and encrypted format, and will do their best to conserve space and bandwidth in the process. As we have already covered, MSPs are in business to make money. There are a few features that impact the true cost to the MSP, and, in turn the customer. They are the ones that involve how you deploy, configure and monitor the backup solution. Failure to assess these key product feature categories can result in choosing solutions that appear flashy on the surface, but are time consuming to monitor and impossible to scale. The end result? The backup solution is now a sunk cost.
Providing your customers with complete backup coverage at a cost that makes sense for both you and the Joes of the world is not easy, but it is possible. Take your time and consider all the options. In the end, your efforts will result in happier customers and a healthier MSP, financially and mentally. You will know with a great deal of confidence that you are offering a truly comprehensive data backup solution to your customers.
If you’re an MSP looking for more information on questions to ask your backup vendor, take a look at this guide.