Managed services broadly describes the various services IT solutions providers offer to their clients. The exact menu depends on the vendor and its target audience, but may include everything from remote monitoring to hands-on server management. While some of these items easily fit into standard service offerings, others, like backup disaster recovery (BDR), for example, are often best treated as individual offerings. This is mainly for two reasons — they are in high demand, and come with a bundle of new responsibilities.
The Growing Need for BDR Solutions
More than ever, businesses need to be conscience to the fact that their operations are vulnerable to disasters of the both natural and manmade variety. If it’s not tornadoes, hurricanes or earthquakes, it’s the constant threat of human error putting mission-critical operations in jeopardy. The accidental deletion of a shared folder or even a single email could put an organization and its clients at risk. Realizing that disaster can strike at any time, businesses of all sizes are taking a more serious approach to protecting their assets.
This new level of consciousness is great for the managed service provider able to deliver a solution that protects and if need be, quickly recovers client data. In fact, integrating a BDR service into your core offerings can almost immediately add unique value to your brand and help you stand out from the competition. With that competitive edge, of course, comes the potential to increase revenue to substantial proportions.
Challenges of BDR Implementation
Advancements across the digital landscape have made it possible for vendors to do things that weren’t possible just a few short years ago when BDR was primarily limited to appliance-based solutions. Today’s offerings are being integrated into virtualized environments as well as public and private cloud environments based on budget, storage and other specific requirements. While technological innovation has created an unparalleled degree of flexibility, it also presents some hurdles vendors must clear in order to tap into this potentially lucrative niche area.
If you’re an MSP considering adding a BDP solution to your existing mix of managed services, you must be aware of the obstacles impeding that clear path to success. Here are a few you’re likely to encounter first:
BDR offers a tremendous opportunity to profit, but it is your approach to pricing that can literally make or break your efforts. To avoid a disastrous situation that sees potential clients flocking to the competition, a recent MSPMentor article suggests keeping these pricing points in mind:
- Remove sales barriers off the bat by doing away with setup fees
- Eat the cost of managing your own hardware by not charging appliance fees
- Allow customers to walk without having to pay a cancellation fee
- Let customers scale based on their needs without charging fees for upgrades or downgrades
- Include all backup-related services in your offerings to create a value-added solution
In the game of marketing, the success of a given piece of content is typically determined by how it is presented to the audience. The exact same copy in an HTML email decked out with a beautiful background, vibrant colors and images will likely receive a much better response than the exact same copy packaged in a dull plaintext message. This packaging aspect often applies to BDR offerings as well. A solution that is presented in a simple, comprehensive format that clearly addresses the clients needs will look more attractive than one marred by marketing gimmicks, industry jargon and misleading language.
Springing Into Action
SMBs enlist the services of an MSP because they want to be ready when disaster strikes. But what happens if it’s the service provider who isn’t prepared? Then their credibility stands to take a massive hit. An MSP can easily find themselves unprepared if they underestimate the additional time and effort it takes to respond to disaster. Having a clear understanding of where data belongs and the changes that have been made to it are vital to a fast and efficient recovery process. It’s so detailed, that vendors should seriously incorporate some type of drill to ensure they are indeed prepared.
Need a Hand?
The guy who comes through with the food truck has a bunch of scrumptious choices on the menu — burgers, fries, hot dogs, greasy subs, crispy chicken fingers — the works! He’s got an assortment versatile enough to satisfy most lunchtime munchies, but if he wants to expand, adding something like freshly made pizza to the menu wouldn’t necessarily be as easy as it sounds. In this scenario, our food truck operator may have to install a mobile oven to bake the pies, dramatically change the interior to clear enough room for preparation, and make other hefty adjustments to make sure the operation can be pulled off in safe and effective fashion.
That may have been the worst possible way to tie this in, but like the food truck driver who can’t just add pizza to the menu and start serving slices out the window, an MSP can’t simply add backup disaster recovery to their offerings without overcoming some huge challenges in the process. Supporting the infrastructure this critical service requires can be such a burden, that some choose to offload those responsibilities onto third-party shoulders. Seems as if you can outsource anything IT these days and sure enough, it’s possible to leverage a partner’s existing infrastructure as an alternative to building your own from the ground up. Definitely something to consider, at least.
What other challenges does BDR integration present to burgeoning MSPs? What can be done to overcome or avoid them all together?