As we noted in our most recent ebook Selling Disaster Recovery as a Service, there are a number of considerations IT providers need to make when it comes to their disaster recovery offering. But before you start asking clients important questions about disaster recovery, you need to make sure you’ve got your offering figured out in a way that makes you profitable while also keeping clients satisfied.
With that in mind, here are some questions to ask yourself about your disaster recovery offering.
Do you know what you’re actually selling?
Before you sell anything, make sure you know what it is you’re selling. Clients won’t always see the benefits of disaster recovery if there’s a higher cost—they may think they’re only paying for simple backups. Make sure they know that the real value is in the quick recovery options. Once they see that you can spin up a virtual machine from a backup lightning quick, they’ll start to understand. Backups in themselves have little value, but a turbo-quick recovery has loads of value. More than that, clients are paying for the peace of mind in knowing their provider (you) has their back, and if systems do go down, they’ve got little to worry about.
Do you fully understand recovery objectives?
Every client probably has different recovery objectives. Some businesses can’t suffer much downtime at all, but other businesses can. You need to understand the recovery metrics like recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO) so you can have conversations about these goals with your clients and prospects. Put simply, these objectives help businesses determine how long a piece of equipment can be down, and how much data they can afford to lose. For a detailed look at these metrics, read What is RPO? and What is RTO?
Do you have the proper service agreements?
In essence, a service agreement is a contract between you and your client that outlines the results you’re guaranteeing (i.e., how much uptime they can expect, what machines and software you’re managing, how quickly they can expect you to resolve problems, etc.), as well as the business side of the deal. Service agreements allow your clients to know what to expect from your services, and they also put you in control of your services and let you manage client’s expectations. One thing to consider is whether you will use one service agreement for everyone or keep it flexible so you can manage individual clients. For more information on service agreements, check out these other articles:
- Objectives, Requirements, and SLAs, Oh my!
- Service Agreements are Fundamental to Your Success: The Basics of a Good Client Relationship
- Right-Sizing Your Service Agreements: The Three Primary Types of Client Agreements Every MSP Needs
Do you have a flexible delivery method?
Businesses all have different goals and you definitely don’t want to sell them things they don’t need. After you’ve discussed their recovery objectives, you’ll need to know how to deliver the backup and recovery systems that meet their objectives and budgets.
Be flexible when it comes to how you deliver these services. Keeping clients’ data safe can be as easy as storing encrypted backups on an external hard drive and having clients take them offsite daily, but it can also be as complex as rolling out a backup and disaster recovery (BDR) appliance that replicates data offsite for redundancy. Take a look at our ebook Selling Disaster Recovery as a Service to learn a variety of common methods MSPs use to deliver disaster recovery clients of all sizes and needs.
Do you know how you’ll prove value?
A lot of providers setup backups but forget to show ongoing value to clients. Reporting will show clients that backups are kicking off and can be recovered. Many solutions will allow you to set up various alerts that tell you if something is wrong, but it’s always a nice boost of confidence for clients to know that everything is going right, so be sure to keep them posted.
Of course, knowing backups kicked off as planned is great, but it’s nothing next to testing a backup. Using some solutions you can mount a backup as an NTFS drive letter and browse it as you would any other drive letter, or even spin it up as a virtual machine to verify its integrity. Make sure testing backups is a regular part of your service offering—you and your clients need to be positive you can recover. This will build your confidence in your ability to recover and their confidence in you as a provider.
Photo credit: Ethan Lofton via Flickr