Breaking up is hard to do. But if a vendor just isn’t providing the services you need, there’s always someone out there who will. Take backup and disaster recovery solutions for example. There are countless players out there so how do you make an informed decision on whom best to partner with? We asked a number of our partners this same question and boiled the responses down to following four tips:
1. Don’t Skimp or Splurge on Backup
One of the biggest mistakes a VAR/MSP can make is to switch backup vendors based on the licensing and/or cloud storage costs alone. The reality is that there are several other factors that come into play that far outweigh the initial price tag, including the time required to install one solution compared to another. The “cheaper” solution could take longer to install and configure, plus if it’s not supported by your RMM tool, it could mean having to go on-site to install the software and having one more portal to manage. The more expensive solution may just be too much for you right now. Yes, you want enterprise-grade, but not an enterprise-priced solution. Be sure to look at the total cost of ownership when evaluating new options — not just the allure of a less expensive upfront cost or the notion that because it’s the most expensive, it must be the best. Know your needs and choose a solution that fits your business today, but can easily scale as the business grows.
2. Streamline, Simplify and Avoid Unnecessary Risks
Some resellers may opt to simply add a new backup solution to their line card without making a formal switch from an underperforming vendor, which means they have to manage multiple, similar solutions. The biggest downside with this decision is that it leads to costly inefficiencies within your organization, and it’s akin to trying to manage your email with Outlook, Lotus Notes, and Google simultaneously. Each program has its own way of handling emails, contacts, calendars, and alerts and it’s confusing to constantly switch among the various programs. Likewise, teaching your staff members all the nuances between multiple backup solutions is even more daunting, and eventually it will lead to a serious error. The number one cause of network/data disasters is human error — not fires, hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes. When you introduce multiple, similar solutions, you increase the chances of someone on your staff making an oversight error that could leave your customer vulnerable. So, even though there’s some upfront effort necessary to research a new IT managed services solution and establish a new vendor partnership, once you’ve found a better choice for you and your customers, make the definitive move to oust the underperforming vendor partner, so you can reap the maximum benefits the stronger vendor partner has to offer.
3. Beware Of Hidden Tradeoffs, Costs
It may sound obvious, but before making the switch to a new vendor partner, do your due diligence. Switching vendors isn’t fun, but it can be good for business. To avoid any unnecessary disruptions to you and your customers, ask the hard questions upfront. Here are a few:
Is there a maximum cap on how much data you can store? And what happens when we reach that cap? What’s the next level?
What are the bandwidth limitations for the off-site storage?
What is the maximum number of accounts a VAR can have on the provider’s portal?
What is the maximum number of appliances a VAR can manage (total as well as per account) on the backup provider’s portal?
4. Begin With The End in Mind
Former business self-help coach Stephen Covey, author of The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, deserves credit for this last tip, which is also the second habit on his list. The way it applies to choosing a new backup vendor is to find out upfront the vendor’s policies for giving your data back and helping you migrate to a new platform if you decide to cancel with them down the road. If your customers work in regulated industries such as healthcare or finance, you really need to pay close attention to this last point because you don’t want to get into legal trouble over a cloud provider holding your customers’ data hostage or returning the data in an unreadable, proprietary file format.
Breaking up with a vendor partner that’s no longer cutting it may seem like an overwhelming feat that’s better addressed at a later date. However, once you’ve identified a better opportunity and confirmed it through due diligence, it’s time to make your move. Not only will it do your business a lot of good to rid yourself of a vendor partnership that’s holding you back and potentially hurting your brand reputation by not getting IT done, it will increase your chances of getting what you really wanted all along: a better cloud backup solution for you and your customers.
To find what your peers think about managing a business continuity and data recovery (BCDR) solution, see our new report on the state of cloud backup today.