We’ve all seen the stats citing the negative consequences that accompany major data losses--ranging from financial hardship to, in extreme cases, the business closing its doors. Some business owners hear those stats and believe that if they manually back up their data they can avoid data disasters and “eliminate the middleman” at the same time. Yet, even if fires, floods and other disasters were the only threats SMBs faced, choosing a do-it-yourself (DIY) backup and disaster recovery (BDR) solution wouldn’t be a wise move. Fact is, there are several other types of threats beyond natural disasters that can result in data loss. And, even those customers who are a bit more tech-savvy and invest in automated backup systems that allow them to “set it and forget it” are no match for one of the biggest threats to their data: human error.
Human error can rear its ugly head in many forms, including:
- Accidentally deleting files
- Powering off computers or servers without following proper shutdown procedures
- Forgetting to remove backups from the premise
- Neglecting to rotate tapes or check for corrupted media
- Opening email attachments with viruses that stop or corrupt backups, and more.
When MSPs allow customers to back up their own data without understanding the potential pitfalls, they’re doing those customers a disservice that will eventually reveal itself at a most inopportune time. What’s more, many clients who experience this rude awakening will attempt to transfer blame to their IT solution provider, who is supposed to be helping them to make sound IT business decisions.
Making the Case for Managed BCDR
Following are the top three reasons why a managed business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) service is a better solution for you and your customers:
- Allows customers to focus on their businesses. Only when customers realize the time commitment necessary to protect their data from disasters, human errors and random software glitches can they see how this translates into less time spent on performing their core business tasks. An MSP, on the other hand, is in the business of providing these services, and with a good managed BCDR platform, can efficiently monitor a large number of clients from the same portal.
- Validates backup integrity. If you had to boil down the biggest differentiator between DIY BDR and a managed BCDR service it would be this: A true managed service includes routine testing and validation, whereas a majority of DIY systems rely on assumptions. Viruses, software glitches and silent data loss have this in common: They can silently stop backups or corrupt backup images and files. Not only do managed BCDR services do a better job of catching these silent data killers, the added step of performing routine data restore tests provides an additional confirmation and safety net. In theory, an SMB could perform its own data restore tests, but the reason this rarely happens is due to the disruptive and time-consuming nature of running physical image backups. In many cases, unless the customer purchases a secondary server, the only way it can perform a test is to actually overwrite its server with the backup image. A BCDR solution, on the other hand, takes advantage of the latest virtualization technology. This allows the MSP to remotely perform a data restore on a partition of the same server in a fraction of the time it would take to perform a physical image restore, and without disrupting the primary server’s operation.
- Saves customers money. An MSP can provide superior service over a DIY BDR solution, and because the MSP is leveraging its time among several customers, it can provide this service much more affordably than what an SMB would pay an in-house IT person to perform the same tasks. Many SMBs find that after outsourcing their IT to an MSP, they receive far better service at about 33 percent to 50 percent of the cost of a full-time IT person’s salary. Additionally, when an IT problem arises, the SMB has a team of engineers available to address it, not just one person.
In a 2013 survey conducted by the 2112 Group, cloud BCDR was found to be a significant driver of growth and profitability among the IT services organizations polled. In fact, backup and recovery was found to be the favorite cloud service among the resellers, with 56 percent saying it is their company’s bestseller. And, although it wasn’t cited in the survey, I’d venture to guess that out of all the SMBs who paid for BCDR services and had an incident requiring data recovery, nearly 100 percent were glad they chose to use this service.
Rob Merklinger is vice president of sales at Intronis, Boston-based provider of world-class backup and data protection solutions for the IT channel, and is an experienced software sales leader with a proven track record for driving success and developing sales talent. Guest blogs such as this one are published monthly and are part of MSPmentor's annual platinum sponsorship.