In today’s competitive business climate, data is king. Organizations, both large and small and across all vertical industries, rely heavily on data to stay in business. The fact is that any outage, whether caused by nature or man-made, has the potential to put a company out of business indefinitely--or, in some cases, permanently.
I believe that no business should fail due to data loss, and this is why it is important that any business, regardless of its size, do everything in its power to protect its data on a holistic scale. For SMBs, this often means relying on the expertise of their MSP or IT solution provider, which can help them put the processes and solutions in place that provide end-to-end protection for data and critical IT infrastructure.
To help MSPs and IT solution providers ensure that their SMB customers are taking a holistic approach to data protection, we recommend that they follow these five steps:
- Get to know your customer: Prior to recommending or implementing a data protection solution, get to know your customer. If they are operating in a regulated industry such as banking, legal services or healthcare, or if they are a school or government agency, they will have different data protection needs than the marketing firm down the street or the restaurant across town that you work with. Based on the type of business they are operating, you need to determine up-front how much downtime they can afford and what files and applications (such as VMware) they need to protect most.
- Create a plan: Once you know the unique business requirements of your customer, it is time to create a data protection plan and identify the tools or solutions your customer will need to support that plan. Data protection procedures should be documented to protect the business following any disruption--whether it is a power outage, system crash, natural disaster or human error. Pre-emptive backup and recovery planning can vastly minimize the impact of some of these disruptions. You can work with your customers to develop scenarios before disaster strikes, so they will be prepared to recover their data regardless of what happens.
- Don’t forget data security: When it comes to protecting your customers’ data, not just any encryption will suffice, and only military-grade 256-bit AES encryption will ensure the highest levels of data security. When coupled with strong encryption in transit, this technique can provide end-to-end protection of the data while it is being stored and transmitted to and from the data center.
- Check the compliance box: When implementing a provider’s backup and data protection solution, always check to make sure it is compliant with the industry standards and regulations your client must follow. This is especially important in regulated industries such as healthcare and financial services.
- Centralize management: To make it easier on yourself and your customers, you should select a data protection solution that offers centralized management. Integration with today’s leading PSA and RMM tools is among the key features that many MSPs and IT solution providers look for in a data protection solution.
One last thing: When selecting backup and data protection solutions for your SMB customers, properly vet your provider to ensure it offers holistic data protection. Because, when the unthinkable happens, you want your customer to quickly recover, as if nothing had ever happened.
Neal Bradbury is senior director of business development for cloud-based backup and disaster recovery provider Intronis, the MSP unit of Barracuda, where he is responsible for generating greater business value for the company’s MSP partner community and alliance partners. Guest blogs such as this one are published monthly and are part of MSPmentor's annual platinum sponsorship.