There are a lot of options out there when it comes to cloud backup. MSPs might be rightly confused about how to go about the selection process. Here are some pointers to help make the process easier and more successful.
First, skip consumer-grade services. These are fine for home PCs and laptops, and may even be good for mom and pop-grade micro-businesses. But they are a liability in a business environment. Think of it this way: If you go the bargain-basement route on consumer-class backup service, you might end up costing yourself and your customers money in the long run due to failed backups, data corruption, security breaches, and slow or no restores.
So make sure you ask about the following:
- Multiple data and platform support: Avoid the need to piecemeal software with a solution that can back up and restore files, applications and physical/virtual server images locally and offsite to the cloud. Many customers will use Windows, Mac or Linux, so it makes sense to operate it all from a single user interface.
- Performance to transfer large-sized data sets: WAN-optimized technologies such as block-level change detection, advanced data compression, parallelism and multi-threading data transfer should always be included as part of any reputable cloud backup service at no charge. The result is far fewer files to transmit, much lower demands on cloud storage and faster backup speeds.
- Flexible cloud DR and DRaaS options: Browse online backups like any directory with the ability to recover from a mounted drive, a Web browser or local storage. In the event of a complete site disaster, seek a solution that offers DRaaS capability that can spin up both physical and virtual servers and applications in their native network environment directly from the cloud, without the need of an appliance.
- Centralized management: An MSP doesn’t have time to manage each customer’s backup separately. Demand a centralized Web-based console to access and manage all customer backups and recoveries from any location.
- No startup and extra maintenance costs: Select a service that doesn’t require laying out money for appliances to maintain or upgrade, software licenses, plugins or training, service and support.
- Security: Enterprise-grade security is a must in today’s world. Ask about SSAE-16 audited data centers and operations, encryption of data in flight and at rest, and user- and group-level access controls with option of two-factor authentication. Make sure the security is good enough for HIPAA, ITAR or other regulations the customers need to comply with.
- Success rates: When it comes to cloud backup, you can’t get enough nines. If your cloud backup provider doesn’t provide at least 5 nines in backup success (99.999%), and the same or better on restoration, you are asking for trouble. The pennies they save on the low bidder will soon be lost in high rates of customer churn.
This is a partial list of what an MSP should demand when looking for a cloud backup vendor. Take the time to find out how well potential providers measure up against these points. If you have any questions or would like to discuss further, feel free to book some time with MSP Channel Director Art Ledbetter at Zetta.net.
Art Ledbetter is director of channels at Zetta. Guest blogs such as this one are published monthly and are part of Talkin' Cloud's annual platinum sponsorship.