As the old adage goes, “Time is money,” and in the interest of saving money, we must not waste time. This is especially true when it comes to disaster preparedness and recovery—an area where many companies continue to fall short, as evidenced by the Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council’s 2014 Disaster Preparedness Benchmark Survey.
As part of the study--which surveyed companies of all sizes, from a broad range of industries across the globe--the Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council found that three out of four companies worldwide are at risk for failing to adequately prepare for disaster. Furthermore, the council found that incidents and costs of outages associated with disaster remain a major challenge for many organizations.
- More than one-third (36%) of organizations lost one or more vital applications, VMs or critical data files for hours at a time over the past year, while nearly one in five companies has lost one or more critical applications over a period of days.
- Even more alarming, one in four respondents said it had lost most or all of a data center for hours, or even days.
- Reported losses from outages ranged from a few thousand dollars to millions of dollars, with nearly 20% indicating losses of more than $50,000 and some exceeding $5 million.
These findings outline the importance of being mindful of saving time and money when it comes to business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR), a service that many businesses have come to expect from their MSP or solution provider--and one where MSPs can demonstrate true value to their clients.
However, it is not enough to simply offer BC/DR services; MSPs must also be able to measure the value of the time and cost savings that comes from these services. One of the ways to explain the value of time is through recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO).
RTO vs. RPO
RTO looks at how much time a system, computer, application or network can be down as a result of a network failure or disaster before negatively impacting business operations. RPO assesses how much data can be lost due to an outage or natural disaster before business operations are disrupted. Both of these measurements can vary by company, and are dependent on business processes and the sensitivity of the data and applications. A company’s RPO and RTO for its email server, for example, can be very different from the RPO and RTO of its ecommerce database.
To determine RTO and RPO, MSPs should work closely with their clients to assess their needs on a system-by-system basis. That way they can define customer-specific metrics to use in their SLAs, and design and price services accordingly.
MSPs and solution providers would be remiss, also, if they didn’t use the RTO and RPO metrics to:
- Manage expectations. In order to build a positive and trusting relationship with clients, it's crucial to lay out the details of an agreement in writing so they understand how fast file access can be restored.
- Tout the value of time. Having clear-cut RTO or RPO expectations will allow clients to easily assess performance and will reinforce the MSP’s value as a service provider; it will also demonstrate how the MSP can help clients make sound decisions around BC/DR so that they won’t waste time and money.
- Talk up services. Offering efficient and reliable service deserves more than just a pat on the back. This is a prime marketing opportunity for MSPs to tell others in the business how frequently RTOs and RPOs are achieved, and demonstrate the value they offer.
Today’s cloud-based BC/DR solutions are a great way for MSPs and solution providers to meet the RTO and RPO objectives of their clients. Through the cloud, they can better support hybrid IT environments, simplify recovery processes, and gain more flexibility in how and what they recover for their clients. In many cases, cloud-based backup can also reduce the time it takes a business to get back up and running after disaster strikes.
The fact of the matter is time is a key measurement in how well a business will recover in the face of disaster. When MSPs and solution providers understand the value of time, know how to measure RTO and RPO, and leverage cloud-based BC/DR solutions to meet the requirements of their clients, they will be well on their way to ensuring that no SMB will fail due to data loss.
Neal Bradbury is VP of Channel Development and a co-founder at cloud-based backup and disaster recovery provider Intronis. Working closely with the company’s MSP partner community and alliance partners, 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.