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Microsoft’s Backup Miss is a Big Opportunity for MSPs

Discussing Microsoft’s Windows Registry backup announcement presents an excellent segue to understanding your customers’ broader backup and recovery needs.

Barracuda MSP Guest Blogger

September 23, 2019

3 Min Read
Swinging lightbulb

This past summer, Microsoft surprised several customers when the company revealed that it had not backed up the registry in Windows 10 since last October. The decision to turn off this feature was part of an effort to reduce the overall size of the platform.

Understandably, most users assumed backups were still occurring. Even though they weren’t receiving data transfer confirmations, there also weren’t any alerts from Microsoft telling them that there was anything wrong. The company has since published a support page explaining its decision.

The Windows Registry is a hierarchical database that stores low-level settings for Windows 10, as well as applications that have been set up to employ it. The registry also houses the kernel, device drivers, services, Security Accounts Manager and user interface configuration.

Previously, Windows 10 automatically performed regular Windows Registry backups. These backups could come in handy when restoring a previous version of the registry to fix a technical issue. Starting with Windows 10, version 1803, those backups won’t occur. Instead, users are supposed to use system restore points. Microsoft just disabled the backup feature, but those automatic backups can be re-initiated via the Registry Editor.

Although the Windows Registry issue may be a bit obscure for some of your clients, it presents an excellent opportunity to discuss the value of backup and recovery.

Starting the Backup Conversation

Conversations about backup and recovery are critical because most customers don’t think much about those processes. Worse, customers often assume that backups are happening automatically, or that they’re being handled by someone else–a service provider, a software vendor, a cloud provider.

Those assumptions pose a big challenge for MSPs because they leave clients vulnerable and make it harder to sell backup and recovery services. Even if a client was backing up its Windows Registry, it’s still beneficial to alert them to the problem and initiate a conversation about how much control they want to have over their backup and recovery activities.

In most cases, customers will be familiar with popular consumer backup services like those offered by Apple and Microsoft. But enterprise backup and recovery solutions need to be built around more specific business policies, which take into account data retention periods and encryption requirements, for example.

Your Windows Registry conversation can help open the door to broader discussions about automatic update policies and how those policies can be beneficial in the event of an outage, data breach or cyberattack.

For MSPs, a robust backup and recovery process makes it easier to help restore clients when problems arise. And, once clients see how quickly and efficiently they can recover data, the value of this process is simple to explain and demonstrate.

Additionally, encouraging customers to address both Windows Registry and other types of backup issues can help service providers avoid being thrown under the bus when an inevitable IT failure occurs. (While you’re at it, you can also help your clients turn those automatic Registry backups back on–if they need to–by following the instructions in this article.)

Serving as the proverbial canary in the coal mine when it comes to potential vulnerabilities caused by outside vendors also positions MSPs as trusted advisors. Microsoft may not be concerned about possible problems caused by the Windows Registry backup suspension, but you are. That level of concern can build confidence and goodwill with clients that can be converted into add-on business.

Chris Crellin is Senior Director of Product Management for Barracuda MSP, a provider of security and data protection solutions for managed services providers, where he is responsible for leading product strategy and management.

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

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