April 30, 2019
Sponsored by Kaseya
Every March 31, companies and individuals around the world are encouraged to ensure the safety of their precious data on World Backup Day. The “holiday” brings attention to just how important backups can be and gives folks an annual reminder to secure their information in case disaster strikes.
While backing up data one day each year is better than nothing, it doesn’t prevent businesses from losing data for the next 364 days. In those 52 weeks these companies will generate reams of important transactions, customer data, payrolls, invoices, emails and documents, and they would be pretty unhappy if they lost everything from April 1 onward.
But when businesses entrust their digital computing operations to an MSP, their assumption will be that they now have an ally looking out for their data, and backup is part of that package. Looking back on Backup Day, are you meeting–and exceeding–their expectations?
A Complete Solution
Backup is one of those unfun, have-to-do items a business must take care of. It’s not particularly exciting, doesn’t generate revenue and (ideally) is rarely employed. Kind of like air bags in a car: Everyone knows they’re important, but no one thinks about them very much until they’re actually deployed in an emergency.
Backup is rarely grabbing the headlines within a company, and while IT departments generally check for failures, few take the time to confirm their backup works until things go sideways. Because it’s seldom discussed, “backup” can end up meaning different things to different people, and what’s required to truly check the box for a backup solution is often far more involved than what some providers may offer.
But a full and complete backup solution has many elements that a customer can choose from. Onsite vs. cloud, automatic vs. manual, selective vs. comprehensive, continuous vs. scheduled … These are all options for customers where they may not even have a preference or opinion.
And beyond how, when and where a client’s data is being backed up, there’s the matter of how it’s restored. Will they be able to seamlessly transfer operations to the backup environment, have a rapid recovery from an outage, or face days or weeks of rebuilding their operations from backed up data?
Of course, the ideal scenario is one where not only data is backed up and available for a quick restoration, but an image of the entire system state is stored separately, failing over to a virtual machine environment that allows admins to restore operations in less than an hour.
Employing artificial intelligence to analyze, prioritize and automate critical backups adds another layer of protection by guaranteeing that mission-critical information is backed up as soon as possible while not overburdening the network with unnecessary data transfers.
MSPs need a full toolbox of business continuity and recovery services to serve the needs of a diverse customer base and tailor their offering for each engagement.
Who’s the Boss?
When it comes to figuring out which solution is best for a given customer, MSPs must simultaneously serve as a trusted advisor and a vendor. Although some clients will have a very clear picture of what they need for backups, many won’t have as many preconceptions.
Of course, customer satisfaction is the top priority for MSPs, who want to protect their clients from any negative repercussions of an outage or data loss. But not every customer is going to place the same value and importance on this area. Backup is a cost center for them, and some may want to skimp on things to save some money on what they see as a less essential component of their IT stack.
As MSPs learn about their clients’ business operations, environments and needs, they might form a clear picture of what the best solution would be. But when “the customer is always right,” how do you push them to a more appropriate (yet more expensive) offering?
A lot of education and a soft touch are the best bets for steering customers to select a solution that matches their actual needs. Explaining the ramifications of skimping out on some important-yet-optional items is key to letting them know this is about serving their best interests and not trying to milk them for every last dime.
Whenever possible, reference configurations for customers with a similar profile and connect them with references for this specific solution. And don’t shy away from sharing horror stories from companies that tried to save a buck but ended up losing much more during an outage or from a loss of data.
Revenue vs. Risk
On the flip side of convincing customers to adequately invest in backup solutions, MSPs have their own bottom line to worry about. Guaranteeing a certain level of service for a suite of backup and recovery solutions comes with a real cost for MSPs.
Some might entertain taking a few shortcuts on their side to save on expenses, but if these come with an increased risk of losing customer backups or sacrificing speedy restorations and failovers, this may be an area to avoid aggressive corner cutting. There’s no easier way to burn the trust you’ve built with a customer and tarnish your reputation than failing them in their biggest time of need.
Instead of overpromising and underdelivering backup and recovery services, MSPs should invest in platforms and tools that integrate and include backup services as part of their package to minimize administrative overhead and the additional costs of add-on solutions. With backup part of the core offering, MSPs can more efficiently offer these services to customers and increase revenue and profits.
At Kaseya we endeavor to provide our MSP customers with a flexible and versatile suite of backup solutions that can be tailored to the individual needs of their clients. Leveraging platforms that can easily support a wide array of backup strategies makes it easy for MSPs to optimize their offerings for each specific engagement.
Joining Kaseya in 2012, Miguel Lopez brings over 20 years of experience to his role as SVP, Managed Service Providers (MSPs). In this position, he consults daily with MSPs to help them solve their clients’ business problems with technology solutions. Prior to joining Kaseya, Miguel served as the director of consulting services for All Covered, a nationwide technology services company that is a division of Konica Minolta Business Solutions USA Inc. In 2008, All Covered acquired NetCor Technologies, a leading MSP that Miguel founded and managed since 1997. NetCor specialized in serving highly regulated industries such as healthcare, CPAs, law firms and retail companies.
This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.
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