Weather Crises Equal (Sensitive) Opportunity for MSPs

It’s not a matter of popular imagination, or increased news coverage. Climate scientists have confirmed that severe weather, such as tornadoes and floods, is on the rise both in the US and around the world. Everyone has surely seen footage of the devastating tornadoes and floods that have wreaked havoc in the Midwest in the past month or two, and even states with low tornado risk like Massachusetts have recently been hit hard. The turbulent times certainly provide business continuity opportunities for MSPs that are sensitive to customers' business needs before, during and after times of crisis.

In addition to the turmoil severe weather events cause in the lives of individuals and families, they also create potentially devastating results for businesses, especially SMBs -- as MSPmentor has noted while covering the HTG Peer Groups' Hands That Give program.

Smaller businesses typically lack the resources to create redundancies if a weather event damages their technology infrastructure, and may not have effective backup for critical data stored on storm-damaged hardware.

MSPs with SMB clients can play a vital role in assisting SMBs with disaster recovery, or even in helping them avoid crippling loss of IT infrastructure and data in the event a natural disaster strikes. Before a disaster hits, MSPs can remotely host part or all of an SMB's technology infrastructure, as well as an SMB's data, on either a backup or full-time basis.

As for SMBs who need help after a disaster has struck, MSPs can step in and quickly offer assistance -- though HTG Peer Groups Founder Alrin Sorensen notes that you have to be self-sufficient when you move into a disaster area. That is, you need to be equipped with enough food, water and fuel-power so that you're not a burden on those you're trying to help.

MSPs can provide specialized help in restoring damaged IT networks and recovering lost data for SMBs who do not have the resources to maintain a staff dedicated to these functions. MSPs can also quickly set up temporary infrastructure that allows damaged SMBs to at least partially resume operations while repairs are being made.

MSPs should encourage SMB clients who may be susceptible to weather-related crises to adopt managed mobile and cloud technologies and services. Mobile devices are much easier to protect from a severe weather event than fixed hardware, and cloud-based solutions and data can be quickly and easily accessed from anywhere -- assuming Internet service remains operational. Those cloud services are especially valuable if an SMB needs to relocate far away from a disaster zone.

It should go without saying that MSPs themselves must “disaster-proof” themselves before they can honestly offer a high degree of disaster security to SMBs. MSPs need to create infrastructure redundancies and should also look into the protection from physical calamity offered by cloud computing. You are just as potentially vulnerable as your clients, so before you can protect them you must protect yourself.

Additional insights from Joe Panettieri. Sign up for MSPmentor’s Weekly Enewsletter, Webcasts and Resource Center. Follow us via RSS, Facebook and Twitter. Check out more MSP voices at www.MSPtweet.com. Read our editorial disclosure here.

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