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May 10, 2011
As some MSPmentor readers know, my hard drive failed on May 3. A few readers have asked me for an update. Specifically, was my cloud-based backup service able to restore my files? Unfortunately, it’s not a simple Yes or No answer. Here’s why… plus an important cloud sales lesson for managed services providers. In short, there’s a simple way to sell SMB online backup and disaster recovery (BDR) services vs. consumer cloud backup services.
The good news: My cloud-based backup service worked as advertised. All of my files and content were safely backed up to the cloud. The bad news: Restoring all of those files, using my home broadband connection, would have required a continuous three-day download. As a workaround, I restored only my email and a few selected files. The online backup company, which competes in the consumer market, is mailing me a CD containing the rest of my data.
There’s an important lesson here for MSPs that are striving to compete with commodity backup and restore services: Backup is important but restore times are even more important. In separate conversations and email exchanges over the past week, both Doyenz and Intronis made that point to me. Plus, some readers are telling me to check out hybrid cloud solutions — which backup data to local appliances as well as off-premises clouds.
Here’s a simple suggestion: MSPs should back up 50 gigabytes of sample (non-critical) data to a consumer online backup service. Then, practice a restore with the end-customer present. Show them how long the restore process — over a broadband Internet connection — can take for a mere 50 gigabytes of hard drive data. Now, do some math and show the customer how much longer the restore would take if the process involved 500 gigabytes of data, a terabyte of data and so on.
Bottom line: Based on my anecdotal experience last week I suspect most consumer online backup companies can’t restore data fast enough over the Internet for typical small business customers.
By the end of the conversation you should be able to upsell the customer from a consumer online backup service to a true cloud BDR (backup and disaster recovery) service.
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