4 Steps to a Fool-Proof Business Continuity Plan

MSPs that are successful at selling BCDR (business continuity and disaster recovery) project business growth nearly twice as high as all MSPs, according to research from Intronis and the 2112 Group. But a lot of MSPs (44 percent) don’t have a good strategy in place for selling BDCR. If you fit that description, here are some guidelines to help.

January 28, 2014

4 Min Read
4 Steps to a Fool-Proof Business Continuity Plan

By Intronis Guest Blog 2

If you had to guess the one common denominator shared by the most successful MSPs, what do you think it would be? Having a certain number of credentials? Nope. Selling to a specific vertical market? No, not that either. According to our 2013 survey of 350 IT services industry experts, conducted in conjunction with the 2112 Group, MSPs that were successful at selling BCDR (business continuity and disaster recovery) were projecting business growth nearly twice as high as the group average! It was also obvious from the survey that a lot of MSPs (44 percent) don’t have a good strategy in place for selling BDCR.

Although the first month of the New Year is just about behind us, it’s not too late to take control of your BCDR sales strategy and to join the ranks of the most successful MSPs. Here are four key steps you can take to develop a solid BCDR sales strategy:

1. Assess Clients’ Systems and Regulatory Requirements. One of the most difficult choices MSPs face with regard to selling BCDR is determining where to start. To eliminate some of the confusion, let your customer’s IT and industry environments narrow down your choices.  For starters, partners should conduct a thorough assessment of clients’ needs to determine which data and systems are critical to the business and what kind of continuity or recovery mechanisms are already in place. Additionally, partners need to understand the operating requirements and environment and map them to the customer’s revenue-producing systems and regulatory requirements. For example, for healthcare clients, ensuring a BCDR solution complies with HIPPA regulations is a top priority, so security measures such as local and offsite data encryption are critical when selecting the appropriate BCDR. Also, outdated or unreliable hardware, networking equipment, storage media/appliances, security systems, applications, and bandwidth that can’t support adequate backup and recovery must be replaced/optimized.

2. Deliver a Complete BCDR Plan with Tech Specs and Schedules. After a proper assessment, IT service providers should present clients with a comprehensive recommendation that includes the order in which systems should be restored in the event of a major server failure or disaster (i.e. data recovery mapping) as well as testing schedules and contact trees highlighting all the key stakeholders who should be notified following the event.

3. Deliver SLAs Around RTO, RPO, RGO. Equally important to the BCDR plan is the corresponding SLA (service level agreement), which defines contractually what the partner agrees to provide before, during, and after a disruptive incident. A proper SLA should address the following three areas:

  • RTO (recovery time objective) – This is how long the client can be without certain data/IT services before experiencing negative effects. Depending on the client, RTO could be measured in minutes, hours, or days.

  • RPO (recovery point objective) – This is complementary to RTO and refers to the specific amount of data than can be lost during the RTO period before experiencing negative effects. For example, a company could experience a server crash that could be corrected in 15 minutes (an acceptable RTO), but it could lose two days’ worth of data during that 15-minute outage (an unacceptable RPO).

  • RGO (recovery granularity objective) – As its name suggests, an RGO defines how granular within the storage architecture recovery needs to be, including file level, block level or transaction level. Each client’s specific need will determine whether VTLs (virtual tape libraries), snapshots, or CDP (continuous data protection) is required to log each individual change.

4. Field Test and Optimize Based on Results. Creating a BCDR solution is not a one-time event for an IT service provider due to the reality that clients’ needs evolve and BCDR vendors’ products evolve, also. To ensure your offering remains relevant and competitively priced, it’s important to conduct ongoing testing and to communicate with clients and vendor partners when important updates occur that may impact their BCDR needs. For example, perhaps an industry regulation update requires a client that currently has a 2-hour RTO to upgrade to a 1-hour RTO to remain compliant.

Selling BCDR can be intimidating to IT service providers who hone in on ever-changing industry regulations and personal liability. However, the fact is that there is a lot of help available from BCDR vendors and distributors that can greatly shorten the learning curve and even reduce much of the liability (e.g. Intronis signs a Business Associate Agreement with partners, thereby sharing liability with partners that sell its cloud backup solution to healthcare clients). If you don’t have a BCDR sales strategy in place, it’s not too late to put a new resolution into effect. The only thing you and your clients have to gain by waiting is a visit from the Data Loss Gremlins.  Instead, be proactive and start having conversations right away with your clients about the importance of having their data backed up locally and in the cloud and being able to recover their data with a fool-proof business continuity solution.

Neal Bradbury, is co-founder and VP of Channel Development at Intronis

Read more about:

Free Newsletters for the Channel
Register for Your Free Newsletter Now

You May Also Like