It's hurricane season again and that means two things: re-stocking your emergency kit and making sure your customers have rock-solid disaster recovery plans. Even customers who are already protecting data and systems may not have a plan in place in the event of an emergency, and that means they’re at risk.
When it comes to safeguarding against disasters, you need to offer customers more than just disks and software. They need fully robust service plans, with people in place who can assist them when they need to retrieve backed up data and resume operations as usual.
While outsourcing is immeasurably beneficial to mid-market companies, it usually means that they’ve reduced their staff and may not even have an in-house expert. Many of your customers may feel unequipped to handle a full system restoration. They may also be uncertain about exactly what will happen in case of an emergency, and have concerns about how reliable their DR plan is. Offering them a DR plan that includes service as part of the package provides an added layer of service for data continuity and peace of mind.
ImplementationThe service component of a DR plan starts long before a disaster actually strikes. Many companies that decide to outsource their backup may not even have the staff available to properly implement the program or the confidence that they’re doing everything correctly. When it comes to recovering from large-scale data and systems failure, there are no second chances. Assure your customers that everything was set up correctly the first time by partnering with a company that has a service team in place to help them implement a custom plan.
EducationOnce the system is in place, offering educational resources to help customers understand their program is key - that way, the designated IT manager or person in charge will be relieved that to know that the system is secure and be able to explain to superiors how it works. If you can offer your customers courses, webinars and collateral that will help them understand how manage data, you empower them against Mother Nature, if she decides to strike.
Preemptive Testing: Adding a Layer of ConfidenceMany of your clients may be required by law or industry regulation to prove that they are properly backing up data and have a procedure for recovery in place. Your customers may be subject to audits from customers or prospects in order to maintain relationships or acquire new business. Help them prove they have reliable plans in case of disaster with a thorough testing process. After they set up their DR plan, a team of professionals can test every aspect of the program to make sure it’s fail-proof.
Disaster Recovery: The Moment of TruthBacking up data is one thing, but being able to recover it quickly in the event of a disaster is something entirely different - and ultimately far more challenging. Whether or not your customers realize it, the cost of being out of commission is steep. After all, they still need to pay employees and foot the bill for other operating costs, even when a damaged infrastructure prevents them from doing business. Depending on the type of business, your customer might need to be backup and running in four hours, 24 hours or 48 hours. To do that, they need a team of qualified people ready to help them restore their entire system. Make it easy for them by offering a service level agreement (SLA) that fits their needs. In the wake of a hurricane, they have a lot of things to worry about, but it’s your job to make sure data recovery isn’t one of them. Assure them that a qualified specialist is on deck, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, waiting to restore their data and system.
The New IT is About Service
Anyone can back up data, but when a crisis occurs, good customer service becomes critical. Outsourced technology only goes so far. When it comes to a DR plan, customers want to be 100 percent certain that data is secure and they want to know how fast it can be recovered. The greatest thing you can offer customers is the knowledge that even in the event of a natural or man-made disaster, they’ll be able to go on with business as usual. Prepare them for hurricane season by recognizing that recovery is aservice and offering them the best. Oh, and you might want to give them some tips about their emergency kit, too.
Terry Cunningham, President and General Manager of EVault, is an experienced, hands-on senior leader with a track record of success in building organizations to both realize their full potential and work well with the channel to maximize sales and opportunity. Cunningham was honored as a CRN Channel Chief in both 2011 and 2012, and the EVault Cloud-Connected Service Provider Program was named a “5-Star Program” in the 2011 CRN Partner Guide.