Utilizing Online Backup and Local Backup Together
Here's how to solve the dilemma.
Managed service providers will often use online backup for a company’s mission critical data and local backup for their data that is important, but not utterly critical to basic business functions. And sometimes IT service providers will use a combination of both. However, helping your client decide what constitutes critical data and how to best backup that data can be a complicated task.
Here’s how to solve the dilemma.
Why classify data at all?
Though charging your clients to store all their data online may be tempting, that’s not a sustainable long-term strategy. If you want to build a recurring revenue stream, cultivating customer stickiness is key. And you won’t foster customer loyalty just by passing on the costs of data growth on to them. Plus you’ll not only have insight into the types of data your client produces, but how they use it. With that knowledge, you will be able to determine service and pricing plans based on their specific needs.
Defining Critical Data
However, before you ask how important particular pieces of data is to your client, first find out what their critical business functions are at their most basic level. Questions to ask that will help you determine the data’s level of criticality include:
- Could your business function for a few days without this data?
- Could your business function for a few hours without this data?
- Is this data irreplaceable?
- Does this data change frequently?
- Does this data need real-time protection?
- Does this data have special requirements such as HIPAA or SOX compliance?
With that information in mind, you and your client will have a clearer vision of what “box” to place particular pieces of data. Using tiers, create a system in which you can separate data into three different categories: mission critical, important, and useful.
Choosing a Backup Plan According to Data Type
Once you’ve determined how to classify your client’s data, you can then establish an appropriate data backup plan according to their needs.
Mission Critical Data: Local and Online Backup Together
You should always back up mission critical data online to ensure its survival. However it is often helpful to back up critical data locally as well. Here’s why: if your clients have strict recovery time objectives, local backup allows for almost-instantaneous restoration. For example, if a single computer or server crashes, or if you need to recover an accidentally deleted file, you’ll be able to restore that data quickly and your clients will hardly miss a beat. Often clients in the medical, dental, or legal verticals have strict RTOs in addition to data retention rules. Of course you also want to save this critical data offsite as well in order to ensure it against a major disaster. Therefore the combination of both online and local backup offers the best protection and recoverability.
Important Data: Online Backup Only
This is data that you want to ensure against any type of disaster, including natural disasters, accidents, or malicious attacks. Data stored online, such as with Intronis Online Backup + Recovery, has the benefit of being stored in two SAS 70 certified, tier four data centers, encryption in storage and in transit, and unlimited retention and archiving. That’s a level of security that no onsite device can provide. Like mission critical data, important data needs to be recoverable regardless of the situation. But unlike mission critical data, important data needs to be recoverable within a day or two, not hours.
Useful Data: Local Backup Only
This is where you’ll be able to save your clients money. By helping them determine data that is appropriate to backup locally, you’ll be able to provide them with cost savings that are germane to their business needs. By choosing local only backup for useful data, you’re protecting your client’s data with a level of security that is appropriate for the type of data. Local backup is a less expensive option for backing up non-critical data. It offers some data protection, though not at the highest level.
Ted Roller is Vice President of Channel Development at Intronis. Find out more about Intronis’ partner program. Guest blogs such as this one are contributed as part of The VAR Guy’s annual sponsorship.