Every MSP should offer data backup and recovery for clients. No matter what business your clients are in, or how big or small their companies are, they all need backup and disaster recovery (BDR) in the event a natural disaster, security breach, or human error causes data loss.
Since BDR addresses such a fundamental business need, it can get highly competitive. So there is always pressure to lower prices, take shortcuts, or overpromise. Caving to these pressures, however, can lead to serious pitfalls that hurt profits or even cost you customers. It takes discipline and focus to avoid these missteps.
Price It Right
If you price your service too high, you risk losing business to competitors. If you price it too low, you squeeze your profit potential. The trick is to find the right balance, and you can do so by focusing on value.
In this case, value is access to backup data should customers ever need it. You can let customers haggle over the price of the service, or you can focus on the value it delivers. There is a difference. To make customers understand that value, ask them what their data is worth to them. What’s the value of being about to quickly resume business operations after a major data loss?
As an MSP, your primary mission is to avoid downtime for customers by continuously monitoring and managing their IT environments. Some customers like to manage parts of the environment, such as backup and recovery, on their own, though. But if something goes wrong, these customers will still point the finger at you regardless of who’s to blame.
So discourage any DIY notions by explaining how much more reliable BDR is when you manage it as an automated remote service that also includes periodically testing restores to ensure data is being backed-up properly. Remind customers that human errors, such as accidental file deletions and forgetting to do backups, are among the leading cause of data loss — and it’s a problem that is easily solved with the type of automation you can provide.
In delivering BDR services, take advantage of whatever enablement tools your vendor provides to help drive profit and customer value. This can save you time and reduce costs for your operation.
For starters, leverage any automation the vendor offers so you can spend less time managing a routine service and make the process more reliable. If the vendor offers a full-service backup option, whereby the vendor manages the whole process, you should take advantage of it so you can focus on other areas of your business.
In this scenario, you set up the initial backup, and the vendor takes over from there. Your customers get the reliable service they need with minimal effort on your part.
Promote Your Services
Customers need reminders of why they hire MSPs, so be sure to include BDR activities in your monthly and quarterly reports. This shows you are delivering on the promise of protecting their data. In this area, too, you can leverage your vendor’s reporting capabilities to compile and present information to customers.
Reporting is another way to demonstrate value and avoid a common remote services pitfall— letting customers wonder what you’re doing since they can’t see what happens behind the scenes.
Managed BDR addresses an acute customer need while creating value-added opportunities. Develop a strategy to avoid common BDR pitfalls, and you’ll have happier customers who don’t need to worry about losing their data if disaster strikes.
Neal Bradbury is Senior Director of Business Development for Intronis MSP Solutions by Barracuda, a provider of security and data protection solutions for managed services providers, where he is responsible for generating greater business value for the company’s MSP partner community and alliance partners.
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