Ask the owner of most any Small Business if their critical data is backed up and they’ll say “Yes”.
But it’s often the case that what a client might consider adequate backup, and what we – as IT Solution Providers and Managed Service Providers (MSP’s) – consider adequate backup are two entirely different things!
For instance, it’s not unusual to find a client still using DLT or DAT Tape backups. While tape technology is a little dated, it’s still a viable backup method if you have a proper backup strategy in place – swapping tapes on a daily basis, checking for issues and archiving off data regularly.
Sadly, most clients will delegate the responsibility for these backups to someone who often views the task as a low priority – how many office managers or receptionists have forgotten to change the server backup tape as they’ve been running out of the office on a Friday evening?
Disk to Disk Backup
Then there’s the modern equivalent of tape – the USB Hard Drive.
The rise of cheap external USB Hard Disks mean that many SMB’s have a drive that they keep plugged into a server, backing up data each night. Or there is the “advanced” version of this method, where USB Hard Disks are rotated in and out – one disk being taken off-site whilst another is plugged in to capture the latest backup.
Again the question has to be asked though – how many times has the employee responsible for changing the drive sprinted out of the door on a Friday evening without changing the drive?
The Backup Problem for MSP’s
My experience as the former owner of an MSP tells me that ANY backup process that involves manual intervention is destined to fail.
Let me re-phrase that to be more specific – Any regular data backup process that requires a Human Being WILL fail. [TWEET THIS]
It’s also my experience that in working with an MSP, most business owners abdicate responsibility for backups and assume that “it” – a disaster which results in them losing their critical data – is best dealt with by thinking:-
a – it will never happen to me
b – if it does happen to me, then my MSP has it covered
c – it’s happened to me. “%$^#! You’ve got this covered, right? What do you mean you don’t have my data? Can’t you just buy a new computer from PC World?”
The Solution? Off-Site Backup
As an MSP, you are held responsible for the well being of your clients data – whether you like that reality or not.
You can monitor and manage clients on-site data backup process – but you’ll spend a lot of costly time and effort doing so.
Even if you tell your client that they have inadequate data backup in place, guess who they’ll turn to if things go wrong?
All businesses now have an everyday need of data protection and the best way your MSP business can meet this client need is to incorporate some level of automated off site data protection into your backup strategies for clients.
In my next blog post I’ll take a look at the options for MSP’s offering off site data backup – which types of backup are best suited for different clients – and how they can help you grow your MSP businesses recurring revenue and reduce your on-going costs of support.
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