Ask an MSP Expert

Q: I’m currently transitioning my business from a VAR to an MSP, and I’m having a hard time convincing my customers to jump on board with Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service. What are some approaches I can use to highlight the value of these services?

Getting new SMB customers on board with managed services can be a challenge, especially when it comes to disaster recovery services. According to a Nationwide survey, 75 percent of small businesses don’t have a disaster recovery plan in place. Most SMBs think a disaster won’t affect them—however, that is simply not the case.

To help you get more customers to sign up for Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service, we talked to Matt McCarthy, director of new MSP sales at Barracuda MSP. He shared his advice and best practices for convey the value of disaster recovery services to your SMB customers.

Prepare your SMBs from the potential impact of a disaster

When you’re presenting Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service to your SMB customers, you want to focus on what the business impact will be if all their data is lost. A good example is payroll and invoices. If an SMB’s data is destroyed, how will they know what to pay their employees for the period or how much to bill their customers? If an SMB doesn’t have a disaster recovery plan in place, these two factors can really hurt their cash flow. Another important area of discussion is compliance for regulated industries, such as healthcare. Data loss of any kind in these types of industries can result in hefty fines and unhappy customers.

While it’s essential for businesses in highly regulated industries to put these plans in place, it’s important for other businesses to do so as well because downtime can be extremely costly to a small business. If a customer isn’t using a DRaaS solution, it can be more time-consuming and expensive to restore and rebuild damaged servers, and business operations will often have to be on hold until these fixes are complete. By having a plan in place and failover in the cloud available, small businesses have instant access to their business-critical data, making it possible for them to get up and running quickly while any necessary repairs are made. 

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Try to weave in examples to illustrate the importance of implementing a DRaaS plan. A good salesperson will always have a story to tell that’s relatable, such as a client who didn’t have DRaaS and lost their data, couldn’t send out invoices, or couldn’t pay their employees. This will give your customer more insight into how a disaster could affect them.

 4 best practices to keep SMBs’ data safe

Once you’ve gotten your SMB customers on board with DRaaS, implement these best practices to successful protect their data:

  1. Keep multiple backups. Depending on which industry the SMB is in, there should be at least 30 days’ worth of backups, more if they’re in a highly regulated industry. That way, if malware corrupts the SMB’s data, there will be multiple versions to choose from, making it more likely you’ll find a clean backup from before the infection took place. When an SMB only has backups going back a day or a week, often they’ll be up a creek.
  2. Backup to the cloud and on site. By having backups in multiple locations, an SMB can rebound from different types of data loss disasters. Having an on-site backup solution can help customers quickly restore data after a ransomware attack or a server failure. However, in the case of a sitewide disaster like a fire or flood, having cloud backup can help customers pull the data down remotely to continue their operations. The restore time for cloud backups is slightly longer, but it’s certainly better than the alternative if onsite backups are lost or damaged in the disaster.
  3. Test backups frequently. A test restore is a good way to ensure that a customer’s data is being backed up properly. The test only takes a few minutes, but it will show whether or not their data is in a good state and restorable. Having a backup solution in place doesn’t mean anything if the restore isn’t successful.
  4. Find the right solution for the SMB’s environment. When you’re backing up data, you should always be application aware and find the solution that is best suited for each customer’s environment. For example, for Exchange and SQL find a plugin that works, or for customers that need faster restores consider a solution that lets you send an image to cloud or preform a bare metal restore.

While it may be difficult to convince your customers to implement Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service, by following Matt’s advice, you’ll be one step closer to protecting their businesses for today’s evolving threats. Backup isn’t everything, though. For complete data protection, SMBs need to have the right security solutions in place as well, such as email security and firewalls. This can help you prevent attacks from happening, rather than just focusing on assisting with recovery when they do. But, but adding DRaaS, you’re off to a good start.

Photo: Photo:  Olivier Le Moal / Shutterstock.

Lauren Beliveau

Posted by Lauren Beliveau

Lauren is an Editorial Associate at Barracuda MSP. In this position, she creates and develops content that helps managed service providers grow their business. She also regularly writes The MSP’s Bookshelf and our Ask an MSP Expert column.

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