Q: My MSP business just introduced backup and recovery as a part of our service offering. When we need to perform a restore for a customer, we’re under tight time restrictions and need to get their data back as quickly as possible. So we want to make sure our process for restoring our customer’s data is really efficient. What are some of the best practices we can follow to speed things up and keep our customers happy?
We get it. In today’s crowded MSP market, small businesses are demanding IT solution providers who can deliver nearly 24/7 uptime, and that can be tough to do. When your small business customers experience a server crash or disaster, you’re responsible for restoring their information right away, ideally before they even notice there’s a problem.
We’ve been there alongside our partners when their customers experience a disaster and we’ve seen what a difference a quick recovery can make for these SMBs. That’s why there are a number of things to support the rigorous RTO and RPO’s partners have promised their customers. So we asked John Farrell, one of the product managers at Intronis MSP Solutions, to share his best practices for more efficient restores.
1. Use an image backup
If your customer has a large number of files (we’re talking about millions of files), we recommend that you use an image-based backup. It is far more efficient to back up and restore this many files at the volume level than at the file level. Using an image backup of your customer’s data will allow you to safeguard all of the applications and information they need to stay productive.
2. Take a hybrid approach
Deploying a hybrid backup solution is another way to make the restore process more efficient. By hybrid approach, we mean local and off-site backup. We see value in this because we know that most restores are needed due to user error or hardware failure. In these cases, you can recover most quickly from a local backup. Having data stored in two separate locations is also important, though, in case a site disaster eliminates the availability of the locally stored data. That’s why we suggest you take a hybrid approach to backup.
3. Use object-level recovery
Now that you have an image backup, use object-level restore. Object-level recovery provides near-instant access to your customer’s latest backup, and you can remotely restore files back to their original location—without requiring a remote session to your customer’s system. The ability to restore back to the file’s original location saves you time moving files around after the restore is done.
4. Back up only critical data
Be picky, especially if you have bandwidth or storage concerns. Make sure you’re only backing up your customer’s critical data. Do this by making informed selections and setting specific exclusion rules—only after you’ve discussed them with your customer, of course. For Intronis partners, backups automatically exclude files that don’t need to be backed up, such as the page or hiberate files.
By sharing John’s tips for running more efficient restores, we hope that we’ve given you the tools you need to recover your customer’s data in record time.
Ask an MSP Expert is a weekly advice column answering common questions from MSPs and IT service providers. It covers topics ranging from pricing and selling to marketing and communications—and everything in between.