How much time do your technicians spend managing backups for each client?
It's easily a full-time job, and yet, maybe only represents a small fraction of their responsibilities. For most MSPs, backup and disaster recovery (BDR) is just one of many offerings in their service portfolios. Clients rely on your round-the-clock technical support to power their businesses. You provide the peace of mind that the entirety of their IT environment remains secure, efficient and online. Understandably, this level of service can result in long hours and overworked technicians.
But what tasks actually consume so much of their time and effort and how much of it is avoidable? With a booming BDR market and the need for constant data accessibility, you certainly don't want technician bandwidth to be a hindrance to the growth of your business continuity services. Instead, think about how you can more efficiently support this offering internally. You should ask yourself if any of your techs are forced to carry out these 11 times, and more importantly, what this could mean for your business.
What does it take to fully manage backup and disaster recovery? The typical BDR tech can be responsible for any of the following low-level maintenance work:
1. Monitoring the local servers and backup appliance for space, performance, hardware and software updates.
2. Verifying backup status onsite and offsite, ensuring that backups run on time, run successfully and that cloud syncs are on schedule.
3. Sifting through tickets for backup-related issues that require attention, such as archive or merge failures.
4. Testing for onsite standby server functionality and performance and offsite virtualized servers.
5. Conducting full-site disaster recovery (DR) testing with user access and VPN setting and optimizing processes and documentation.
Troubleshooting and Remediating
6. Troubleshooting and remediating local appliances and servers if backup processes fail or don't run.
7. Troubleshooting and remediating local appliances and servers if backup verifications fail.
8. Running file and folder restores.
9. Restoring individual emails and entire mailboxes.
10. Performing full Bare Metal Restores.
11. Supporting DR efforts including complete-site rebuilding.
So, I'm sure the lingering question in your mind is why knowing all of this matters. What can you gain from having a better understanding of your staff’s BDR workload?
Reduce the Risk of Employee Turnover
Think about your reasons for leaving a former company. Perhaps your superiors stopped listening or mentoring you, and so you plateaued. Maybe your job took over your life, and you wanted to spend more time with loved ones. What about being in a professional situation that made you question what your opportunities were for upward advancement? All of these circumstances contribute to high employee turnover. And yes, you could struggle to retain IT talent by ignoring these warning signs.
With all of that in mind, let's examine how this can impact employee churn:
Menial work prevents IT career advancement.
After reading over this exhaustive laundry list of to-dos – which really only touches upon each task at a high level – consider how monotonous this routine can become. Do you want your technicians' valuable talents wasted on mundane busy work?
According to Computerworld's IT Salary Survey 2016, when asked what mattered most to them about their job, 27 percent of IT professionals cited having challenging work. Your employees likely don't want to waste time turning dials and pulling levers when they can be contributing to more strategic project initiatives. The leadership in your organization should focus on increasing employee engagement and growing skillsets – perhaps through training! Largely due to rapid technological advancement driven by the Internet of Things, 61 percent of respondents claimed training in specific technologies was most beneficial to their career advancement, followed by IT certification training (40 percent) and leadership training (34 percent). Rather than waste staff time by forcing them to constantly babysit backups, why not offload this labor and invest in their professional development to grow your company from within?
Your employees are already under heightened pressure to increase productivity.
Managing backups is tedious, time-consuming work. It can easily consume your technician's workday, but it's not the only responsibility they have on their plate. 84 percent of respondents indicated feeling the pressure to increase productivity, with more than half expecting their workloads to grow over the next year. And when your clients rely on you to provide full, 24x7x365 data availability and uptime, your techs need to be able to do more than just manage backups.
Are you monitoring employee welfare? To prevent tech burnout, help them achieve a healthier work/life balance. The majority of survey respondents reported being on-call after business hours, contributing to workplace stress. Instead of understaffing and overworking existing personnel, offload behind-the-scenes BDR work to help clients maintain business continuity and staff maintain morale.
Boost Employee Productivity and Retention with Continuum BDR
When you leverage Continuum BDR, our fully-managed BDR solution, your technicians won't have to spend hours each day babysitting backup software, maintaining environments and sifting through alerts. Our platform is pre-configured and proactively identifies critical issues for you, enabling you to verify that client data has been backed up securely and successfully.
Continuum BDR also comes complete with a world-class Network Operations Center (NOC), 700+ engineers, and 24x7 monitoring and troubleshooting. Indeed, we take care of the litany of backup jobs listed above so that you don't have to! This frees your staff to focus on work that actually drives revenue for your managed IT services business, like strengthening client relationships and developing new core competencies. Having fully-managed BDR support means you can redistribute technician hours and restore balance to your workforce. This allows you to give employees more meaningful, challenging work that makes them stickier to your organization and in turn, grows your bottom line. By offloading tedious, margin-diminishing labor, you can more effectively scale your MSP operation as you grow.
By Gretchen Hoffman
By Meaghan Moraes