Running data backups is a practice that has been around for decades. The technologies may have changed, but the tasks of backup and replication are no less daunting and mundane for MSP’s, their clients and their technical teams. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a solution that could offload some of those repetitive, time-intensive backup tasks for your clients while offering you new revenue streams and opportunities to scale your business?
According to the panelists in our hangout, “How MSPs Make More Money with BDR,” that’s where having a backup and disaster recovery tool, like Continuum Recover, comes in handy.
Meet the Panelists
During the hangout, we discussed best practices and tips for making BDR a profitable part of an MSP business. Here are some of the top takeaways from the panel discussion.
Centralize and Standardize
When it comes to the BDR space, there are no one-size fits all backup solutions. According to our panelists, standardization of your offering and centralized management are key to ensuring high profitability and economies of scale.
Our first panelist, Peter Melby of Greystone Technologies, had this to say: “If you're having to manage 13 different solutions based on whatever the client preferences or whatever your individual tech thinks might be the best technical solution in a certain situation, you're not going to grow the economies of scale in the management and maintenance and oversight of those backup solutions. It's also hard to drive strong vendor partnerships if you're too fragmented."
Peter felt it was better to focus your offering around a core set of backup products and have one person or a small, centralized team so there’s a single source of accountability. It also avoids having the skillset diluted across the organization.
Our second panelist, Whit Enrich of Hill Country Tech Guys, added: “Make sure you're tracking the time it takes to maintain your solution so you can keep an eye on the profitability and how much it truly costs to manage a BDR…there's the hidden costs of labor, round trips, onsite visits or the sneaky stuff that can truly change the price.” And reducing administration costs by centralizing and standardizing your BDR offering will lead to higher profit margins.
Utilize a Network Operations Center (NOC)
Having a NOC-assisted BDR solution was something both of our panelists couldn’t live without and was a highly recommended part of their solutions portfolio offered through Continuum. Offloading routine maintenance, backup testing and server restores opened time for these MSPs to focus on their business instead of getting distracted by the day-to-day grind.
Continuum’s Senior Director of Product Management, Dave LeClair, our third panelist, explained, “What's really different about our solution is that we are a NOC-assisted platform. Our network operations center is there to help with routine backup tasks and to give a little bit of value back to the partner, so they don't have to spend all their time managing backup.”
Whit noted, “The most important thing about BDR is that it’s reliable, dependable, and reoccurring…the NOC takes that workload of resetting VSS writers, updating agents, repairing backups, server restores, testing, all off your plate. So, if we want to do an offsite test, it's a matter of sending an email and a couple of days later they say the test is ready.
Where it really sets itself apart is when we need to restore a server. You’re not sitting there all night or weekend long dealing with the restore. You can trust them to take that workload from you.” Looking at average cost of labor along with the time saved by offloading those tasks, MSP’s can quickly and easily see how a NOC could improve their bottom line.
Understand the Customer's Business and Risk Tolerance
It’s easy for both MSPs and their customers to acknowledge the need to back up their data. Understanding why a customer needs backup, what their tolerance is for downtime and data loss and what data and applications drive their business is important when selecting a BDR vendor to work with.
Peter explained, “When we're assessing which offering and vendor to partner with, I recommend MSPs look at the overall situation, the product, the support layer, and the partnership. He added, “It's easier to sell with greater margins when you're selling a solution to a problem, not just a product.”
Understanding the customer profile helps you deliver the right sized BDR solution that will meet the needs of their business while driving the highest profit for the MSP. Whit noted, “Medium to large organizations are very sensitive to downtime and time to resolution when an event happens. You must look at your business model and the customer you're talking to. A smaller shop that has less employees, less data, might not be as sensitive to that.”
He also added, “BDR has been the most consistent and most common solution for us over the years. At the smaller end or at the larger end, we've encountered unique situations where it doesn't fit— like if somebody is fully cloud based, for example, but looking at what solutions you need to blanket in an entire disaster response, BDR is going to be at the center for most clients.”
BDR has become even more important as the last line of defense in the age of Ransomware and cybercrime. If you don’t have a way to quickly recover data in the event of an attack, natural disaster or human error, that means lost revenue for your clients with the blame largely falling on their technical service providers.
MSPs have a responsibility to educate their clients on the gaps their current backup and disaster recovery plans and technologies may have against the future wave of threats to their data. They can help clients focus on building a complete disaster recovery and business continuity plan, while opening a conversation about ways their BDR solutions can help solve some of the key challenges they will encounter creating opportunities for new revenue.
Check out the rest of the informative dialog in this hangout, “How MSPs Make More Money with BDR.”