If you’re an MSP, you face an unfortunate dilemma around backup. Many businesses want minimal backup coverage to keep their monthly tab low. Yet, at the same time, the moment something that isn’t covered—say a specific laptop with sensitive data on it—gets hit with ransomware or a data loss incident, your customers will likely still want to blame you if you can’t recover (even if they opted to leave that data unprotected). This certainly isn’t a good situation for your MSP business.
Unfortunately, people often just see the line-item on their invoice and think of backup as a cost, rather than a value-add; however, they do typically get the value of their data. Without access to critical data, business operations grind to a screeching halt. But backup can be a business driver for your MSP as long as you know how to think of it correctly. This means shifting the way you think and talk from focusing on backup (the technology) to dataprotection (the value).
Once you’ve sold data protection, you need to be able to deliver on your promises. If you have a good backup solution in place, you can offer data protection services that help you win new customers, keep them for longer, and retain more of your revenue. Here’s what to look for in a backup solution.
1. Win new business with flexibility
One thing your solution needs is flexibility. You need the adaptability to protect and restore data down to the file and folder level all the way up to complete environments. Some of your clients will need full-blown standby systems, while others will simply want copies of a small portion of critical data. Customers have different data protection needs, so make sure to choose backup technology that can support the gamut.
There’s another benefit to this flexibility. We mentioned in the introduction that many customers bristle at the idea of paying to cover their full data environment. Choosing a flexible backup solution allows you to start small, then inch up their data protection services over time. For example, you might win a new client by protecting critical business documents; however, as you demonstrate value, you may start backing up more and more of their environment. A flexible tool lets you move up the value curve, earn more revenue, and keep your customers even more protected.
2. Retain more customers
Once you earn customers, you want to keep them. To do so, you need to both protect customers’ data and also demonstrate the value of your services. This involves a mixture of both processes and tools.
Here’s what you need to do:
Automate and test backups: Set your backup solution to back up data automatically on a set schedule across your customer base. Don’t just stop at automation—you want to periodically test whether you can easily recover customers’ data. You can charge for this service if customers need extensive daily testing, but even if customers don’t, make sure to test your backups regularly anyway.
Keep customers in the loop: Data protection services can be invisible. The value you provide becomes more apparent after a data recovery event, but ultimately, you want to reinforce your value as often as possible. Find a solution that lets you send custom reports on data protection coverage and daily backups to demonstrate the value you provide.
Choose multiple recovery options: When selecting a backup solution, make sure it can handle multiple recovery methods, including file- or folder-level restores or full bare metal recovery. You want to be able to pick the appropriate, quickest recovery option for each customer’s situation.
3. Keep more of what you earn
When you shift the focus from backup (technology) to data protection (value to the customer), you may start earning more revenue. But that’s only one side of the equation—you also want to run an efficient operation that lets you keep more of what you earn.
There are a few things to consider here. First, focus on the ease-of-use of your potential backup product. When trying out the product, make sure your technicians can quickly learn their day-to-day tasks. Second, try to consolidate your customer base onto one platform. This lets your technicians spend less time on backup management and more time on other lucrative, billable projects. Plus, your techs are less likely to make mistakes when dealing with only one platform. Finally, try to choose a cloud-first product that lets you back up and restore quickly without requiring you to buy an expensive appliance. This should save some overhead costs.
The value of data protection
For many businesses, a data loss incident can be catastrophic. When you shift the conversation from backup to data protection, you start speaking more directly to your customers’ concerns. And if you have the right backup solution to help deliver data protection services, it can help you earn new revenue, reduce churn, and improve your margins.
SolarWinds® Backup is designed to help you do just this—provide exceptional data protection services while keeping efficiency high and costs low. SolarWinds Backup is also built cloud-first to allow for fast data transfers to and from the cloud, while also allowing you to keep an optional local copy using any hardware you choose (no need for a costly backup appliance). Learn more by visiting solarwindsmsp.com/products/backup today.