As an IT professional, you’re trained to think in terms of system availability and uptime. A central part of this involves backing up key systems in the event of a disaster. Whether it involved storing information on off-site tapes, running an on-premises backup server or appliance, or backing up systems to the cloud, odds are backup has been a key function of your job for decades.
Yet, the IT landscape has changed quite a bit over the years, and the way we approach backup needs to change as well. As an MSP, you should consider shifting your thinking from traditional backup technologies and processes to thinking in terms of data protection for your customers. This impacts the way you communicate with customers and the technology you choose to protect that data. Today, we’ll discuss what a shift toward data protection means, and the implications it has for your business.
Data Protection vs Backup?
For years, backup was an operational function. You kept most of your systems and data onsite and focused your efforts on maybe one or two critical servers when backing up data. This kept operational costs low and IT operations relatively simple.
However, a few modern trends have upended this approach—we can no longer focus on just one or two on-site servers:
The Rise of Cloud Services
As businesses have increasingly adopted cloud services, more critical data resides offsite. Most cloud vendors take precautions to keep date safe and available—their business depends on that trust. However, nothing is perfect. Look no further than the VFEmail hack for example—the company lost decades’ worth of data. It doesn’t even have to be that dramatic—if a cloud provider has an outage for even a few hours, your customers could be left high and dry, losing key production time.
Cloud services often lead business users into a false sense of security. Users assume the cloud vendor will handle nearly everything; but users who operate without an additional backup for their cloud-stored data put their businesses at risk. As an MSP, you need to help your customers realize that cloud services like Microsoft® Office 365® aren’t backup solutions—and they can’t offer the level of data protection a true backup and recovery solution provides.
The Growth of Cyberthreats
Another important shift over the past few years is the proliferation of cybercrime. We’ve seen the number of reported data breaches rise and have witnessed a major ransomware epidemic that has affected everyone from small dentist offices to entire city governments.
Beyond this, as we mentioned in the previous section, critical data rarely resides only within an organization. But this extends beyond the rise in cloud services—we’ve seen the rise of users working from home and bringing their own devices to work. Each of these devices offers additional access points for cybercriminals. For example, when users take devices on the road with them, they often connect them to unsecured networks. This not only opens that workstation up to security risk, but could cause trouble once someone gets back into the office and connects to the corporate network. In short, you can’t expect data protection to exist within the network’s “perimeter”—you need to protect their critical data wherever it resides.
How This Helps Your Business
The data protection concept can help your MSP business have better conversations with prospects and customers. People don’t often understand the benefits of backup—but they can understand the value of their data.
Make sure to approach these conversations delicately. First, start by asking questions—what data do they rely on each day? What would be catastrophic if they couldn’t recover? And more importantly, what would that mean for their business? Would they face compliance fines, would they lose customers, or could they even go out of business? Try to get the prospect to supply the answers here—this makes it less of “selling” conversation and more of a “collaborative strategy session.”
Once they better understand what data they need to protect, consider explaining some factors of their data protection they may not have considered. For starters, bring up that critical data could be stored in places they may not have thought of such as SaaS applications, specific workstations, or in critical business documents. For example, if customers use Microsoft Office 365, they may be surprised to find out they could lose critical data if they don’t have a backup.
Additionally, it’s important to emphasize the security threats for their data. With the rise of ransomware, businesses could end up unable to recover critical data even if they pay the ransom. Offering extensive data protection coverage via a strong cloud-first backup product lets your customers gain extra protection and peace of mind.
As an industry, it’s time to change the way we think about and approach backing up customer data and systems. Instead of thinking in terms of backup, we should focus on our end goal first—protecting data and systems—and use that both in the way we communicate with customers and in the technology we choose to provide those services.
Speaking of technology, SolarWinds® Backup is built to help you provide extensive data protection services with ease. From one web-based solution, you can protect data on servers, workstations, virtual machines, critical business documents, and Microsoft Office 365 data. Plus, Backup offers multiple recovery options including virtual recovery and bare metal restores within the same system. And by storing multiple copies of data—including offsite in our secure cloud—you can help reduce the risks of losing data to cybercriminals. In short, Backup is built to help you protect data in today’s modern IT landscape. Learn more by visiting solarwindsmsp.com/products/backup today.