3 Ways MSPs Can Satisfy Short RTO Requirements

Chris Crellin, TK
Author: Chris Crellin

How much IT system downtime can your customers afford before it hurts their business?

If you have a customer with a short recovery time objective (RTO), you may be struggling to meet that service level. RTO, the maximum amount of time a business can withstand from the time an outage occurs until operations are restored, varies widely from business to business. For some industries, RTO may be measured in hours, but other industries, such as healthcare or finance, may have RTOs measured in minutes due to their steady streams of new, crucial data.

When an outage occurs, your customers will turn to you to get their businesses operational again. Follow these three best practices to ensure you’re exceeding your customers’ RTO requirements.

1. Understand your customers’ RTO and RPO requirements. Before you install a system intended to ensure business availability, you need to ask the right questions so you can help your customer select the best solution to meet its needs.

Keep in mind that your customer may not have given any thought to RTO or even recovery point objective (RPO), the maximum amount of data it can afford to lose between backups. Your contact also may never have considered what it would be like to face an outage and the negative impact it could have on the business.

Help your customer determine which systems are critical and need to be restored immediately, and which ones are lower priorities. Ask whether they need to archive data—either for themselves or their customers—and if so, what the specific retention and access requirements are. Be sure to determine whether the customer must comply with regulatory or industry requirements for business continuity as well.

Next, determine the optimal time between backups. Make sure your client understands that the system you install will be able to restore data to a specific point in time and that data entered beyond that time would be lost.

2. Implement a hybrid BDR solution. Using only on-premises backup solutions offers no protection in the event of a power outage or natural disaster, and offering only cloud backups has bandwidth limitations that likely can’t meet shorter RTOs. The best strategy is implementing a hybrid solution that offers both on-premises and cloud-based backup and recovery capabilities, giving customers the best of both worlds.

Hybrid solutions that support Microsoft Hyper-V or VMware vSphere virtualization offer even greater advantages. For example, if there’s an on-site hardware failure, a solution supporting vSphere or Hyper-V allows for faster recovery times. Additionally, in the event of a widespread outage or natural disaster, you can run business applications on virtual machines in the cloud, and users can access them from another office location, their homes, or even their mobile devices.

3. Integrate BDR with RMM and PSA. When it comes to system failures and outages, MSPs play a key role in maintaining business continuity. Hybrid solutions that provide centralized management capabilities make this responsibility easier to fulfill. It’s also important to make sure your hybrid BDR is integrated with your remote monitoring and management (RMM) and professional services automation (PSA) tools to ensure customer problems are prioritized and addressed in a timely fashion and duplicate data entry is avoided. Integration with RMM and PSA tools also provides the flexibility needed to scale the business.

These features aren’t just valuable when you need to meet a specific RTO. They also facilitate the day-to-day management of your customers’ IT environments, and they are essential for providing backup and disaster recovery as a service to your clients.

Hybrid BDR solutions are the standard every MSP should be selling. Not only do they provide customers with data protection against a wide array of threats, they also help your company support shorter RTOs, which helps your customers satisfy the requirements of regulated industries and helps your company better differentiate itself from competitors.

Chris Crellin is senior director of product management for Intronis MSP Solutions by Barracuda. Read more Intronis MSP Solutions guest blogs here.