Nobody likes downtime – it interrupts the flow of business, shakes the confidence of customers, and can cost businesses meaningful revenue and transactions.
Frequently, downtime converts a happy customer to an unhappy one. It also increases the stress on your employees to get things up and running, sometimes in haste, which can lead to other issues. Ultimately, downtime often results in lost data and irreparable damage.
In a world where ransomware and malware are becoming far too common, businesses can’t just rely on hope and superficial security tactics, they need to prepare for the worst … because the worst keeps happening. Ransomware damages reached $5 billion in 2017, and there’s no reason for the bad actors perpetrating these digital heists to slow down with paydays of that size.
Outages can impact even the largest companies that rely on their systems for critical operations. This year we’ve already seen AWS, Google Cloud, Visa, Slack and Comcast go offline and cause massive disruptions, not to mention previous years where airlines came to a screeching halt when their systems tanked and natural disasters took data centers offline for extended periods.
Although your customers likely aren’t that big and complicated, it illustrates that no environment is truly safe from a disruption – and why every customer should be planning for their eventuality just as hard as they’re working to avoid them.
Accepting Realities and Planning for Downtime
As an IT service provider, your pitch to customers should not only include all of the ways you’re going to keep their data safe and systems running; you should also be including how to help them minimize disruptions and damage if and when an outage does occur.
This doesn’t undercut your value and messaging about remote monitoring, malware detection, and access controls. On the contrary, it reinforces that you fully acknowledge the seriousness of security and business continuity, which is why you’re prepared for every possible scenario, including unpleasant situations where digital defenses are overwhelmed, systems are offline, and data is destroyed.
Adding Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) to your portfolio can take you to the next level with your customer base due to the strategic and customized nature of the offering. First and foremost, it’s really a consultative sale where you’re doing more than just pushing an off-the-shelf product as a reseller but really breaking down what the customer needs:
Insights and Priorities
To properly scope and plan for disaster recovery, you must understand which of your customer’s systems simply cannot weather a significant outage and which aren’t so important that a little downtime won’t throw things into total disarray. The same goes for data – what requires constant instant access and what must merely be preserved for historical purposes or regulatory compliance.
Plans before Products
Yes, there are plenty of services and appliances you can sell to your customers to address business continuity and disaster recovery, but far more important is working with them to develop the plan that will kick in when things go awry. This collaborative effort adds significant value for your customers and ensures you’ll eventually offering the right suite of solutions when they’re finally ready to make a purchase decision.
An ongoing Conversation
Businesses are constantly evolving, and their disaster recovery plans need to be continuously adjusted to meet those changing requirements. Should local solutions be added for single hardware failures to complement a larger cloud-based solution? Has usage grown enough since the initial planning that their disaster recovery needs have swelled as well? Are they a multi-site organization that can leverage their disaster recovery infrastructure for general off-premise storage purposes as well?
Building a Partnership of Trust
When a company gives you their disaster recover business, they must be extremely confident in their decision. Which is where your combination of technical knowledge, insights into the particulars of their business, and arsenal of powerful tools and solutions come into play. With this trust established and the continual nature of a DRaaS in play, you’re now at the point where you can embrace your consultative selling position.
Deciding which machines to replicate and provide cloud-based failover options for isn’t always easy, and your customers will look to you for providing guidance and advice on how to maximize protection while still staying within their budget. Similarly, you can help them determine just what class of disaster recovery service they need in terms of how quickly failover systems must kick in and how much horsepower those backups need compared to their usual fleet of servers.
You can also give customers the confidence they desire with recovery assurance testing that actually evaluates whether the plan and allocated backup systems are inclusive enough and capable of keeping their core business processes running during an outage.
Not Optional for Long
Disaster recovery and business continuity solutions present a serious opportunity for MSPs. Your customers’ customers don’t have the patience to wait for systems to come back up. With the fast-paced world and demands they have, they lose patience fast and will jump ship to a more reliable provider.
Thus, the full burden is on the MSP to get the systems back up ASAP so their customers do not lose customers.
Building redundant, secondary locations simply doesn’t make sense when cloud-based solutions like Kaseya Unified Backup can meet customer requirements at a far lower cost and without making any unnecessary, option-limiting hardware investments.
Adding DRaaS to your portfolio will not only increase your value to current customers, but it will also provide a healthy, ongoing revenue stream that can improve your margins and fuel further expansion and growth opportunities.
Even if customers aren’t asking for it quite yet, disaster recovery will rapidly be table stakes for any MSP looking to service customers taking a thoughtful, proactive approach to their IT needs. This is one party you won’t want to be late to.