There are numerous challenges experienced by managed service providers when dealing with marketing and selling backup and disaster recovery planning services to existing and potential customers. IT experts understand the importance of this element for every business. However, communicating the significance of data backups and disaster recovery planning solutions to regular, non-techie people often proves difficult to convey. Let’s start off by differentiating between the two.

What is Backup?

Backups or backing up is a scheduled event in which tapes or disks are used for storing backup data either in the cloud or at another geographical location, like a co-location. This data is stored at a different location for the purpose of protecting it. Should you lose the files, either through disaster or simply by deleting them or overwriting them, you can just restore them from the saved copies that were backed up. But in order for this to work, the copies of your files must be updated regularly. Most backup software lets you schedule scans of your hard drive for new and changed files daily, weekly, or monthly, but my preferred option is to have the software continually (or at least, say, every 15 minutes) monitor your drive for changed or new files.

Cloud backup is a highly recommended and practiced process. The big plus being that the data is off your premises, and therefore not susceptible to local disasters. The downside is that they tie you to annual fees, and uploading and downloading backups is slower than loading local copies.

What is Disaster Recovery Planning?

Disaster Recovery Planning is a cloud based environment where all of your businesses vital information is stored, monitored and protected. This solution allows for entire networks and environments to be replicated at another location should it be necessary. For example- A flash flood hits your business, your server room is floating in 2 inches of flood water and your server with 5 years’ worth of your businesses files, customer information, finances…etc., is ruined. Since you’ve prepared for something potentially crippling, there is a full cloud environment with every operating piece, customer file, word document, custom made business application, marketing material- basically your entire business- is all right there, nothing lost, aside from the physical office space, and can be sent to any location needed. Pretty smart.  

In summary, you can see the two are vastly different. Backups protect your files and business information back to a certain point and must be a frequently administered process in order to keep an entire business going should something happen. Disaster Recovery is for the entire cloud environment and can replicate and restore your data to any new location.

Why You May Not Know You Need It:

The difficulty in justifying the value of backups and disaster recovery technology to business owners can be attributed to a few things. Most managed service companies employ individuals based on their technical background. They’re geared more toward the technology, not marketing it, therefor, marketing skills to convince customers to implement backups or a disaster recovery plan, can prove challenging. Another contributing factor is the overwhelming potential cost of backups and disaster recovery planning, especially when a customer has a so called “data protection solution” software in place that they believe is protecting them.

Current Event- Delta Airlines, August 2016

August 2016, Delta Airlines has to cancel more than 1,300 flights, costing over $100 million, not because of bad weather, but because the company’s computer systems went down. If it can happen to a big corporation like Delta, don’t think it can’t happen to you. All technology, whether it’s a brand-new iMac, a spaceship, a hover board, a webmail service, or a ten-year-old PC running Windows Vista, can potentially take a sudden nosedive. Hard drives crash, a lot. Ransomware is as real a threat as your house being robbed, and sometimes technology isn’t even to blame. Natural disasters: Fires, floods, tornados, hurricanes…you name it, they all happen without warning. Laptops get stolen. Point is, you need insurance and assurance that your protected when s**t hits the fan.

Some examples of data protection software and online subscription methods that you may already be using that most believe are providing the same benefits and protection as a managed service provider would:

  • EaseUS Todo Backup Free
  • Google Backup and Sync
  • Cobian Backup
  • Paragon Backup and Recovery
  • FBackup
  • COMODO Backup
  • AOMEI Bakcupper Standard
  • FileFort Backup
  • BackUp MakerDriveImage XML
  • Carbonite
  • Barracuda
  • Mosey Online

Now this isn’t to say that these subscriptions and software’s are not reputable options that can get the job done, but are often done incorrectly or not frequently enough and when the stuff does hit the fan, clients are left crippled and wondering where they possibly went wrong and how in the world they are going to recover without years’ worth of information. This is when the emergency unfolds and the calls and pleas of desperation for CCSI to please figure out a way to find their backed-up information come in.

The facts Are:

  • A managed service provider is paid to ensure that your businesses information is backed up, protected and up to date, eliminating that one extra thing for you to do to try and save yourself a few bucks.
  • The integrity of your backups is not being tested when you do it yourself through these programs. This is a vital component to backups and is often over looked. If the integrity of our backup is no good then everything from that moment forward is a wash and waste of time because it is unrecoverable.
  • Backups are not as easy and click, schedule and rest easy like these programs make them seem. They are a daily operation that needs to be closely monitored. In a 30-day period an average of 8 anomalies for a single business happen. Do you really like those odds being left to a program?
  • Technology fails and has limitations. You may be confident in your backups, firewalls, anti-malware, but these are all limited in their function. It is where the technology fails that a trained, educated individual cleans up the mess and puts things back to regular working order ensuring the process will deliver the desired result in the future when it is needed. We’ve become too reliant on technology and the click of a button then have an all-out melt down when the easy clicking fails us. Prevent the issue from even happening and do it correct the first time around.
  • Backup plans and disaster recovery solutions are NOT ridiculously expensive. The real cost is not if but when a system fails and all of your business information is lost. That is the cost of your entire business and closing your doors for good. Most don’t recover from such events. $100/month to ensure your business vital information is restorable and protected is a very small price to pay in comparison to the alternative of not having it.
  • Disaster Recovery planning is the more expensive option of the two but it is quite literally your entire businesses infrastructure, every single file, customer, business specific application, email…etc. a digital copy of your business readily available to be sent to another server at any location should the need arise. More expensive yes, also smarter…

The advantage of backing up data and preparing for disaster recovery is that the tech will provide a safety net on which the company can fall if the worst does happen. CCSI provides solutions to implement either with affordable rates and plans to keep your business protected, up and running regardless of what the word throws at you.