In the realm of IT services, backup and disaster recovery (DR) are among the most essential, but also some of the most profitable. With options ranging from file-and-folder services to cloud-based backup and more, the challenge isn’t just backing up and recovering data, it’s finding the right way to do it. Any solution you use must be easy to deploy and manage, or you’ll reduce profit potential when you factor in overhead. For an elegant-yet-powerful way to provide DR services to clients, many MSPs are deploying backup and disaster recovery (BDR) appliances. Here’s why you might want to do the same and what you should think about as you get started.
Why a BDR Makes SenseMany BDR appliances pack a bevy of backup and recovery features into one slick little box. In general, they’re simple to set up and maintain but don’t skimp on powerful recovery features like onsite or even cloud-based virtualization. When you can control several BDRs and their associated backups through a single dashboard, you start to shrink management costs, putting profit right back in your pocket. Better still, some BDRs are available for a simple monthly fee. This makes it easy to add BDRs to the monthly service fees your client already has.
Finding the Right SolutionAs you look at BDR options, it’s wise to consider who in your client portfolio might actually use it. Niche products might make sense for some clients—but is there a BDR flexible enough that it works for most of your clients? Also, if you’re already familiar with a vendor’s backup and recovery solution, it might make sense to standardize on the hardware the vendor provides as well. Why use multiple vendors when one has hardware and software down to a science? In any case, there are a few questions you should ask about a BDR appliance before you go all in:
- Is it easy to set up and manage?
- Is it designed for backup storage, or can you use it for a full system recovery?
- Is it easy to add features like backup mirroring or cloud-based backups?
- Can you add more storage if you need to?
- Does the BDR’s pricing model make it easy for you to sell it to your clients?
- Will the solution fit a tiered backup and DR pricing model? (more on this later)
- Will it play nicely with software you already use?
- What is it like to manage one remotely? What’s it like to manage a hundred remotely?
Focusing on the Value of UptimeYour clients understand the value of a good backup, but do they understand the value of uptime? Have you chatted with them about how costly it is for their networks and systems to be down? Do they know that you can do a lot to prevent it? As you think about how to sell a BDR, position it as an essential piece of hardware that not only handles your backups, but also ensures uptime. If a server or critical piece of equipment goes down, a BDR makes sure they’re minutes—even seconds—away from getting back to business. For your small monthly fee, they get peace of mind knowing their data is secure and their downtime is minimal.
Creating Tiered Options Based on Client NeedsThere are a lot of ways to price a BDR offering, but many MSPs find a tiered option most effective. A tiered model helps your clients get exactly what they need while also allowing you to focus on just a handful of approaches. The right BDR solution can help make this easy by giving you access to premium options with just a few clicks. And while you should give clients options, note that the more options they have, the more difficult it can be for them to decide what to buy. A big list causes analysis paralysis, so it’s wise to give them no more than three options to make the decision simple. Below is an example of how you could approach pricing tiers, but you may want to pick three levels instead of all five.
- Managed backup
- Backup + onsite recovery
- Backup + onsite recovery + cloud storage
- Backup + onsite recovery + cloud storage + cloud recovery
- Backup + onsite recovery + cloud storage + mirroring + cloud recovery
ConclusionThere are a lot of ways to sell backup and recovery, but few options for SMBs are as straightforward and effective as a backup and disaster recovery appliance. If you’re looking for ways to make BDR easier or just more profitable, it’s time to consider how a BDR can help you keep your client’s data safe and your pockets full.
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