Before a managed services provider can have marketing success they should have an actionable backup and data recovery solution. Before they provide that solution to clients, they’ve got to test it. A backup and data recovery plan is basically a digital parachute in the event your data aircraft is shot down by hackers. Now, even a parachute has an additional backup chute in case something goes awry. And chutes are specifically folded and tested beforehand to ensure that everything is in order. If you’ve never been skydiving, in most cases before you actually jump out of an airplane, you’re going to take a class which helps familiarize you with what will happen, how it will feel, and how to react when the moment of truth comes.
Before you get your driver’s license, you’re going to want to practice driving. Even on luxury cruises, before the cruise gets underway there is a ship-wide drill to familiarize passengers with emergency procedures should the worst-case scenario arise.
When it comes to backup solutions, you’ve simply got to do the same thing. Because there are a number of potential problems any backup and data recovery plan may have, you want to ensure whatever solution you’re employing won’t be subject to common problems. Some of those problems include:
• Critical data not backing up properly
• Rebooting systems may take longer than projected
• Recovering data with new servers may induce compatibility issues
If you don’t test your systems, you won’t know if the data will back up as the system has been designed to. Regular backups can take anywhere from a few moments to many hours. And when you’re putting backed up data on a backup server, there could be issues with that server’s compatibility. If you haven’t conducted some kind of test before an issue arises, any of these three and other issues could arise. Should your managed services fail to deliver, there’s a very high likelihood you’ll lose client and this will affect your marketing efforts as well!
So how do you conduct tests? Well, first you’re going to want to put together a list of steps that will necessarily be involved in the process. You’ll want to go over those steps with the personnel involved in facilitating a recovery in the time of emergency, and ensure everyone is acquainted with their position in these scenarios. As an MSP, it’s not “if” you encounter backup difficulties, it’s “when.” Statistically, should you have multiple clients that don’t utilize cloud support options, you’re going to have backups on a regular basis. Even if you’re using cloud solutions, the need for a quick and robust recovery is still high.
Once everyone is aware of the role they play, it’s time to conduct a full-blown simulation. You’ll want to schedule this during a quiet time, when there are no other distractions. If possible, you want to conduct such tests with the businesses for whom you’re providing services, which requires coordination— this is definitely tricky. You’ll want to schedule such simulations far in advance if you can.
When the simulation has been run, you’ll want to ensure that all servers and necessary systems are included. You want to test recovered data to ensure that the recovery is complete.
Be sure and document the time involved in conducting such recovery solutions, and any issues that occur during the simulation. If the problems are minor and can be ironed out without too much difficulty, then by all means, solve those problems. If they’re major, you are lucky to have conducted the simulation.
Reliability in Recovery
If you’re able to test recovery options, you’re operating with a known quantity. If you haven’t tested those options, then you may be selling clients a lemon, and that is worse for business than not having a backup and recovery solution at all. If you don’t have it, you can’t get “dinged” for doing a poor job providing. If you have it and do a bad job with it, that will lose you future clients. Managed services providers must always be tested, regardless of the opinions of certain personnel on your team. Schedule testing, and operate securely and you will also have marketing success!
Nathan Rizzo is Vice President of Rx Technology providing Technology Construction and IT Support with Headquarters in San Antonio, Texas. Nathan served as the Director of Business Development before spearheading the Managed Service Provider team in San Antonio which has turned Rx Technology into one of the premier IT Service firms in San Antonio that provides state-of-the-art cyber security in San Antonio and Texas.
Nathan received his M.B.A. in 2009 from the University of Dallas. Prior to joining Rx Technology, Nathan worked as a technology specialist delivering a wide range of offerings for litigation and internal investigations, in addition to government and regulatory requests. He has also been a partner in an interactive web marketing firm.