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December 8, 2014
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December 17, 2014

The 5 Questions MSPs Should Ask About Disaster Recovery Offerings

Photo Credit: Ethan Lofton,

Each month, Gillware participates in a blog exchange with backup and disaster recovery leader StorageCraft Technology. We’ll feature a post from their blog and they’ll share a post from the Gillware blog. This post originally appeared on StorageCraft’s Recovery Zone blog was written by Casey Morgan. We hope you enjoy it, and you can look forward to another like it next month!

According to StorageCraft’s eBook Selling Disaster Recovery as a Service, there are a number of considerations IT providers need to make when it comes to their disaster recovery offering. But before you start asking clients important questions about disaster recovery, you need to make sure you’ve got your offering figured out in a way that makes you profitable while also keeping clients satisfied.

With that in mind, here are some questions to ask yourself about your disaster recovery offering.

Do you know what you’re actually selling?

Before you sell anything, make sure you know what it is you’re selling. Clients won’t always see the benefits of disaster recovery if there’s a higher cost—they may think they’re only paying for simple backups. Make sure they know that the real value is in the quick recovery options. Once they see that you can get up and running from a backup lightning quick, they’ll start to understand. Backups in themselves have little value, but a turbo-quick recovery has loads of value. More than that, clients are paying for the peace of mind in knowing their provider (you) has their back, and if systems do go down, they’ve got little to worry about.

Do you fully understand recovery objectives?

Every client probably has different recovery objectives. Some businesses can’t suffer much downtime at all, but other businesses can. You need to understand the recovery metrics like recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO) so you can have conversations about these goals with your clients and prospects. Put simply, these objectives help businesses determine how long a piece of equipment can be down, and how much data they can afford to lose. For a detailed look at these metrics, read What is RPO? and What is RTO?

Do you have the proper service agreements?

In essence, a service agreement is a contract between you and your client that outlines the results you’re guaranteeing (i.e., how much up-time they can expect, what machines and software you’re managing, how quickly they can expect you to resolve problems, etc.), as well as the business side of the deal. Service agreements allow your clients to know what to expect from your services, and they also put you in control of your services and let you manage client’s expectations. One thing to consider is whether you will use one service agreement for everyone or keep it flexible so you can manage individual clients.

Do you have a flexible delivery method?

Businesses all have different goals and you definitely don’t want to sell them things they don’t need. After you’ve discussed their recovery objectives, you’ll need to know how to deliver the backup and recovery systems that meet their objectives and budgets. Be flexible when it comes to how you deliver these services.

Do you know how you’ll prove value?

A lot of providers setup backups but forget to show ongoing value to clients. Reporting will show clients that backups are kicking off and can be recovered. Many solutions will allow you to set up various alerts that tell you if something is wrong, but it’s always a nice boost of confidence for clients to know that everything is going right, so be sure to keep them posted.

Of course, knowing backups kicked off as planned is great, but it’s nothing next to testing a backup. Make sure testing backups is a regular part of your service offering—you and your clients need to be positive you can recover. This will build your confidence in your ability to recover and their confidence in you as a provider.