Are you looking to add BDR (backup and disaster recovery) services to your recurring revenue offerings but unsure where to start? Tim Brown, VP of Security at SolarWinds MSP, has some timely advice.
Which types of customers are a good fit for BDR?
At some level, most customers are a fit for BDR services – I’d say more than 90% of most MSPs’ (managed services providers) clients have some need for BDR. However, some need more robust services than others. A tiered approach allows you to serve the varying needs of your customers. The client is willing to absorb a certain threshold of cost. Not everybody will fit into that full planning test model, so be prepared to offer entry-level services up to comprehensive benefits.
What kind of investment is required to get started in BDR?
You’ll need training, certification, and starter equipment. The starting point does not necessarily need to be complex. It can be managing a workstation or servers and backing them up. From there, you can perform quarterly test recovery and a program to prepare the client in case of a disaster. That’s a basic level of service. When building a more extensive program, you must consider what you’re comfortable with for your business and what will fit your clients. Next, you’ll need people who can appropriately discuss and implement your BDR service. Again, this will require some training.
Where would an MSP go for training?
ISO training is an excellent place to start, and vendors also offer training. BDR should be considered a component of business continuity – there is a great deal of training and material on business continuity. NIST has an excellent complete program under NIST 800-34. This may be too much for many, but looking at a complete program and adjusting to your needs is good. BRCCI is another resource.
How long does it take before you can start selling BDR?
If you are already selling some form of backup or recovery service today, then you’re already doing BDR. The difference is whether you sell a complete program versus a simple tool. When selling a program, you commit to the service and your customers’ long-term needs. But you can start with a limited set of services and then expand if it makes sense for your clients and your business goals.
What should a VAR/MSP look for in a vendor?
The technology needs to be able to scale and be a known quantity. You don’t want to be the first on the block with the technology. You want a good sense of its recovery capabilities, not just its backup capabilities. You need confidence that the technology will suit your client’s needs. This means you need to be able to recover from events – across different types of operating systems, different types of applications, etc. You need to be able to recover all of those in a complete fashion and have the ability to apply the BDR policies across a large environment in the same way. Because if you need to customize or modify for each one of your clients, it can quickly become cost prohibitive for an MSP. So, automation, scale. Automated checks and automated responses become extremely important in this model.
What’s the number one mistake a VAR MSP should avoid when getting started selling BDR?
Scope – taking on too much from a client perspective. You can always move your clients to a complete program when you’re simply doing backup or doing backup alone. But if they’re not ready for a program, start with a simple backup and recovery. So don’t necessarily jump two steps ahead. Get them to the basics and mature them into a BDR program. Also, MSPs should start by implementing BDR programs within specific departments or organizations, not on a global scale or an everybody scale. Don’t try to do everything all at once.
What other information should a VAR/MSP know to start selling BDR?
Don’t be afraid to get started now. Start with a limited set of services. Then continue to add more. It’s essential to display your entire program for somebody, even if they’re not ready for it yet. Let them understand what they can strive toward moving forward, but don’t make it a program that requires that they do it all and do it now.