Guide to Backup Management for MSPs

When starting up an MSP there are several initial services that you can pick from to offer to clients. When looking over them all though, the easiest one looks to be managed backup services. After all, all you need to do is copy the data to a backup location and whenever disaster strikes you recover that data.

Simple, right?

Not exactly. If you want to be delivering a reliable and cost-efficient backup and recovery strategy, you need to be doing more than that. Below is a simple overview of the entire service and what it takes to make this process something that your customers will love.

Define The Recovery Strategy

When designing a backup management strategy, it’s logical to consider how everything will be recovered last. After all, recovery of data only happens once everything is backed up.

The reality, though, is that the only way to recover data effectively is if your routine of backing up supports the recover it needs and your own goals. As a result, defining how everything is to be recovered makes sense as the first step.

An effective recovery strategy should have the following qualities:

  • Tailored to fit into your recovery plans and needs which will differ based on individual clients and your particular industry.
  • Designed to handle certain kinds of disruptions – like ransomware, natural disasters, fires, etc – that your clients would be more likely to face.
  • Communicated properly to the clients so that they know what they’re getting into when recovery happens.
  • Is tested, reviewed and updated on a regular and recurring basis.

Define The Backup Strategy

Once that is established, then you can define the backup strategy. This should cover:

  • Types of data that you’ll be backing up. This is data like system data, application data and operational data.
  • Types of backups that you’ll plan to use. Examples are full backups and differential backups.
  • What backup methods you’re going to be using.
  • And common backup management mistakes that you want to be avoiding.

The whole strategy should reflect the type of backup storage you’ll be using too. This is on top of accounting for whether you’ll be backing up special types of systems or general-purpose ones. Special types would be things like virtual machines, file servers, or databases.

Define The Backup Storage Strategy

The third step is about where the backups are being stored in the first place. Even though there are many ways we can store backup data, there are two main categories to choose from:

  • Local backup storage and;
  • Cloud-based backup.

It can seem simple on the surface since you’ve only got those two options, but there is more to it than that. In some cases, people urge you to use both of them as part of a 3-2-1 backup requirement strategy.

Also, those two storage methods have many different approaches and considerations to keep in mind.

Local backup storages offer disk-based backups, a NAS device, a file server, tape drives, or a combination of them. Also because it’s local, you’ll have to think about securing remote and physical access to those devices while considering monitoring backup media and replacing it.

For cloud versions, you’ll have to choose between a storage tier (hot, cold, or archive). Each one of those behaves differently. You also want to setting up a data lifecycle policy that moves data automatically between the storage tiers in order to save money. There is also the consideration of data security too.

Define Managed Backup Features

After all of that is done, you’ll then need to look at managed backup tools. These will automate the backup and recovery processes you have in place and make things easier for you. The problem is there are a lot of them to pick from.

The challenge is further enlarged by the fact these services offer a wide range of prices and functionality too.

Which one of these tools to consider can be made easier when you consider the following:

  • The operating system these tools support. The more devices it supports, the better.
  • Determining whether the tool will work with all of the backup locations and storage venders that you’re using or that you could be using in the future.
  • The type of automation features the tool uses.
  • Whether you can perform test recovery operations or not.
  • Whether the cost of the tool fits into your budget
  • What kind of remote management features it uses.

Flesh Out Your Strategy

As you can see, crafting an effective backup and recovery plan has more to it than a few easy steps. You want to be offering reliable data backup and recovery strategies to your clients. In order to do that, there is a lot that happens behind the scenes.

However, giving careful consideration to the steps mentioned above will help you in designing and assembling an effective plan that’ll generate good profits and satisfied customers to your business.

About MSP Corp

MSP Corp understands you’ve worked hard to build your business and you want to protect it. With a mission to be a world-class business partner for MSP owners across Canada, we actively seek to acquire and partner with owners looking to secure the value of the business they have built and provide a seamless exit process that ensures business continuity and employee and client stability.

Contact us today to learn more about selling your business and maximizing its value.