Smart managed service providers know how crucial a business continuity or disaster recovery plan is to keep their firm and clients’ businesses running and secure. However, every MSP needs to continually ask themselves if they’re properly educating employees and end-users on the reasons behind these invaluable BDR plans.
Business continuity & disaster recovery for the unexpected
There are a variety of scenarios – some more likely to occur than others – in which clients would need to initiate those business continuity strategies. As a trusted technology advisor and service provider, you’re in a unique and valued position, helping your clients understand the impact that unexpected disasters could have on their operations and ways to minimize the potential damage.
Every business needs a fully developed and well-documented strategy to ensure that there is a clear roadmap for restoring their critical data, applications, and other functions if something really bad happens. Below are a few real-world scenarios and ways they could impact your clients and what you need to include in their business continuity plans.
1 Time is money
Recovery time after a catastrophe is a key part of business continuity. How well can your clients weather the figurative (or literal) storm? More than half of today’s businesses can handle an hour of downtime before experiencing measurable financial damage. Nearly 60% of companies go out of business within six months of disasters like security breaches and ransomware attacks.
Every plan should minimize the time it takes to resume normal operations. With solid documentation, sound structure, and data backups that ground the plan, your clients can get back up and running faster with less financial impact.
2 Data is irreplaceable.
Data protection is an essential part of the disaster recovery plan. Offsite or cloud backup applications can help MSPs meet that objective, as can secure file sharing and document management systems. With continual syncing and relatively instant data recovery options, these applications are among the most effective tools in a provider’s portfolio. With data so critical to business survival (or the alternative) today– it’s wise to invest boldly in this area.
3 Humans are fallible.
Disaster recovery and continuity plans should be executable by any of a number of people and have backups in place. Whether run by your MSP’s employees or an internal team member, humans make mistakes and may not be available in a time of need. In case of a natural, accidental, or intentional disaster, you may need someone to help who is also dealing with personal and professional stressors. With a physical and/or cloud-based business disaster recovery solution in place, you can ensure your clients’ data is safe and meets compliance requirements, and will be accessible as soon as the danger passes.
Virtual options tend to be more space- and cost-efficient and allow MSPs to recover files and other data within minutes. When properly implemented and supported, the cloud can be a more secure and less labor-intensive route to restoration than physical storage methods.
4 Reputation is a key part of your brand.
Disaster recovery plans help businesses maintain good reputations, an important point to communicate to your clients. Regardless of the point of failure or other circumstances, business continuity failures reflect poorly on MSPs and the affected organizations. With a solid disaster recovery plan, your client can restore operations and limit their reputational impact with fewer headaches and less stress.
5 What if really bad things happen?
Earthquakes, civil unrest, or Russian cyberattacks, the risks are real. Whatever “really bad thing” happens to your clients, their disaster recovery plan may be the only thing standing between survival and destruction. Consider all the worst-case scenarios and contingencies before building the strategy. Each client’s plan should address insurance coverage and the types and value of the data, the specific suppliers, and any compliance requirements.
That’s why it’s helpful to have a comprehensive and well-documented business continuity plan—dealing with multiple “what if” situations is critical, as are the specific steps to address each case and the various people and their responsibilities. Communications are essential. Provide clients with clear messages to handle all types of crises and document that information as part of the incident response plan. Arming businesses with the right tools will allow them to survive a multitude of potential issues.
Now is the perfect time to help your clients plan for a bright future and unexpected disasters. Don’t let decision-makers enjoy a false sense of security by supplying them with realistic scenarios, remediation options, and tools to help their businesses weather the storm.
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About the author
Amy Luby, the founder of the Modern MSP community, is a proven entrepreneur and pioneer in the IT services industry. She founded and built one of the first Managed Services Providers in America, and expanded that business into one of the first Master MSPs, defining both business models in the process. She writes weekly about the business of being a Modern MSP.