PGH Networks

Designing a Backup Plan: A Requirement of a Good Managed Service Provider

When you assume the role of trusted managed service provider (MSP), your clients naturally expect many things from you (some not being very realistic!). Somewhere in your relationship you’ve proven that you can go above and beyond their expectations and can be a super hero when they face crisis. Repairing phone system failure, fending off malware threats, and eliminating network interruptions are all in a day’s work.

Among all of these expectations, and at the forefront of priority, is data backup and recovery. Business owners and IT managers need to be confident that their information is secure and protected. With any sort of mishap – a stolen device, third-party network attack, or system failure – most clients don’t give data loss a passing thought. They assume that operations will resume and administrative systems will revive without issue.

While many businesses and enterprises enroll in some sort of data back up service, is it the right backup service for their needs? According to the data recovery lab at Gillware, Inc., studies indicate that in many cases of complete date loss, the company had a backup solution in place and the MSPs were managing the solution correctly. Does this mean that no amount of protection can protect data from disappearing? Absolutely not.

Operating correctly is vastly different than operating efficiently.  Just as no two businesses are the same, there is no cookie-cutter plan for data backup and data loss prevention. The business owner and the MSP must work together to best determine the backup solution that will best serve the business. Should we backup mobile devices and remote workstations? Should we up the coverage of the company server? Are we regularly testing the backup solutions to ensure correct configuration? Once coverage is in place, MSPs must take care to close any possible gaps in protection; this could save everyone many hours of sleep.

Creating a complete backup package can be challenging, with a plethora of data backup options available. To start in the right direction, check out these key elements for consideration when designing a data backup plan:

  • Backup class: File-based and image-based are the more prominent types of backups. Too often, MSPs opt with one and forget the other. To reduce holes in coverage where data can be lost, use image-based backups to secure servers and file-share systems, while utilizing the file-based backup to protect laptops, desktops, and mobile devices.
  • Coverage Strength: We tend to think of data loss resulting from human errors and malicious viruses, but what about physical damage to servers and backup locations? Offsite backup is a necessity to protect from natural disasters and emergencies. Using local and cloud platforms, backup the backup (“we have to go deeper!”).
  • Cost: Finding the balance between coverage and cost is one of the heaviest factors in selecting backup solutions. Don’t undercut your bottom line by giving away services, but be mindful of the financial limitations of small businesses.
  • Marketing your Capabilities: Be straightforward with your promotional material and sales efforts. Tech talk is sometimes lost in translation.

Efficiency is the crux of business. With data backup, securely moving data offsite while conserving space and bandwidth is the mark of an efficient MSP. The process of moving, storing, securing, and monitoring data is the true cost to managing IT services. Without complete evaluation to find the most sensible data backup solution for a client, extra support time and space allocation can chip away at the bottom line.

Thorough, rational evaluation will create a fantastic balance between coverage and cost for you and your clients. This will benefit you financially, and increase confidence and peace of mind in the client, knowing that his or her data is protected by a complete backup solution.

As a premier IT Services provider in the Pittsburgh and Hagerstown areas, PGH Networks understands the ins and outs of managed IT support. We believe that technology should work for your business, not against it. Contact Greg Pack at PGH Networks; call 724-888-7007 or email