One of the main attractions to a cloud backup strategy is how well it prepares an organization for a disaster. The problem with looking at Backup As A Service (BaaS) as a form of disaster recovery (DR), however, is it becomes an expensive single use case solution. Instead, BaaS customers should look for, and BaaS providers should offer, the technology as a solution to many day-to-day data protection challenges in addition to a great DR strategy. When BaaS is used for multiple functions, it can become a much more cost justifiable solution that has greater overall value to the customer.
Disaster Recovery is a Minimum Requirement
There is no doubt that a key attraction of BaaS is its use as a disaster recovery solution. As we discussed in our Article “The Five Weaknesses of Backup As A Service”, a provider should automatically be able to provide duplication of the protected data by replicating that data to multiple geographic regions. If they do, then their customers can survive even if they are struck by a disaster that is regional in scope. When this happens, the provider and the customer’s IT personnel get to look like heros. But, hopefully, disasters are not a daily event. As a BaaS customer you should demand more from your cloud backup provider and as an MSP, you should be offering your BaaS as something that can do more.
According to the Intronis Cloud Study, in 2013 more than 56% of MSPs indicate that backup and recovery is their bestselling service. The problem is that most managed service providers (MSPs) and cloud service providers (CSP) tend to position cloud backup only as a copy of last resort instead of as something that the customer could use day-to-day. In fact, 44% of MSPs depend on data breaches, downtime and fears of business disruption to sell their cloud backup services.
Cloud Backup as a (full) Service
Cloud backup or BaaS could be a significantly higher percentage of a provider’s business if they positioned the service differently. BaaS, with the right software, could play a critical role in day-to-day data protection and recovery challenges that customers are facing. These capabilities, of course, should not take away from their current success of positioning cloud backup for DR.
From the MSP’s perspective and the end customer’s perspective, this may require them to think differently and look for features that are better suited to day-to-day operations. This would include features like complete support of application environments like SQL and Exchange as well as full support of hypervisors like VMware.
It will also require the ability to leverage the BaaS to provide rapid ad-hoc backup needs and rapid data restores. This would require a hybrid BaaS approach on MSP selected hardware, so that the most active data could be stored locally at the client site. Again, as we discussed in our article “The Five Weaknesses of Backup As A Service“, storage flexibility is key so that the MSP can provide the hardware they are most comfortable supporting and the end-customer has a positive BaaS experience.
Being a Managed Service Provider (MSP) is a tough business. Not only do you have to compete with every other MSP in the market, you have to be able to provide a service to potential clients at a total cost of ownership that is better than if they did it themselves. Being an IT professional for an end-customer is a challenge as well, since so many hats have to be worn. In both cases the pressure is on! Off-loading the backup architecture responsibility to a provider makes a lot of sense. Using the solution for more than just disaster recovery makes even more sense.
Intronis is a client of Storage Switzerland