Being able to assess how much data a customer is willing to risk, if any, can be useful to managed services providers (MSPs) looking to more data backup and disaster recovery (BDR) and business continuity customers.

"In my experience, most clients view BDR very simply as keeping their data recoverable and eliminate downtime during an emergency," says Shael D. Risman, founder and CEO of PACE Technical Services, a Toronto, Ontario-based MSP.

"Obviously these are also the basic building blocks for every MSP worth their price," he says. "However, as an MSP, BDR solutions are also all about contingencies, efficiencies, scalability and redundancy."

For Risman, "a BDR solution is directly related to the level of risk your client is willing to accept." And he has his own way of assessing customer risk.

"PACE, for instance, does what we call a Tolerance Audit when talking to a prospect," he says. "Essentially, this is just reviewing a list of critical scenarios and ranking them on a scale of 1-10."

There are two reasons why PACE conducts this Tolerance Audit on customers. "Firstly, it gives us a good overview on what the client believes their tolerance of these scenarios would be, and -- more importantly -- it quickly allows them to realize how just how vulnerable they currently are," Risman says.

"We then use this information to determine the level of mission criticality they require in their business and make the appropriate BDR solution in our service offering to them," he says.

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