If you're a managed services provider (MSP) looking to dive into the backup and disaster recovery (BDR) pool this summer, we've compiled a few swimming lessons for you to keep your head above the water. We've connected with CCNS Consulting owner Karl Bickmore to discover how three simple BDR lessons would have relieved a lot of tension in the beginning for him. So slip-on your sandals and swim trunks, and head down to the pool for three swimming lessons that will make you better than your competition in this MSPmentor exclusive.

Bickmore promoted three initial areas of focus for those MSPs starting with BDR: vendor selection, the value of standardization of backup, and the cost of initial seeding.

Choose the right vendor -- it makes a difference

Understand the difference in vendors, Bickmore said. Some BDR vendors sell units, while others do not.

"Do they have a trade in or trade up program? Do they charge to send a replacement unit in a disaster? Does the backup engine they use work with your monitor and ticketing tools? What type of marketing materials do they provide?"

Be sure to analyze the cost of unit and offsite data.

Understand the value of standardization backup

Standardize your backup by selling narrowing your options down.

"We started offering different types of backup and different BDR models even within the same vendor," he said. "We quickly realized that to reduce the management overhead and to make sure they stay profitable, we had to narrow down the variables. Once we picked a unit that had the performance features and pricing we wanted, we started only selling those units."

Bickmore added that standardizing BDR makes a huge difference in efficiency and profit.

Evaluate the cost of initial seeding

"I wish I had known the hassle that the initial seeding can be," Bickmore said.

Vendors differ in this area a lot, he added. He suggested that MSPs should understand the initial seeding process well, document it, and be sure to include it in your setup fees.