A managed services provider (MSP) understands the differences between backup and disaster recovery (BDR) and backups, but do customers? Managed service provider (MSP) Clark Integrated Technologies Sales Director Austen Clark (pictured) provided MSPmentor with an inside look at how MSPs as trusted advisors must educate and guide end users through technology, especially when it comes to the differences between BDR and backups. Here's the scoop.

Clark defined backups as creating "an exact copy of your data, that can be recreated." His own personal preference is for an automated backup process to a cloud service. BDR, on the other hand, is much more. "The difference is you will be able to run your business from this solution, not only will you create a copy of your data but also a copy of the system, files and folders. From a well managed BDR solution a business owner can sleep well knowing they have a plan in hand."

The Financial Pain Equation

When a potential customer becomes confused, Clark explained, it's time for the MSP to provide an education. "Guide them through technology," he said. "Education comes by discussing the affect on the business of losing their IT, and most often how this affects their financial bottom line," he said. "It is at this point it becomes 'unacceptable to be without the IT system.' It has been noted that decision makers minds change when you show them a simple equation." That simplified equation looks like this:  company revenue + wage bill x downtime hours.  That's how much money the customer loses during his company's downtime, and Clark says that equals "Financial Pain."

Clark said that many MSPs sell BDR on price instead of talking about of the value of being able to continue to operate, even after an emergency. "Too many associate price with BDR," he said. "They do this because they have not tackled the root cause. Selling on price alone is wrong. Change the conversation, focus on the outcome not the price tag. BDR then becomes a business need and less of a cost."

Matching the Customer's Needs

Nonetheless, all customers are different, and MSPs need to design their BDR solutions to suit each customer's unique situation.

"The correct solution is one that fits the client. It's not always the case that every situation will require the same technology. Being flexible in your approach and having a range of solutions to suit."

No matter which solution you select for your customers, be sure that it performs, Clark explained, pointing to the destruction of natural disasters. "It is one thing to sell a service but what will you do when the firestorm hits or Hurricane Sandy occurs. Your client will phone you before the insurance company. You best be sure that the solution you have chosen will perform. Test it out and test it again, because that's what your client believes they have been paying for. Excuses will not be an option when that BDR is required, if you haven't checked this prior to an event you best have a good lawyer."