Two recent surveys on data backup depict businesses as questioning the complexity, price, and effectiveness of solutions. The results suggest plenty of  room for improvement in this market segment and an opportunity for MSPs who can provide a confidence-building service that doesn’t break the bank.

Here’s a summary of the survey results:

Actifio earlier this month reported that 82 percent of the data center managers surveyed cited “the complexity of procuring and managing multiple data protection tools” as the top obstacle in fielding a thorough-going data protection environment. And 69 percent pointed to the total cost of ownership of purchasing point products as another leading concern. The data management virtualization vendor said the survey, conducted at the VMware Users Group meeting, involved more than 900 IT respondents.

Also, Backup My Info (BUMI) said its survey found that “only 55 percent of respondents are confident that their data will be restored completely within hours of a disaster.” Many respondents placed a hefty price on downtime: 37 percent cited downtime costs of thousands of dollars per hour, while 47 percent cited hundred of dollars per hour. BUMI, which provides managed online backup and recovery, said the survey obtained responses from 117 business owners, chief executives and IT personnel at small to mid-sized businesses.

Numerous MSPs already resell online backup services or provide their own. Such services answer the complexity challenge, letting customers avoid the chore of deploying backup software and appliances. Monthly service fees also help customers avoid upfront hardware and software expenses.

That’s a message service providers have been trying to drive home. BUMI contrasts its online offering with the hardware, software, media and support costs of tape. BUMI charges customers according to the amount of compressed data they store.

Storage Guardian takes a similar approach. Last year, the company announced a local backup service with prices starting at $0.25/compressed GB/month.

That said, other forms of backup such as off-site replication tend to be quite expensive. The do-it-yourself approach calls for running a DR center and acquiring the necessary software to replicate data synchronously or asynchronously from production to off-site storage.

Ash Ashutosh, Actifio’s chief executive officer, said he sees a role for MSPs in offering an alternative DR approach.  He said Actifio is in discussions with MSPs who aim to offer the company’s DR solution as a service. Actifio DR’s virtualization technology replicates data using synchronous, asynchronous, or dedup asynchronous mechanisms, according to the company. An MSP’s DR service could be private labeled or branded by Actifio, according to a company spokeswoman.