When setting up a backup plan, many IT Support Providers stop at the simple step of buying a tape drive and instructing someone at the client site how to change the tape. But when your client's business relies on critical information that simply can't be lost, especially if that information is personal and private in nature - medical, financial, or legal data in particular - a single point of failure in the backup strategy can be a recipe for disaster.
Tape has remained the standard proposed solution for many IT Providers for several reasons. Tape is affordable, it's reliable and it's easily managed. However, there are many shortcomings that the support provider and client must be aware of if they are relying on Tape to get their business running again should a failure occur.
- If server failure occurs due to a hardware issue, such as a failed motherboard, power supply or hard drive that is not RAID protected, the restoral cannot begin until functioning, and replacement hardware is in place. This can leave the client without access to their data for days... or longer.
- If the server needs to be completely restored at the OS level, this might require that identical hardware be in place for a bare-metal-restore to be run. Depending on the age of the failed server, finding identical hardware may be impossible, or at the least a very time consuming process where the needed parts must first be found in stock somewhere and then delivered.
- If the server outage is due to circumstances other than server failure - such as a fire, flood, theft or other similar disaster, you'd better hope that a recent, full backup tape has been stored off-site... and that you'll be able to acquire a server, a tape drive compatible with your tapes, and the compatible software needed to actually perform the restore.
- In the event of a disaster where the company office becomes inaccessible for any length of time, even with replacement hardware and a current backup set, the data might remain unusable simply because even with a fully rebuilt and restored server, there's no place to put it where the staff can access the data.
- Tape is slow. A full server restore can take several days to complete.
It's of little wonder that statistics show 70% of small firms experiencing a major data loss will be out of business within a year.
But even with all of the shortcomings of tape, it remains the primary backup solution recommended by SMB IT Support Providers and MSPs, primarily because alternate, off-site solutions have traditionally been cost prohibitive for most small business clients.
But no longer!
As bandwidth and storage continue to become more and more affordable, cloud-based backup and business continuity solutions are now within reach of most small business budgets.
There are many BDR (Backup Disaster Recovery) providers that now offer backup solutions that are not only affordable to the client, but represent new profit building opportunities for MSPs that chose to resell these services as part of their own offering.
BDR solutions typically involve deploying a NAS device on-site at the client location, which is then replicated as frequently as every 15 minutes to an off-site Standby Server at the BDR provider's datacenter location. These datacenters often replicate their stored data to an additional off-site location, making for multiple points of data redundancy.
In the case of a server failure at the client site, or even if the entire office becomes inaccessible, the off-site BDR Standby Server can be made available in as little as 30 minutes or less. And because the BDR Standby Server is cloud-based, data will remain accessible to all users, regardless of their individual locations.
Additionally, the BDR solution can be monitored easily by the IT Provider, plus depending on the BDR provider and services offered, they too can monitor and maintain the backup operations around the clock.
With a reliable BDR solution in place, small business clients can now enjoy a level of protection and security which was just not possible with tape solutions, at a price they can now afford.
And for the IT Support Provider, a solid BDR offering can mean happier clients, a more reliable and trusted level of service and overall higher profitability.