If you’re a savvy service provider, you’re constantly looking for ways to increase and improve your service offerings, generate more revenue, and create a more productive business environment for your customer. So, you begin to look at new ways to utilize technology – virtualization, cloud storage, SaaS-based applications, mobile device access, advanced authentication methods, and more. Each one improving the security and efficiency of your customer’s environment.
But those new technologies-turned-services can’t exist in a bubble. Like their predecessors, they need to be protected as well. So, as you think about these new advancements, consider the following:
Advancements increase backup complexity
Let’s say you have a customer that is new to virtualization. So you virtualize a server or two (or 20, as the case may be). You now have a number of servers running on a single physical server. Next you need to think about how to protect that new environment. You've never had to backup images, worry about change-block tracking, think about snapshots, etc. Your entire way of backing up servers before (likely at an application level, and then again at a system level), needs to change completely.
Or, perhaps, let’s say you're moving everyone to Exchange Online within Office 365, and your customer wants some redundancy beyond even what Microsoft offers. So, you put in place a solution that provides email availability on top of Office 365. Now, you’ve got to ensure that system is backed up as well (and, potentially, provide an archive of your email in Office 365 too!). My point here is that even though you may be looking to implement solutions that simplify and streamline your customer’s environment, you need to keep in mind that as you begin to take advantage of that shiny new tech, you’re going to also need to incorporate a new plan on how to protect it.
Advancements increase recovery possibilities
I’ve always promoted the need to be thinking about the disaster first and then working back to backups. When making changes in your customer’s technology, you potentially broaden the scope of how you can recover. So, you should also be thinking about how that new tech can help your customer better survive a disaster. For example, sticking with the virtualization example, you now have the option of considering recovery in the cloud. You’ll need to incorporate a cloud provider that offers compute so you have an environment lying in wait, but you now have an additional method of recovery you didn’t have before.
Which brings me to my last point…
Complexity = additional backup revenue streams
From a service perspective, backups shouldn’t be a single offering to your customer. If you’ve done backup right, you have various levels of services and SLAs around the backup and recovery of data, applications, systems, client machines, virtual environments, etc. By looking to move your customer to a new technology, you have the opportunity to include as part of that offering bundled backup services. Don’t just offer virtualizing their servers, or moving their email to Office 365; come up with a comprehensive offering that includes backup and recovery.
Backup will always need to be a part of the strategy, so, as you plan on implementing new tech, bring backup and recover into the discussion early on, so that you not only can make the additional revenue, but so also so that your customer’s newest investment is protected.