Why "Inexpensive" Tape Backups Might Be Costing Your MSP Money

Scott Calonico

backup tapes Do you still have clients using tape-based backup systems?

Tapes have been used for backup for such a long time that it’s understandable that some organizations (and IT professionals) have become stuck in traditional ways.

While tape backup may be a legitimate, tried and tested method, it is fair to say that better things, including online backup and backup to hard drives and network attached storage, have surpassed it.

Instead of emphasizing the benefits of these newer backup methods, this article explains three big reasons why stubbornly remaining with tape based backup could actually be costing you money - as an MSP or IT consultant.

Tape Based Backup Requires Constant Interaction

It’s hardly complicated, but it’s a constant battle to make sure that backup tapes are regularly changed.

In addition, the backup software that manages tape backups can be flaky and inconsistent and tends to need constant coaxing to maintain reliability.

All of this takes time; and time, as the saying goes, is money. Using a more reliable backup method can backup tapesfree up you and your team for more lucrative tasks.

Tape Backup Doesn’t Earn Commission

Perhaps your MSP makes a little money if it sells backup devices and software to clients, but this small initial margin is where the revenue ends.

Moving towards online backup gives you the opportunity to charge for a service that brings in constant and consistent monthly revenue. If you’re not earning it, you’re losing out.

Physical Media is not Very Reliable

If you read the small print on backup tapes, you will probably find that the manufacturer recommends that they are replaced fairly frequently – perhaps every six or twelve months.

It’s probably a good bet that not many businesses using tape backup replace their tapes that frequently – and this ultimately means that they shouldn’t be relied upon for a successful restore.

If you’ve not been enforcing regular tape replacements and doing restore checks, you’re running the risk of losing clients and money if you find yourself unable to restore important data.

Even worse, imagine the potential for a legal dispute if you have failed to advise your client that they should renew their media. More time and money down the drain.

It would be fair to argue that there is still a place for tapes in certain circumstances. Every backup regime should incorporate at least two backup methods for extra peace of mind. It could even make sense to use “retired” backup hardware for periodical archive backups to complement an online backup process.

What tape-based backup should not be used for in this modern age, however, is as a single, infallible way to protect an infrastructure – there are now better, and more lucrative ways to backup IT systems.

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