With all the buzz around Windows 10 and its new features and functionality, MSPs like you are working to understand how it changes your business model, your processes, your service offerings, and your revenue.
Backups are no exception – especially given that most of your focus is largely on servers and the applications and data they host. Even your customer may be reluctant to add workstations to the backup strategy, giving any “free” backup and restore functionality found within Windows 10 a foothold to enter the conversation as a potential solution to your customer’s desire to still have workstations recoverable, but not as part of an ongoing provided service.
So, is there value in the Windows 10 backup offerings, or should you be refocusing your customers on bringing workstations into your larger DR strategy?
To uncover the answer, let’s first cover a few backup features and tools found in Windows 10 in what I believe to be the descending order of importance to an MSP:
While an impressive set of tools and features, there are some drawbacks when you consider your data protection, disaster recovery, or continuity strategy. First off, these are per-machine, decentralized answers to recovery-related problems. Sure, for a one-off “I lost my (file/folder/machine)” scenario these are great options. But for any kind of service you’d provide where the recovery demands go past one or two machines, you know you’re going to be wanting a solution in place that performs the recovery for you.
Then there’s the issue of storage of all this Windows 10 solution backup data. You already use a cloud- or hybrid-cloud-based backup solution that includes some level of encryption to protect the customer’s critical servers, applications, and related data. So, now it’s ok to host workstation images on USB drives that can grow legs? And what happened to centrally managing the backup data? If the collective user data gets stored in multiple OneDrive accounts and you need to recover an entire location, you possibly have no access to that information whatsoever. Not good for an MSP.
The reality is these backup tools are great for the home user, and the very small DIY small business owner. MSPs providing more than just backups, but true recovery of a customer’s business operations, need to rely on solutions that provide the capability of recovery in any disaster situation, while meeting agreed upon SLAs, RTOs, and RPOs.
I commend Microsoft for providing what I actually believe are some pretty cool toolsets with even surprisingly unexpected functionality. They just aren’t the right fit for an MSP.