Guest Column | March 21, 2017

How MSPs Can Overcome Disaster Recovery Planning Objections

Neal Bradbury

By Neal Bradbury, Senior Director of Channel Development, Intronis MSP Solutions by Barracuda

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are becoming increasingly vulnerable to security risks and data loss resulting from malware attacks, DDoS attacks, server failures, and natural disasters. Here’s why — many believe they are too small to be a target for cybercriminals; and/or will never experience a fire, flood, or other catastrophic incident.

The fact is SMBs can be even more vulnerable to cyber-attacks than larger enterprises. In fact, according to a recent survey, 70 percent of ransomware attacks target small businesses. Furthermore, disaster can strike at any time regardless of the size or location of a business, and all it takes is extreme weather, a fast-moving fire, or a major earthquake to shut down a business for an extended period of time — or even permanently.

So, what can SMBs do to protect themselves? A good first step is to create a disaster recovery plan, something 75 percent of SMBs don’t currently have in place according to a Nationwide Insurance study. This represents a significant opportunity for MSPs to grow their businesses and create new revenue streams around disaster recovery planning. However, that same Nationwide study found 38 percent of small business owners do not believe it is important to have a disaster recovery plan in place, meaning MSPs have their work cut out for them.

To help you convince your SMB customers who aren’t ready to jump on board with disaster recovery planning, here are some of the most common objections that our MSP partners encounter, as well as tips for overcoming them.

  1. “We don’t need to plan for that.” For customers who believe they have nothing a cybercriminal would be interested in or that their business would never be flooded or catch on fire, MSPs can point to case studies that illustrate how such a disaster could affect their business, or to recent news stories or statistics that highlight the need for disaster recovery planning.
  2. A little downtime won’t cost too much.” An SMB might be able to afford to lose a little data, but trying to recover from a catastrophic event such as a flood, fire, or earthquake could be devastating for the business. In fact, according to the Institute of Business Home and Safety, 25 percent of businesses that close due to a disaster never reopen. Start by asking the customer what would happen if they weren’t able to open e-mails for an hour, four hours or even a day? By highlighting the value of Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPO), MSPs can help their SMB customers identify how much data they can lose without significantly impacting their business and how long they can go without this data before it hurts their bottom line. It is important to note that if the SMB operates in a highly regulated industry, it will typically need tighter RPOs and RTOs to maintain normal business functions.
  3. “It is too expensive to create a plan.” Demonstrating to SMB customers the value of developing a disaster recovery plan can be difficult for MSPs. However, SMBs who believe putting a disaster recovery plan in place will be too costly are failing to see how expensive a disaster could be without a plan in place. For example, an Everbridge survey found the average cost of IT downtime is $8,662 per minute. MSPs should ask their SMB customers whether or not they can live without recovering all of their on-premise data if something were to happen. While it costs an average of $8,662 a minute in downtime, the same study shows that it takes an average of 27 minutes for a business to get a response team together — provided they have a plan in place.

SMBs should never underestimate the power of a well-crafted disaster recovery plan, and it is always better for their data to be safe rather than be sorry when it is gone forever. For MSPs, disaster recovery planning can provide a way to add value for their SMB customers, and when they are able to leverage this tool to proactively protect their customers from experiencing a catastrophic loss following a cyber-attack, server failure, or natural disaster, everyone wins.

Neal Bradbury is Senior Director of Business Development for Intronis MSP Solutions by Barracuda, a provider of security and data protection solutions for managed services providers, where he is responsible for generating greater business value for the company’s MSP partner community and alliance partners.