Backup is a typical offering within a managed services portfolio, but channel companies have an opportunity to expand backup into a broader business continuity service.
Organizations of all sizes increasingly rely on digital services to generate revenue and support their customers. Tolerance for downtime is shrinking, while the risk of disruption due to natural disasters and cyberattacks seems to be growing. The need for business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) services is growing, as well. And while larger enterprises have BCDR teams to address the challenge, small business customers very likely don’t.
Managed service providers (MSPs) are in a position to help their mainstay SMB clients. MSPs serving as trusted advisors and virtual CIOs can augment their managed services portfolios, adding business continuity planning and implementation services.
MSPs offering backup and disaster recovery software or services are already partway there. The backup and DR offering covers the IT aspect of recovering from an outage. A business continuity service will require a broader scope, including such elements as telephony, employee safety and alternative work locations.
Service providers will also need to take on risk assessment (What threats does an organization face and how likely are they to occur?) and financial analysis (How much is prolonged outage likely to cost?). MSPs can help customers build comprehensive BCDR plans based on such analyses. Follow-on services could include coordinating periodic BCDR tests, updating plans based on test results, and recommending additional BCDR processes and technologies as needed.
Technologies such as DRaaS bring down the cost of disaster recovery for smaller businesses, reinforcing an MSP’s ability to operate in this market. A company interested in broadening its managed service portfolio to include business continuity can tap a number of training and certification resources. DRI International, for example, offers courses in business continuity, risk management and cyber resilience. And the BCM Institute course catalog spans business continuity, crises management and IT disaster recovery planning.
Most organizations will look at business continuity at some point, and the new year may be the time when they consider it. MSPs are already monitoring customers’ systems and experts on their IT infrastructure. The door is open to make the leap to business continuity.