Data has become the lifeblood of any organisation, and with an increasing shift away from hardware towards a more service-oriented market, the role of the reseller when it comes to backup has changed dramatically, says Gareth Tudor, CEO of Altonet.
A “box drop” approach is no longer sufficient, given the critical nature of data. Resellers of data protection solutions now have a responsibility to their customers to educate them on backup solutions and practices and ensure business continuity by making certain that their customers can recover effectively in the event of a data issue.
While most large organisations have realised the critical nature of effective backup and recovery solutions, the small to medium business (SMB) market still relies heavily on memory sticks, external hard drives and other ad-hoc backup processes, if they have any such processes in place at all.
However, these backups are often not regularly checked, and only when a data issue occurs and a restore is necessary do the problems with this method become evident.
In addition, when backups are recovered from such devices, it is usually difficult or impossible to recover just the missing data, and only the data from the last backup can be restored. This usually results in work since the last backup being lost.
Irregular or infrequent backups often go hand-in–hand with users not checking their backed-up data for integrity and the ability to recover it as and when necessary, which can cripple the business in the event of data not being recoverable.
Without this critical data, many SMB organisations simply cannot recover, leading to lost income and even the closure of the business itself. With approximately 97% of all data restores necessitated due to hardware failure, hard drive malfunctions or data corruption, the need for end-users from all sizes of business to move to automated backup environments is clear.
Resellers of these solutions are in a favourable position to educate their end-user customers on the benefits of automated backup and the repercussions of not having a plan or process in place.
Many businesses, particularly in the SMB space, do not have the expertise or capacity to adequately manage backup and recovery on their own. Added to this, the research required to find a solution that is ‘fit for purpose’ has proved onerous in the past, leading to poor backup practices that can cause problems further down the line.
As providers of backup solutions, these resellers understand the market, the challenges, and the needs of their customers, and are also able to offer a managed service that delivers more comprehensive backup and recovery. With the evolution of technology, there is also a wider range of solutions on offer to deliver fast, efficient and above all automated backup to protect vital data.
There are now a host of best-of-breed solutions available for businesses of all sizes, addressing backup from the level of individual PCs right up to servers and entire data centres.
The growth of the cloud, and increased trust in cloud solutions, has also provided another avenue for resellers to offer remote backup solutions, which store data securely offsite in the cloud, meeting best practice guidelines and ensuring always-available data recovery.
In order to take advantage of new opportunities and provide better customer services, resellers need to make the leap from selling products to providing solutions and services that deliver value to their customers.
The onus is now on resellers to take this proactive step, do their research and find the right products, including cloud or hosted platforms, to adopt and sell on to their customers.
This not only opens up new revenue streams, but delivers immense satisfaction in knowing that customers’ data is secure and properly backed up. Resellers have the opportunity to become trusted partners and reinforce relationships, strengthening their own business while helping their customers at the same time.
By taking on this new role, not only are resellers able to take on a more strategic position in an IT world dominated by the cloud, they are also able to benefit from improved credibility and annuity revenue that results from selling solutions and advice rather than simply products.