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How to choose the right BCDR solutions

With cybersecurity attacks on the rise and a variety of other downtime threats on the horizon, business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) is mission-critical for many businesses.

Understanding the need for BCDR and best practices is important, but finding the right solution for your clients is key. Today’s top BDCR solutions often pair automation and innovation to reduce downtime and combat threats. We’ve put together a comprehensive overview leveraging tips from our BCDR roadmap to help your MSP future-proof your clients’ critical assets in the face of disaster.

Assessing your clients’ needs

Assessing your client’s needs for a BCDR solution requires a comprehensive understanding of their business as well as a few key elements. To effectively evaluate what the best solution is for your client, consider the following points:

  • Understand critical items
    Your client’s critical items typically include the key assets, systems, applications, and data that are vital to daily business operations. For many businesses, this can include customer databases, financial systems, communication platforms, inventory management systems, or proprietary software. By understanding your client’s critical business systems and data, you can more effectively determine the right solutions to meet their needs.
  • Determine the Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and the Recovery Time Objective (RTO)
    RPO refers to the acceptable amount of data loss in the event of a disruption, indicating how frequently backups should be made. RTO represents the target time within which systems and services need to be recovered and restored after a disruption.

    These two metrics play a critical role in determining the level of protection and recovery capabilities required by your BCDR platform of choice. For instance, if you have a client with an RPO of one hour and an RTO of four hours, they will have many different needs compared to a client with an RPO of one day and an RTO of one week.

    These parameters play an important role in determining what type of BCDR solution is right for your clients—some BCDR vendors have varying RPO and RTO standards.
  • Impact of disaster
    Although never an easy conversation, it is important to assess the potential impact of disasters on your clients’ business operations. This includes gaining a deeper understanding of any number of possible scenarios—such as natural disasters, power outages, cyberattacks, human error, or equipment failures.

    Next, conduct a risk assessment by analyzing the likelihood and severity of each disaster. During this time, engage with your client’s key stakeholders to gather insights and facilitate conversation. By evaluating the impact, you can identify and recommend BCDR solutions with effective safeguards and recovery strategies to mitigate risks more effectively and with confidence.
  • Existing software ecosystem
    Before you recommend and select a BCDR solution, assess your client’s existing software and any relevant compatibility needs. By fully understanding what existing software is at play, and how it may integrate with your future BCDR solution, you can make an educated and effective recommendation. 

Identify potential BCDR solutions

When recommending BCDR solutions to your clients, it’s important to consider a wide plethora of options that could potentially align with their needs.

Firstly, and most importantly, clients must decide if a BCDR solution will be handled internally or outsourced. Since many BCDR solutions combine cloud, software, and hardware elements, you’ll need a system that can support desktops or laptops, physical servers, virtual servers hosted in the cloud, and SaaS applications.

The three primary BCDR categories are:

  • BCDR software
    BCDR software automates and manages the backup recovery process. For an initial full server backup, BCDR software takes point-in-time images to create recovery points which are used to restore the server to before it failed or data was compromised. 
  • BCDR hardware
    Leveraging BCDR hardware hosts and powers BCDR software operations and provides a reliable storage repository for backup server images. BCDR hardware often refers to a secondary, on-premise server with enough processing power to maintain normal server operations and enough storage capacity to maintain recovery points.
  • Cloud elements
    Cloud-based disaster recovery solutions leverage the infrastructure and services of a cloud provider for data storage, backup, and recovery. This enables organizations to replicate and restore critical systems and data in the cloud.

Our eBook, SaaS Data Backup: Everything You Need to Know (and Do) About It, is a great resource to help you understand how SaaS is changing how businesses work and what you need to do to keep your clients’ data secure.

When selecting a BCDR solution, it’s best to opt for a combination of hardware, software, and cloud-based elements. Backups can be stored locally (on hardware or a backup server) or remotely in the cloud, but for optimal BCDR, it’s best to store backups in both places in the event it’s not possible to restore a system locally you have the cloud to access.

Now, let’s talk about more specific common components of BCDR solutions:

  • Data backup and recovery
    Data backup and recovery involves creating copies of critical data and storing them in a secure location. Then, in the event of a crisis, data can be restored in order to resume operations. With data backup and recovery within a BCDR solution, companies can minimize data loss, ensure business continuity, and meet any compliance and legal requirements requested by a particular industry.

    With effective data backup and recovery solutions, organizations can make up system configurations, operating systems, and application settings to enable the restoration of servers and software. Data backup also incorporates the recovery of data due to hardware failures, ransomware or malware, or accidental deletion.
  • High availability (HA) and failover systems
    HA systems leverage redundancy and failover mechanisms to ensure the continuous availability of mission-critical systems. This typically involves replicating data and services across multiple servers or locations, ensuring that a business can remain in operation.

    HA and failover systems help by minimizing downtime, increasing reliability, and improving overall scalability. Leveraging a high availability or failover system is essential for organizations that rely on continuous operations and need to effectively minimize the impact of system failures. 
  • Virtualization and recovery platforms
    Using a virtualization solution involves the creation of virtual instances of servers, applications, or entire digital environments. These platforms then enable quick, efficient recovery by restoring virtual instances if disaster strikes.

    With virtualization and recovery platforms, organizations can optimize resources and provide flexibility and agility in deploying and managing IT infrastructure. In addition, virtualization platforms offer advanced capabilities for disaster recovery.
  • Security and compliance frameworks
    To protect your data and reduce manual intervention, your BCDR software should ideally include ransomware detection, two-factor authentication, and data immutability—a piece of information that can’t be modified or deleted.

    With a security and compliance framework, an organization can establish more robust security measures, manage and assess overall risk, and maintain regulatory compliance.
  • Data restoration
    Data restoration helps to restore lost files and recover from complete server failure or destruction. Local server restoration may be quicker, but the cloud also provides ultimate protection against worst-case scenarios.


Evaluate options

Not all BCDR solutions are created equal. When evaluating potential BCDR solutions for your clients, it’s integral to understand all the different factors that impact BCDR efficacy. Before making a recommendation to your clients, consider the following elements:

  • Compatibility & scalability
    Assess the solution’s compatibility and scalability for your client’s needs. As we discussed above, consider critical items, RPO, RTO, and any budget constraints. In addition, consider compatibility with existing IT infrastructure. Choose a BCDR solution that integrates with your PSA/RMM and offers 24/7 support to help ensure your clients can maintain operations—and scale over time.  
  • Ease of implementation
    Implementation of a BCDR solution is critical. Work to create a smooth transition through a detailed implementation plan—making sure to consider time spent and any potential lags or drops in service. In addition, you should collaborate with your clients to conduct testing and provide training.
  • Security
    The security of your clients’ data is paramount—and it is your responsibility to effectively evaluate the security measures implemented by potential BCDR solutions and vendors. This includes data encryption, access controls, compliance certifications, and immutable storage.

    Ask your BCDR vendors for third-party, independent security assessments to validate the security and reliability of features. As a general rule of thumb, all MSP vendors should be SOC 2 certified and data centers should be SSAE or SOC certified. If you have a client in a particular industry or region with different security regulations and requirements, ensure that your BCDR vendor is able to meet these standards.
  • Cost
    When evaluating all BCDR options and selecting the right vendor for your needs, consider all forms of costs. For example, consider the costs associated with the onboarding process, training and certification, support and troubleshooting, and ongoing maintenance.

    For most MSPs, choosing a solution with flat-fee pricing per device or server is the most reliable and consistent option.
  • Versatility
    Choosing a versatile BCDR solution empowers your team of technicians with speed and reliability. In the best-case scenario, choose one diverse BCDR solution that can support multiple use cases. This simplifies your business’s overall tech stack and enables you to dedicate more time to your clients. Select a solution that includes various deployment options—this may include full-service BCDR with local appliances, endpoint backup, hardware-free BCDR for direct-to-cloud, and SaaS backup.  Avoid choosing a BCDR solution that limits use cases by infrastructure or data size as much as possible.
  • Compliance
    Depending on the industries of the clients you serve, ensure that your BCDR vendor can effectively meet compliance standards. For the success of your clients, choose a vendor with multiple forms of compliance proof. Your vendors should also have tools implemented for seamless long-term compliance management. For example, HIPAA has data retention requirements.   

By considering these differentiating factors, you can make informed and confident decisions to choose the right BCDR solution to align with your clients’ needs and expectations—all while providing support, security, and confidence.


Minimize downtime, maximize peace of mind

Not all solutions are created equal. ConnectWise BCDR solutions provide best-in-class protection and recovery solutions for MSPs, supported by intelligent automation and 24/7/365 NOC services. Learn more about how ConnectWise BCDR provides disaster recovery when you need it most by watching an on-demand demo today.

If you’re ready to grow your BCDR service offering, but aren’t sure where to start, we’re here to help. The ConnectWise Partner Program was created for MSPs who need go-to-market, marketing, and sales guidance to help them achieve their most ambitious vision of success. And partners who are in the ConnectWise Partner Program are growing 4x faster and are 17% more profitable than those who are not in the program.

Learn more how the ConnectWise Partner Program can help take your MSP to the next level, or contact us today.


The most common types include on-site, cloud-based, or hybrid BCDR solutions focused on backup and recovery, virtualization and recovery platforms, cloud-based disaster recovery, and managed BCDR software.

To assess the best BCDR software for your clients’ business, you must start by identifying and understanding critical items and determining the Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and the Recovery Time Objective (RTO). Next, assess potential threats and risks, evaluate current infrastructure, and evaluate the impact of disaster.

Cloud-based BCDR solutions offer several advantages to organizations, including scalability and flexibility, rapid data recovery and restoration, and improved security. With a cloud-based solution, organizations can leverage offsite storage space—and then, if a failure occurs, a cloud-based server will take over critical business processes.

The role of automation in BCDR solutions helps to reinforce cybersecurity by freeing up time to focus on more important tasks. Automation allows businesses to schedule times to test systems automatically and make adjustments, as needed, to ensure compliance regulation requirements are met.

Key features of a comprehensive BCDR solution include data backup and recovery, replication and redundancy, rapid recovery, risk assessments, and continuous monitoring.

Evaluating the reliability of a BCDR solution is integral to ensuring its efficacy in protecting data and maintaining business continuity. A good BCDR plan prepares your client for difficult times. To evaluate a BCDR solution’s reliability, assess the redundancy and resilience measures in the BCDR solution, review Service Level Agreements (SLAs), and understand the disaster recovery testing.

Your client’s BCDR budget should be unique to their needs and compliance requirements. When evaluating, determine whether your client will be using an all-in-one BCDR solution of a software-only product combined with other services. In addition, take into consideration the cost of downtime per hour, which will give you a greater understanding of the ROI on various disaster recovery approaches.

When measuring the ROI of a BCDR, consider the employee cost, the downtime/loss-of-business costs, the customer service value, and the cost of technology recovery.