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Best practices for scaling your BCDR business
Business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) is the important process of storing data and files to prevent loss in the event of a disaster and is particularly important for managed service providers (MSPs) who are managing client data. According to the US Federal Emergency Management Agency, 25% of businesses don’t reopen after a disaster; however, having a disaster and recovery plan can help reduce the risk of losing a business.
Today’s BCDR solutions provide secure, fast, monitored, continuous backup and rapid data restoration through a cloud-based architecture, making them a critical part of any MSP service offering. Ensuring you are leveraging the latest software and industry best practices can help protect your MSP’s reputation and revenue stream by minimizing client business downtime. As a result, scaling up your BCDR business, in theory, should build an easy path to growing your profits. With that said, you need an effective scaling strategy to see those profits.
Check out these BCDR best practices to help you grow your BCDR business and streamline processes for your clients.
Managed service providers have to navigate the balancing act of providing best-in-class client service along with maintaining a roadmap for internal business success. Building a scalable BCDR program contributes to both. With a sound growth strategy in place, you’ll be more prepared to scale your BCDR business, take on new clients, and continue supporting existing ones. This means more profit without compromising on the quality of service.
Here are a few advantages of scaling your BCDR business:
- Expanded client base: BCDR is not the same net service to every client. Each client will have unique endpoint security needs, different backup storage types, and different business critical data platforms. Meanwhile, in the background, the shifting cyberthreat landscape means potential threats are always evolving. The more use cases and capacity your team can service, the larger your potential client base.
- Efficiency: Some scaling options, like outsourcing to a Network Operations Center (NOC), are specifically designed to free up time for your internal techs. By bringing this new service into the fold, your core team members can focus on the tasks that matter most, increasing the efficiency of your IT team.
- Improved service: Increase efficiency and versatility all fold into the greater umbrella of higher-quality service. Scaling BCDR allows you to offer improved services like more robust backup, while higher service levels can minimize disruptions, helping to build credibility and trust with existing and potential clients. It also demonstrates your commitment to the client’s business continuity and your ability to handle emergencies efficiently.
- Remain compliant: Many MSPs work with clients who must abide by specific national and international regulatory guidelines, like those in the payment card industry (PCI) or healthcare. MSPs serving clients in these industries must comply with these regulations to avoid penalties and legal issues. Scaling BCDR business allows you to align your service offerings and solutions with relevant regulatory standards to ensure compliance during disaster and recovery.
- Competitive advantage: The MSP market is extremely competitive, so offering comprehensive BCDR solutions can give you that edge over other MSPs. Clients, seeing the impact of cyberattacks and disasters on businesses, increasingly recognize the importance of robust BCDR solutions. As a result, more are specifically seeking MSPs who can deliver superior protection for their critical systems and data.
There are several ways for you to scale your MSP business, and focusing on business continuity and disaster recovery is certainly one way to grow sustainably. Consider the following best practices for scaling BCDR business as you consider investing in BCDR solutions:
- Define your goals and create a plan. Before you scale BCDR business, develop a clear plan that considers the people, processes, and tools that will help you scale in a sustainable way. You’ll want to outline:
- The roles and responsibilities of your team in the scaling process.
- The BCDR tools you need to support your business goals and your clients.
- Training opportunities to ensure your team is prepared for any new tools and processes.
- Pricing structure and how that will provide positive ROI as you scale.
When you’re ready to scale BCDR business, you may encounter challenges in getting there; however, with understanding and preparation, you can overcome these challenges and continue growing your business. Common challenges when scaling BCDR include:
- Increased costs. The actual scaling process of BCDR can entail investments, including new software, infrastructure, and talent. Also, while the costs of these are guaranteed, the added business may not be. As a result, it’s essential that you make sure you are maximizing your ROI. Cost analysis is essential at the start of scaling to make sure you understand how and where that money is being used. Another thing to consider is that these are just the baseline costs. There may still be a lot more expenses you incur, for example, making sure that your scaled BCDR strategy is compliant with the ever-changing guidelines related to data privacy, security, and any other industry-specific guidelines.
- Testing should always be a part of your BCDR best practices, regularly making sure that your plan is actually going to be effective in a disaster scenario. However, every time you scale your BCDR business up for a client, that means a new and larger infrastructure to test for. It’s essential that your testing regimen scales up with your overall plan to keep your clients safe. As an added wrinkle, testing larger BCDR plans without disrupting business operations becomes increasingly difficult.
- Training/hiring staff. Depending on the software that you use or the added work that you take on, your team may need to bring on additional support as a part of scaling. Studies show that hiring a single technical professional at $50,000 (USD) reduces managed services gross margin from a baseline 49% to 43.9%. Getting back to the original baseline requires $150,000 in new revenue. As a result, you need to think strategically when it comes to your staff needs when you scale up. Cross-training existing staff and outsourcing your NOC are ways to increase your team’s bandwidth without cutting into profitability.
The training and hiring conversation leads to a greater one when it comes to BCDR scaling. The whole goal of taking on additional clients, especially in a field as critical as BCDR, is to increase your profits. But if the added costs in talent and software outpace your return, scaling up could actually hurt your business. This is where cost management comes in, making sure more business actually means more profit. Here are some key strategies that can help.
Use downtime costs as a marketing tool
When a client experiences downtime, it leads to lost revenue, lost productivity, additional recovery costs, and potential loss of credibility with their clients. Calculating the cost of downtime can help you effectively market your BCDR services by showing that the cost of downtime can far exceed the investment in your services. Being able to showcase that you can take on new or increased business is key for making your BCDR scaling profitable through new and upsold clients.
Key strategic times to leverage this info include presenting these cost analyses to prospective clients or to existing clients during quarterly business reviews or before a contract is set to renew. During these review times, you can show data representing the cost savings stemming from BCDR, which may encourage them to further invest in your service offerings and build your credibility as a reliable partner in BCDR solutions.
Balancing costs with risk mitigation
When you’re considering BCDR solutions to help scale your business, you must think about whether the cost of those solutions provides the necessary level of security and risk mitigation. A few ways to help reduce BCDR costs without losing effectiveness are:
- Conduct a thorough risk assessment for your clients to identify critical business operations and assets, and how those would be impacted by a disaster. Doing this will help you choose BCDR solutions that suit your client’s needs without added cost for what they don’t need.
- Using cloud-based solutions, when possible, offers flexibility, scalability, and less investment in IT infrastructure.
- Automate and standardize to help streamline BCDR processes. Automated backup and recovery workflows, system monitoring, and standardized configurations can help reduce human error, enhance efficiency, and save on costs for both you and your clients.
Monitoring and optimizing BCDR costs
Monitoring and optimizing BCDR is important to scaling BCDR business, which ensures profitability for you overall. Use the following strategies to help monitor and optimize more effectively:
- Have a good understanding of costs associated with your BCDR infrastructure, including hardware, software licenses, cloud services, maintenance, and personnel. Regularly conduct a cost analysis to identify areas for potential optimization.
- Identify how resources are being used and those that may be underutilized. With this information, you can reallocate resources or consolidate them to be more cost-effective. Specific solutions you may be offering may even make sense to be sunset if they aren’t profitable or providing critical client value.
- If you use cloud-based BCDR solutions, monitor and optimize cloud resource usage regularly. Consider using automation to dynamically adjust resource allocation based on demand, ensuring you only pay for what you need. Optimize storage costs through data deduplication, compression, and archiving strategies.
- Consider segmenting your client base by their different BCDR requirements and develop pricing tiers accordingly. This ensures your clients are charged fairly while still covering the costs associated with delivering services so you can grow BCDR business sustainably and reach MSP business maturity.
Protecting your clients from disasters and data breaches is essential to growing your business and protecting your revenue stream. Having the right BCDR solutions in place can help meet the growing needs of your MSP and your clientele.
BCDR solutions from ConnectWise deliver reliable and secure business continuity and disaster recovery backed by powerful automation and a 24/7 NOC to help get your clients back to work in minutes, not days. Watch an on-demand demo today to learn more about the benefits of a robust BCDR solution.