There’s no question that cloud computing is the way of the future, especially when it comes to data backup and recovery. However, there’s also no question that some data backup and recovery solution providers are not as forward-thinking and advanced as others.
When you’re looking for a vendor to partner with, make sure to look out for the seven essential qualities that will ensure you’re delivering the best to your customers:
- A quality reputation
- A scalable backup system
- Compliance experts
- A comprehensive, tested plan for disasters
- A system that easily manages backups
- Support a full range of operating systems and platforms
- Above-par customer support
1. A Quality Reputation
First, and most importantly, find a vendor with a stellar reputation, strong financial backing and great customer references. When you consider selecting a partner, look for an organization with the same business values as yours, with a solid business plan and the ability to be in business as long as your customers’ data needs to be stored. Ask for case studies, and don’t be afraid to follow up on them; customer testimonials are the best validation you can get.
2. A Scalable Backup System
Not all backup systems scale readily. You need to offer your customers a data protection architecture that can grow with their business. Not all customers are equal, so you need a solution that will work for customers of all sizes. Look for an option that will handle backups automatically for your smaller customers but also offers tools to manage complex environments for your larger customers. Look for “changes-only” and compression technologies to speed backups and save space. And insist on bandwidth throttling to balance traffic and ensure network availability for other business applications. Finally, make sure your solution relies on common technology to scale easily as your business--and your customers’ businesses--grow.
3. Compliance Experts
Most companies have problems satisfying privacy, security and data retention regulations. You want to be able to serve your customers that are in regulated industries, so choose a data protection partner that has deep know-how about compliance and the technology to ensure it. How do you recognize a strong compliance partner? They’ll gladly show you a table of regulatory requirements specific to your industry, and list for you how their products, services and technology help you satisfy them. Even better: Use a vendor that successfully completes an SAS-70 Type II audit every year, which helps you comply with regulatory requirements.
4. A Comprehensive, Tested Plan for Disasters
You can’t completely protect customers’ data until you have a disaster recovery plan that is itself complete and tested. Step one is to find a vendor that delivers a complete disaster recovery solution. Your backup vendor should have both the product mix and professional services team to help you prepare for a worst-case scenario. You want a vendor that can train you to deal with disasters confidently, based on your customers’ actual configurations, but that also will be there to support you through a disaster when it occurs.
5. A System that Easily Manages Backups
Some of your customers won’t want to (or won’t be able to) manage their backups from one place. Choose a vendor that provides control and reporting you can use anywhere, with ease. Managing the backup environment should be simple, and the software should eliminate any guesswork that could lead to lost data. Your customers should be certain at all times that their data is protected across their entire network--including remote offices--by simply looking at a dashboard. The software should be simple to configure using wizards, yet powerful enough to meet your customers’ specific needs with customizable views, job propagation and roles-based security.
6. Supports a Full Range of Operating Systems and Platforms
Most backup vendors support a limited range of operating systems (OS), server types and applications. Not all of your customers are working on the same OS, so you want a backup and recovery solution that can support all your customers with minimal inconvenience. Look for broad and deep technology that supports their complete environment. A backup solution should accommodate a business’ environment, not vice versa. Your vendor should be selling a single solution to protect your customers’ laptops, desktops and servers regardless of the platform and applications they’re running. Beyond the broad claims, check the fine print and the level of protection offered for applications such as Exchange. For example, the solution ought to offer the ability to restore individual mail messages and contacts, and support Exchange running on a virtualized server.
7. Above-Par Customer Support
Backup vendors’ product support varies widely. Choose a vendor with support that is passionate, maybe even slightly obsessed. Customer support should be one of your vendor’s main selling points. A good vendor will give you autonomy when it matters but will also be there to help when you need it most. Does your vendor offer phone support or email-only? Is help available 24x7? Who exactly are you talking to when you call that 800 number, a real human or a computer? Find a vendor that cares about your customers as much as you do.
Partner for Success
When you partner with a successful vendor, you take steps to increase your own monthly revenue and grow your business. What’s more, your partner should understand that your success is their success and do all it can to help you not achieve your goals, but exceed them. At EVault, we work closely with our partners both to generate new business and support customers. We’d love to talk to you about working together! Drop us a line here.
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