Delivering reliable data backup services is challenging in any setting. But for MSPs who work with clients in regions prone to natural disasters, such as California, backing up data reliably is even more difficult — especially if customers expect the option of being able to store data locally as well as in the cloud.
This was one of the challenges faced by CorpInfo, an MSP that has operated in Southern California since 1983. Finding backup software and data storage solutions that would enable the company to protect its clients’ data in the event of fires, earthquakes or other natural disasters was a critical consideration for the company. So was building a backup and recovery solution that offered competitive pricing, flexible storage options, and MSP-friendly automation. For all of these reasons, CorpInfo has turned to MSP360 Managed Backup as the backbone of its backup and restore process.
Challenges: Data Storage Flexibility and Simple Backup Routines
Having been in the MSP business for decades, CorpInfo has long offered data backup and recovery services. Originally, however, it relied on the BackupExec software platform to power its backup routines. That solution posed several challenges.
The biggest was lack of support for cloud backups, which BackupExec did not allow at the time that CorpInfo used it. The inability to backup data to the cloud was particularly problematic given the location of CorpInfo’s clients in Southern California, where local backup storage is at an especially high risk of being destroyed or brought offline because of natural disasters. In California, the risks from natural disasters include not just earthquakes or fires that might destroy local data storage media, but also the chance that electricity might be deliberately shut off in order to mitigate the risk of wildfires — a practice that led to the loss of power at millions of homes and businesses in California in 2019.
In addition to not being well equipped to meet the challenges of natural disasters, BackupExec lacked the ease-of-use that CorpInfo required to make its backup operations scalable. The tool was not designed for MSPs, was difficult to use in an automated way for multiple clients, and did not offer competitive pricing — which meant that it was difficult for CorpInfo to generate profits from its backup service.
At first, CorpInfo experimented with other backup solutions that supported cloud storage. It found that most required the use of proprietary cloud storage services rather than storage in a generic public cloud like AWS. The proprietary cloud storage solutions cost about fifteen percent more than generic cloud storage. This complicated the company’s efforts to find a cost-efficient and profitable backup solution.
Meanwhile, CorpInfo also faced the challenge of having to support customers who in certain cases desired local backup storage in addition to a cloud-based backup. The company initially considered delivering local backup by setting up BDR appliances in its clients’ data centers. This approach, however, proved prohibitively expensive, given that BDR appliances cost $3,000 or more per device. In addition, this strategy did not provide a streamlined way for CorpInfo to back up data locally as well as to the cloud; instead, it had to manage a separate backup routine for local backups and cloud backups.
Cost-Efficient Cloud, Flexible Backup with MSP360
After CorpInfo’s experimentation with other backup platforms proved unsuccessful, the company migrated to MSP360 Managed Backup as the foundation of its backup and recovery routines. With MSP360, CorpInfo has achieved several crucial advantages.
One is the ability to back up data to local, inexpensive NAS devices as well as to the cloud using a single tool and a single backup process. This approach has allowed CorpInfo to meet clients’ demands for local backup, while also storing additional copies of their data in the cloud in order to safeguard against the risk of natural disasters in the Southern California market. And by relying on affordable NAS storage to power local backup, the solution has eliminated the need for CorpInfo to invest in expensive BDR appliances.
"The fact that MSP360 Managed Backup supports a range of cloud storage solutions has also been a benefit. We use Amazon S3 storage for most of our clients, but the fact that we can opt to use other clouds for certain of our clients allows us to optimize the cost-efficiency and performance of MSP360 Managed Backup solution for each customer.”
– Verne McNamara
In addition, MSP360 Managed Backup makes it easy for CorpInfo not just to automate its backup routines and monitor them from a single dashboard, but also to recover data quickly when disaster strikes one of its clients. It does this by backing up entire server images in the cloud, which gives it the option of spinning up those images as cloud-based virtual machines in order to restore clients’ data. In addition to enabling fast recovery, this solution helps to ensure that clients’ systems can be brought back online via cloud-based environments even if an event such as an earthquake makes their local data centers inoperable.
Finally, the fact that MSP360 Managed Backup is priced competitively, while also supporting backup to low-cost cloud storage services, has helped CorpInfo to optimize its profit margins. So has the ability to lower backup costs even further by choosing annual billing for MSP360 Managed Backup and taking advantage of the volume discounts that MSP360 offers.
CorpInfo’s experience with MSP360 Managed Backup has proven so successful that the company has adopted other MSP360 tools to help power its operations. It uses MSP360 Drive to map its customers to Amazon S3 storage. It also relies on MSP360 Explorer to keep track of all of its clients’ backup files through an easy-to-use interface.
There is a multitude of software tools and storage options for data backup. At first glance, they may seem interchangeable. Yet when it comes to achieving cost-efficient, flexible backup, as well as meeting the special needs of clients whose data centers are threatened by major natural disasters in areas like Southern California, solutions like MSP360 Managed Backup stand apart for being MSP-friendly, supporting a wide range of different storage options and enabling highly profitable backup and recovery services.