Your clients rely on their data in ways they might not even understand.
While most of them likely have a data recovery system in place already, it’s beneficial for you to have an explicit set of standards — both for their well-being, and also to relate to them the level of concern you have for preserving the lifeblood of their work.
Here are 6 best practices for choosing a system that will keep your clients secure and functioning at their best and help cement you in their minds as their best choice for maintaining their data.
- Make sure the technology is compatible with (and optimal for) your client’s systems. This might seem obvious, but the technology needs to fit. Options and offerings are always changing and upgrading, so falling back on what you or your clients have “always used” may not be the best idea. Stay on top of data recovery updates and new products, and make sure not to ignore industry specific standards that your clients might need to adhere to — not to mention the impact that trends and developments in data use have on them specifically.
Big Data, for example, is bringing changes to data recovery that many are neglecting. Mary E. Shacklett, president of Transworld Data has observed that “as companies become operationally and strategically dependent on analytics for business outcomes, it is only a matter of time before IT starts getting asked about its plans to back up, restore, and recover from a disastrous Big Data outage.”
- Don’t neglect training. You may be a pro at data and all things involving its recovery, but don’t forget the importance of formal training. Some companies offer training on their new products, and even if you’re up to date on everything they have to offer, learning how they train users and technicians may be a skill you can use with your clients.
- Know your options. You know the pros and cons of data recovery system options, but have you thought out how they align specifically with your clients needs? DAT, jukeboxes, removable disks … each has its strengths and weaknesses, and one will definitely be a better fit for your client than the others.
- Have a question list. Yes, you ask your clients questions, but are they the right ones? Are you asking the right people? Do you know how quickly they really need their data to be recovered? You may have a point of contact, but taking that person’s word isn’t always the best way to keep the company’s business. Demonstrate that you’re thinking about (and willing to delve into) the impact your recovery practices have on their operations, and you’ll have won over more of their trust.
- Make sure your client knows, and understands, what you do. Are you in the habit of just shooting over daily or weekly backup reports? Is anyone opening them? If they are, do they even know what they mean? Of course, most clients find their reports completely boring, but incentivizing them to stay engaged (or at least aware) of the benefit and peace of mind you bring them on a daily basis is a great opportunity to maintain, and even increase the business you do with them.
- Maintain your chosen solution. This in itself deserves its own set of best practices. Tapes need to be rotated and drives need to be replaced. Once you have standards for maintenance and how to handle worst case scenarios on your end, make sure your team is aware of them and well trained — and again, relaying your meticulous standards to your client is never a bad idea.
Remember that best practices are much more than just a document or ideal. They’re a set of standards that should be put into practice, reviewed regularly for applicability and relayed in some way to your clients on a regular basis. All of that will keep your performance high, and clients happy that they chose you as their VAR.