Guest Column | March 11, 2013

Helping SMB Customers Select Online Backup Services

Tim Hannibal VaultLogix

A checklist for VARs and MSPs to build trust and determine specific online backup solution that is best for their clients

By Tim Hannibal, CEO, VaultLogix

Online/cloud-based backup offers Managed Service Providers (MSPs) and VARs a great opportunity to help their small to midsized businesses (SMBs) back up and safeguard critical files and business applications. Traditional backup measures, such as tape, disk and external hard drives, often fall short of meeting market requirements.

Building Your Client’s Online Backup Checklist

Not only does the cloud protect a company’s data from being impacted by disaster, it also removes any potential issues of data in transit, as the information is quickly and safely encrypted and sent over the Web to the service vendor’s data center. Every one of your SMB customers, regardless of size or industry, has backup needs. However, no two companies’ needs are exactly the same. To determine SMB client backup needs and to help them trust your company, start by walking through this checklist and creating a backup plan from there.


Surveys have shown that security is high on every company’s list. Before a business lets an MSP take the reins, it needs to know that its sensitive data is in good hands. Many MSPs say their solutions are secure, but the customer needs assurance. What type of security can your company as the MSP offer? Will data be encrypted at all levels? Are the backup specialists knowledgeable in a wide range of issues? Is a secondary data center in place for extra assurance? Are the data centers themselves certified for various levels of protection? Is the backup procedure SOC2 audited? Addressing these questions for your clients could prove instrumental.

Regulatory compliance

Similar to security, this is a crucial aspect of any data backup service, especially for businesses in highly regulated industries. MSPs should confirm with their clients that they are in compliance with HIPAA, the PCI-DSS, SEC, Sarbanes-Oxley and Graham-Leach-Bliley regulations, among others.

Disaster recovery time

An Aberdeen report found that businesses with cloud-based storage and backup solutions experience an average of 2.5 disaster recovery events per year, while businesses with no cloud solutions suffer 3.1 events. For businesses in the cloud, the average length of downtime per event lasts 2.1 hours. Companies without the cloud are down an average of 8 hours per event.

Disaster recovery is one of the greatest benefits of the cloud. When offering a cloud-based online backup solution, MSPs should ensure that they include specific language regarding server uptime and data recovery time worked into the service-level agreement.


MSPs should also ensure that their online backup service-level agreements specify how long they will retain backup files. Depending on the importance of the data, a company may be required to keep a file for anywhere from a few days to multiple years. It is important that these requirements are spelled out from the beginning to ensure no mishaps are encountered.

Similarly, service-level agreements should clarify data version requirements. Is a business required to keep five, seven or 20 versions of a file? In some cases, continuous data protection will be required, necessitating up-to-the-minute backup.

Application/operating system support

MSPs should be able to support a wide variety of applications and operating systems for their SMB customers. Windows still has the greatest presence for SMBs, but other operating systems like Mac OS X and Linux are also gaining supporters. A company’s various applications, like ERP, CRM and email platforms must also be considered. If this information is critical to a business’ operations, there is no reason it should be neglected when it comes to online backup.


Data backup has become a necessity for most businesses today and offers an excellent opportunity for MSPs and VARs to help their SMB customers.  But before implementing a backup service, MSPs should consider their customers’ various needs and wants and identify a solution that best fits its policies.

Tim Hannibal, President and CEO, Founder of VaultLogix

Tim Hannibal founded VaultLogix in 2002, and has more than 20 years of management and sales experience. As the CEO and founder, he funded the startup phase of the organization, arranged additional financing, and guided the company to profitability. He continues to assist VaultLogix prosperousness through industry insight, innovation, and strong leadership.  

Tim has experience with various technology products and services, including telecommunications, internet, data protection and storage. Prior to VaultLogix, he was the Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Cleartel where he helped to manage and develop the company’s growth.  Tim began his career at Worldcom, where he spent nearly a decade driving sales during the company’s integration of nine mergers and acquisitions.  

Tim received his bachelors of art from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts.