Many MSPs deal with business-owner customers for whom tech is not a core competency. These customers may have trouble understanding and appreciating all the value you deliver as their IT services provider. One way to keep the value of your services front and center is to provide regular reports that document the status of their data protection service. Reporting is also a critical tool for your own technical team, and can even help inform your customer billing policies.
Backup is a bit like insurance. Customers pay the “premium” month after month, but if they never need to recover at-risk data, they may come to wonder what, exactly, they’re paying for. If device failure, ransomware, or accidental deletion threaten data loss and downtime, the picture changes quickly. That’s when your services are highly visible, and much appreciated. There’s nothing like coming to your customers’ rescue to help them see your value and understand what they’re paying for.
But what about those other months, when they don’t need recovery? Regular reports documenting successful backups can be reassuring. Your customers may not want to see this every day, but you can decide how often to send them, and to which customer contacts.
You can also take it a step further, by using the built-in automated Recovery Testing feature in SolarWinds® Backup. This new feature automates the process of spinning up a VM in the cloud, performing a test recovery of a server’s most recent backup, and capturing a screen shot to verify successful recovery. You can send an automated report that includes this screen shot to your customers with every test. You can choose to perform the test recovery (and send the report) every 14 days, or every 30 days.
You want your customers to see when things go right, but it’s also important to alert your technical team when things don’t go as planned. While SolarWinds Backup has a color-coded dashboard that provides at-a-glance status of backups, across all your customers and their device types, your team may not want to log in and check the dashboard every day.
To set up automatic reports of backup job failures or errors, simply create a custom dashboard view with the types of data your tech team needs to know, and specify who to send it to. This way, they can remedy any issues right away, whether or not they log into the dashboard.
Data storage usage reporting
Data storage in our private cloud is included in your price for SolarWinds Backup, typically based on the amount of protected data (selected size). This means as your archives and number of restore points grow, your bill doesn’t change.
However, the amount of data customers need to protect will likely grow, and there is a fair use policy defining how much cloud storage is included with each license before excess usage charges may apply. From the main menu bar, you can click on Storage Reporting and Historical Charts to get a sense of how much data storage each of your customers consumes.
SolarWinds pools the total amount of data storage to which your licenses entitle you, which is helpful in allowing your smaller-data customers to offset those with larger amounts of data in need of protection. However, you should still stay on top of storage consumption trends, and understand which customers may merit additional billing to protect your profit margins as data grows.
Reporting in SolarWinds Backup can be used to demonstrate your value to customers, notify your technicians when things go wrong, and understand data usage patterns to inform customer billing policies. If you’re not taking full advantage of these features, learn more here.
Carrie Reber is senior product marketing manager for SolarWinds MSP.