Why Appliance-Free Backup Is a Big Advantage for Service Providers

While the digital era has brought about incredible advances in business, one potential downside is that it has made it increasingly easy to lose critical data. Essential data can be lost for several reasons, whether it’s down to user error, a security breach, or a simple hardware failure. From employee records and payroll information to privileged client information and proprietary company data, modern businesses put a lot at risk simply performing day-to-day operations on the network.

If business data is lost, it can be disastrous for even well-established companies. Because of this, businesses of all sizes must implement robust and comprehensive recovery measures and backup all important data regularly and securely.

What are cloud-based backup solutions?

As a managed services provider (MSP) looking to establish an effective backup strategy, you’ll inevitably face a big decision: should you choose a direct, cloud-first backup solution or a physical, on-site backup appliance to safeguard both your own company and your customers’ data? To help you make your decision, this guide will outline the benefits MSPs can gain by using direct-to-cloud backups that do not rely on local appliances.

The advantages of appliance-free backup

There are numerous advantages associated with cloud backups, which have grown in popularity in recent years as an alternative to physical on-site data backups. These advantages include:


A software solution can be much cheaper to acquire and maintain than a physical backup appliance. This is because, as its name implies, an appliance-free backup solution doesn’t require any hardware. There are no shipping fees for hardware, nor any costs associated with power, cooling, or data center storage. You don’t need to send a tech on-site to set up, maintain, expand, or replace the appliance—you can manage everything remotely. Although some MSPs might charge for the deployment of a virtual machine, using a software backup solution is generally significantly cheaper than the physical, on-site alternative, and saves you from having to price out a solution beyond the reach of many customers’ budgets.


The deployment of backup software agents, especially in a remote office, is dramatically simpler than installing and supporting physical hardware. Another advantage of using a cloud-based backup software solution is the time-to-deployment rate is greatly reduced, letting you begin taking backups on a new device within minutes. The use of backup profiles makes the process even quicker, and helps you standardize your data protection offer across customers. This has the bonus of freeing up your technicians to focus on other, more strategic tasks to better serve your customers.


Most suppliers of appliance-free backup software offer free trial versions, giving customers the opportunity to run the backup solution for several weeks before committing to a purchase. Physical appliance-based backup solutions tend not to offer this option because the cost and effort associated with hardware installation makes a free trial untenable. Getting the chance to test out an appliance-free backup solution before you commit allows you to make an informed choice regarding the suitability of the solution for your needs—without incurring any upfront costs.


One of the most notable benefits of cloud-based backup solutions is they give you access to a nearly unlimited amount of storage space. Provided you’re willing to pay for it, you can rest assured you won’t run out of space for new backups—or incur the headache associated with continually having to add hardware to accommodate your growing backup needs. This means cloud-based backups are a great fit for growing businesses who want to focus on their upward trajectory without worrying about their multiplying storage needs.

How can MSPs benefit?

For MSPs specifically, it’s perhaps even more important to use a software backup solution than it might be for traditional companies. This is because, unfortunately, MSPs have become a popular and common target for hackers. Cybercriminals want to infiltrate an MSP’s systems not just for company information, but in order to access client data in the process. MSPs are extremely valuable targets for cybercrime because they can provide a gateway into all the other companies affiliated with them.

The impact of lost data on service providers can be disastrous. For example, healthcare billing services company AMCA made headlines last year when it lost more than 20 million client records. After a flood of lawsuits that followed the incident, it became apparent the company would not be able to survive and they were forced to declare bankruptcy.

In some cases, even the clients of service providers are unable to recover from a data breach on their MSP, as demonstrated by Brookside ENT and Hearing Services. The company had no choice but to shut down after an attack on their MSP erased almost all of their patient records. Both AMCA and Brookside ENT and Hearing Services are just two examples of many that prove the importance of having a reliable backup solution—for both MSPs and their customers.

For MSPs, cloud-first software backup solutions are a great option. With the right solution, MSPs can reap the cost, performance, and time-saving benefits detailed above. Here are a few other MSP-specific advantages of using a virtual backup solution:

  1. Increases backup availability: The right cloud backup solution can provide you with the highest level of backup redundancy and availability. If the internet happens to go down, you will still have access to your data, if you choose to use an option like the LocalSpeedVault.
  2. Helps to meet uptime SLAs: Providing customers with a way to restore anything from a file to an entire server reaffirms and solidifies your relationship with the customer.
  3. Fast backups: Cloud-first products like SolarWinds® Backup are built with an efficient architecture that optimizes network use, keeping the amount of data being transmitted over the internet in daily backups to a minimum—speeding up backup times and allowing you to perform more backups per day than with traditional image-based solutions.

The right appliance-free backup solution for MSPs

SolarWinds Backup is a cloud-first solution designed to protect your servers, virtual servers, workstations, and Microsoft 365 data—all from a single cloud-based console. This tool provides at-a-glance status, helping your MSP reduce the time you spend monitoring and troubleshooting so you can focus on managing your business and serving your customers. SolarWinds Backup features a local backup storage option called LocalSpeedVault, which allows you to keep a local copy using an existing network share or the hardware of your choice, to help deliver against tight RTOs without the need for complex or expensive appliance-based solutions. It protects VMware, Hyper-V, Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server, and Microsoft 365 Exchange, OneDrive and SharePoint. Recovery options including bare-metal recovery, virtual restore, and file/folder level recovery are available.

This high-security solution encrypts data at rest and in transit, giving MSPs peace of mind about the safety of their data. Safeguarding your data is critical for the sake of both your company and your clients. With the right appliance-free backup solution, you can rest assured that in the event of a disaster, it’s possible to restore your data rapidly, efficiently, and reliably. To learn more and try out an appliance-free backup solution without the commitment, a 30-day free trial is available.

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