It is not uncommon for backups to fail. MSPs are often notified when that happens. But for many in the industry, uncompleted backups can easily go unreported. This has been a major risk, as MSPs often do not receive notifications for backups that do not run. They do not count as failures, so backup systems do not create notifications to warn that something has gone wrong.
When backup problems are unreported, MSPs have to spend hours manually managing and tracking a client’s backup environment. This can be an enormous task. Between multiple clients and a variety of backup methods and platforms, MSPs know that it can take countless hours of time and effort to make sure that their clients data is safe.
River Run, an MSP operating in the Midwest and serving clients nationally for more than 30 years, works hard to provide top tier backup support for clients. However, even they have experience with non-functioning backups. An example of which led a client to restore to an older state and lose out on more recent data.
To prevent this from happening again, River Run was looking for a way to improve their reporting and management of backups and do it in a way that was more efficient for staff. The answer they found was Backup Radar.
Matthew Moog has been an employee at River Run for 16 years as a Senior Systems Engineer and a member of the Senior Technical Leadership Team, Moog oversees the engineering team at River Run that ensures a focused precision on backups and firewalls. Moog shared that River Run started using Backup Radar as a way to improve the backup reporting processes that had been a point of trouble with other services.
“The immediate need was when we identified that we were literally blind to non-operating backups, and we already had a standing order that you never leave a client without backups,” he said. “When we realized that we were completely blind to non-operational backups, we all kind of went ‘What? That’s not okay, how do we fix this?’”
River Run’s first-hand experience with non-functional backups sparked the conversation that led them to Backup Radar. After losing a client due to a missed backup, Moog knew that they needed a better method of monitoring their backup process.
“If a backup did not run, no news is good news, right? The system perceived that as a success and reported nothing. We lost a client because of that. Their backups weren’t running and we weren’t aware of it,” Moog said. “It’s a huge deal because a client could literally go months without a backup because it never runs. Maybe the schedule got disabled and nothing sends up a flag saying there’s no backups. That’s terrible. We can’t have that. Thus, Backup Radar.”
As issues with missed backups continued, Backup Radar was recommended to Moog, who researched the platform and chose to implement it into their workflow.
“We really wanted to evaluate and look at our options out there, and I really couldn’t find anything even kind of similar. So that is where our use of Backup Radar came from.”
The revenue stream lost when a client leaves is an incredibly important consideration for MSPs, which made the safety and security of Backup Radar the right fit for River Run. They wanted to preserve their existing relationships with clients and build a sense of trust and security.
“It was very easy for me to justify the cost of bringing in Backup Radar when we were losing revenue in time given back to clients or client attrition. It was a very easy conversation.”
Backup Radar allowed River Run to sync their backup information to the app and get comprehensive backup notifications even when those backups were non-operational or did not generate a failure status that would normally be reported. That comprehensive monitoring allowed the MSP to trust their processes and catch any problems that may have otherwise slipped by their notice.
Improving their backup notifications also saved time for River Run staff, who used to manually check a spreadsheet every day against their backup’s data portal. The team would conduct checks every morning and afternoon, leading to a ton of time spent per week just to monitor backups for any missed failures.
“I think we had about eight hours a week of people checking backups and obviously that’s been reduced to nothing,” Moog said. “[River Run staff] can actually do their jobs instead of checking backups. It was either the Technical Service Leaders on the team or our automation guy who would do that. I would rather our automation guy figure out how to automate things than manually reviewing backups every day.”
River Run now has proactive ticketing based around backup failures and has tuned the system to generate notifications daily to reduce backup noise. It’s not uncommon for a job to fail once or twice a day out of 25 backups, but if the failure persists for more than a single day then a notification will be generated. This allows most failures to self-correct by the next day’s scheduled backup, avoiding unwanted ticket noise.
Backup Radar has also been used in communication with River Run’s clients. They are able to show their clients the value they bring by outlining the rate of backup failures and how the team was able to proactively address those issues before they became problems.
For Moog, that proactive alerting of backup issues has made a big impact on their clients. In the past, backup issues were often found only when the client needed a restore, and it couldn’t be done because a backup was not running. Improving the trust in backup monitoring has allowed River Run and their clients to have a more consistent experience, and have faith in the security of their data.
“It’s also enabled us to roll out standards better for backups too. Because things like encrypted backups and air gap backups, things like that, if we were burning a bunch of time on monitoring backups, we wouldn’t have the time to implement those solutions that allow for a more secure backup environment.”
That trust in the security of data starts with the River Run team. Moog said he does not feel the need to check the health of backups in the Backup Radar dashboard because he trusts that ticketing system to keep his team informed.
“I am more efficient as a tech and our team is more efficient as technicians because they don’t have to dig through the backup appliance itself. They can go to one console and see the health of the whole thing. So there is an efficiency that allows us to provide better service to the clients.”
When it comes to operating a successful MSP, the value of service and revenue that the organization can generate is vital to maintaining a sustainable business and growing even further. At River Run, Moog said Backup Radar is playing a role in helping to preserve revenue and make sure that the current expenses are generating more value. Saving staff time by no longer needing to manually check backup health spreadsheets has saved at least eight hours a week. This adds up to a lot more time the staff can spend being focused on clients.
“This proactive approach to backup monitoring and addressing tickets that generate due to non-responsive backups does have the potential to generate new revenue that was not there before,” Moog said.
“We preserve revenue with Backup Radar in the respect that we are aware of those backup issues before they become problems and a pain point for the client. We generate some revenue and we preserve some revenue. Generate with the respect that we create actionable items as they come up within a reasonable timeframe. Preserving in the respect that we do not lose clients because backups were not working or because we do not have bodies that are literally wasting their days checking the health of backups.”
With concrete benefits like saving on revenue and even less tangible aspects like improved relationships with clients due to more proactive monitoring and service, River Run has been able to take their already high-quality service to the next level. More efficient internal processes keep their team informed and ready to address anything that comes up. River Run can be there when their clients need them most. Get started with Backup Radar. Book a personalized demo now and tailor a package to suit your needs.