If you were driving down the road and you saw this sign, it would definitely catch your attention. “Caution, this sign has sharp edges” – huh? It’s a distraction from the real message: “The bridge is out ahead.”

Similarly, when you think about the profitability of your disaster recovery plan, you may get distracted by the initial amount of money you pay the vendor—but the real costs are what the vendor charges plus installation and maintenance time, lost work time waiting for support or delivery if an appliance fails, and both the hard and soft costs of upgrades.

For example, one large MSP in San Francisco recently pulled two years worth of data out of his ConnectWise PSA to compare the soft costs incurred by three different backup and DR solutions for his 26 SMB customers. He found the soft costs of competitor solutions were four times more than Axcient’s. With competitor solutions, his engineers spent an average of 75% more time installing agents, trying to access customer support, and swapping out appliances due to data corruption, failure, or upgrades. The MSP concluded that using Axcient would save him the time equivalent of one full-time engineer. Considering a fully loaded salary in the Bay Area for that full-time engineer, he’s saving about $100k a year.

Here are the areas where you should look to see what the real costs are for your business:

1. How much effort is needed to install, configure and deploy the solution?

Many backup solutions require that agents are installed on every target device to be backed up. You have to buy the agents, install them at about 10 minutes per computer or server, and spend even more time if there’s integration work or conflicts with current software. Compare that to Axcient, where you drop the appliance into the network and it discovers all the machines it needs to protect. Then you just point and click to backup all the devices.

2. What’s the cost of poor support?

When was the last time one of your engineers was on a five or six hour online chat with someone in India, while that same problem could have been taken care of with a 15 minute call? When there’s an issue, will you be able to talk with a live person about it? And if you do, will they know the answer? Competitors license third-party technology from multiple vendors and cobble them together to create their solution. Since they didn’t engineer the platform, they may refer you to a separate provider for support, adding hours to what could be a simple fix. At Axcient, our US-based support team will answer your call or email. They sit right next to the engineers who created the solution, so they can quickly figure out even complex issues.

3. What’s the cost of inferior technology?

Since competitors don’t have reverse incremental technology, your backups are more sensitive to corruption. And because they don’t do transactional backups, when something like a power outage interrupts a backup job, it breaks the chain and corrupts all future backups. Then when you need to spin up the virtual server, it’s corrupted. With Axcient’s reverse incremental technology, the latest backup is always the full backup. An autopruning feature incrementally shaves off the oldest backups to make room for the new. If a backup job is broken, our transactional backup technology automatically reverts to the last successful backup, so you always have a complete, uncorrupted copy of your server in case you need to failover.

4. Ever had one of your backup appliances fill up?

With many solutions, if the appliance fills up and fails the job, it corrupts the database. Then you have to delete everything off the appliance and start over. Reconstructing the data from a series of past backups can literally take days. One of my partners likes to refer to this as the “blackhole of billable hours.”  In contrast, Axcient sends alerts when your appliance is close to filling up and only starts backups that are able to be completed. This also means you always have a complete, uncorrupted copy of your server in case of failure.

5. What are the upgrade costs?

When you want to upgrade, competitors make you go through the work to buy new boxes, install agents, configure servers and deploy the solution all over again.  We copy all jobs and configurations so you’re not redoing work, and there’s no cost for new hardware. We ship the new HP box, you cable them together, we point the data at the data center to the new appliance, and then you’re done. Often Axcient is able to even upgrade customers remotely.

If you add up agent installation, added support time, appliance failures, upgrade expenses, and any other hidden soft costs (e.g. fines for not storing your data in SAS 70 II compliant data centers or costlier integration if you have Mac or Linux servers), it’s clear that the vendor cost alone does not reflect the true cost.

Remember to focus on the total picture. You’ll not only avoid the sharp edges of soft costs and the broken bridges of hardware failure, but you’ll also come up with the best value for your business.