Blog by Ed Burke, president of B2BMSP Technology Services and speaker at the upcoming coming to five U.S. cities between February 28 and March 15, 2012

If you spend much time with your IT customer, you’ll eventually get a tour of their data center, where they’ll proudly speak to you about the mission-critical hardware and cool software that serves their company. When the moment is right, ask them about their backup processes. Don’t be alarmed if they suddenly freeze and get real quiet; they’ll probably try to change the subject. Why is this? Because most customers are relying on HOPE —  hope that nothing goes down — rather than having confidence in the capabilities of their backup system. Finally, ask them if they’ve tested their backups, and by that I mean that they’ve restored an image or file that was randomly selected from whatever medium they are using. Doubtful!

Over the last few years, we’ve polled hundreds of end users and over 70% have responded that among all their common IT responsibilities, their backup process is the cause of the greatest worry. They hate their backup solution and they know it is inadequate. They’ve “CYA-ed” themselves by complaining to their management that more budget allocation is needed for improvements. However, unless they’ve actually experienced a major outage, their backup falls further and further behind in priority. Meanwhile, the customer is fully aware of what could happen and that awareness keeps them awake at night watching the weather channel for signs of impending storms.

Instead, a backup, business continuity, and disaster recovery system should be the reliable unsung hero of the IT department. Like Batman popping out of his cave when he sees the bat-signal, it shows up when you really need it, does its job, then disappears into the background.

Once every few years, every company will experience a major failure that requires files or images to be restored.

When this happens, suddenly everyone in the company looks to the IT manager and the backup system to find and recover the ‘lost’ files. At that point it doesn’t matter if the budget hasn’t been approved; it can be a true career-threatening event if the solution doesn’t work. These failures could also trigger a momentary budgetary increase and possible replacements in the IT staff.

A good managed backup service gives your customer peace of mind. It restores a company’s confidence in IT, and in the grand scheme of things, it is extremely affordable. If you are a solutions provider that has been selling traditional backup, you probably won’t want to put your reputation on the line that your solution will work. But it’s been shown that if you’ve provided a managed backup service based on the Axcient solution, both you and your customer can get a good night’s sleep. The appliance, like a true unsung hero, simply sits in the IT department doing its job: protecting your customer’s data. You can go to it 24×7 to get lost files or images, and if something truly catastrophic happens, you can get your lost data from the Axcient cloud. Your IT customer will never stop thanking you.

I got a call the other day from a customer that had restored a file for his boss, who felt that it was like a miracle! Nothing makes a solutions provider feel better than to get those types of positive calls. Helping your customer alleviate one of their biggest pain points is very rewarding. With the Axcient solution, you too can become the unsung hero.

My reputation depends on it!

Ed Burke regularly blogs about managed services on his site, http://b2bmsp.com. At the 2012 HP/Axcient Cloud Roadshow, he will share success stories from resellers implementing cloud-based solutions to increase their monthly recurring revenue.