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Reselling Disaster Recovery? Start By Asking These 12 Questions

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ask these questions to learn about your client's IT disaster recovery needs

One of the best ways to introduce your MSP customers to the cloud is to implement cloud-based backup or disaster recovery infrastructure. As we have previously explained here on the blog, DR is an easy first step into the cloud and can in fact be used to migrate entire applications to cloud as the primary infrastructure.

Disaster Recovery as a Service is a solid avenue to add recurring revenue to your bottom line, then, and it also provides peace of mind for your customers, as they know their data and systems will be accessible even if their primary servers go down.

The first step to selling a disaster recovery plan is the discovery step. Use these twelve questions to learn the needs of your customers and what kind of service level they will need for their DR.


Setting Expectations

You should start by probing any current backup and/or disaster recovery plans, as well as the customer’s general attitude and expectations around DR. This can help you determine if they are a good fit or if they may be a difficult customer at a later date. It can also help you demonstrate expertise as you describe how they might be able to improve.

  1. Have you ever encountered data loss or data corruption for any reason? What happened?
  2. How would unexpected downtime impact your daily business operations?
  3. What systems are absolutely critical to keep online?
  4. How would the loss of some or all of your data affect your daily operations?
  5. As it stands today, how do you protect your data, both in terms of accessibility and security?
  6. What do you expect from a disaster recovery plan?

Dig Into the Infrastructure

If you don’t already know much about this customer’s infrastructure, you’ll want to dig in and learn about what kind of data they are handling, what kind of applications they are using, the operating systems and virtualization platform underneath it, and any compliance mandates or other security considerations.

  1. What is hosted in the IT environment that requires disaster recovery?
    Ask what applications are used, who accesses them, where they need to be available, etc.
  2. How many resources are currently in-use?
    Get a general idea of the CPU, memory, storage, and network requirements.
  3. What types of records are being stored? Are any of them subject to compliance standards?
  4. Are there any other regulations you need to comply with?
  5. Which data and applications are mission critical to your organization?
    This helps set an affordable Recovery Point Objective and Recovery Time Objective for disaster recovery. Many apps can be brought back online later, while some must be accessible 24/7.
  6. Where is everything currently hosted? What are the capabilities of that infrastructure?
    Learn if they are using on-premise servers or another service provider. Ask about network capacity, virtualization platforms, operating systems, and licensing.


These questions give you a strong baseline to take to your technical team or to your service provider partner to develop a custom quote around disaster recovery for an SMB or midsize business. The key is to spark a dialogue, not just launch through your pitch deck and scare them into a solution that may be expensive and ineffective.

While DR is a great first step into the cloud, it can scare customers away from other cloud services if the value is not demonstrated. Just don’t go so far as to pull the plug on your customer’s server rack, forcing a failover.

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