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When it all goes T*ts up

business msp Oct 20, 2021

Do you know what would make for a good week in an MSP?

One where nothing actually goes wrong! Wouldn't that be just, a thing of beauty?

Disaster struck in the past week as two major cloud outages had MSPs scrambling for their backup plans, only to discover that.. well, they didn't have any!

Both VoIP and Documentation services suffered outages last week as we saw Bandwidth deal with a massive denial of service attack which brought VoIP systems down for much longer than any of us felt comfortable with, and that was followed up with an outage at IT Glue which saw MSPs locked out from accessing passwords needed to access customers systems and provide support, like, the actual service that people are paying them for.... that's not awkward at all.

But all of these issues, both past, present, and future, present one single question to those MSPs who just sat tight and waited for this all to blow over.

And that is, what are you doing to ensure your own business continuity?

The answer to that, is, of course, to plan. Because as the saying goes - Proper Planning and Preparation prevent piss poor performance.

For your Documentation system like IT Glue, make sure you are taking a regular offline backup, maybe weekly or monthly, that can be stored somewhere securely.

That could be exporting of all of your client's passwords, printing them, and storing them in a safe.

It could be downloading them, putting them onto a USB File, and putting THAT into a safe.

Or maybe just storing it in a very securely encrypted format, which you know you can get to in the event of a significant outage.

At least that way you would have the majority of your passwords to continue providing your support.

But what if your RMM or support tool has an outage?

Likewise, think ahead.

Either install a second tool that gives you a backup route in - which I've actually previously done due to remote tools sometimes being pretty flakey as it was.

Or have a workaround that you can use to manually connect to clients' systems, like TeamViewer, which gets you access by them following a few basic steps to let you in.

This of course extends to all of your services, having a backup internet connection or ensuring your services are accessible to all of your staff remotely, but of course there are some services where you simply cannot really plan for.

In the Bandwidth example where VoIP services were affected, and years ago I experienced a similar outage with Gamma here in the UK - where the whole platform was affected, to an extent where even the built-in disaster recovery wasn't working, it wasn't diverting calls to mobiles because the actual platform itself was down.

If you really wanted to prevent this, then you could look at perhaps, dual phone numbers. So on your website, you list 2 different numbers to call rather than just the one number. Or perhaps you simply update your website with the new number during the outage, knowing that you have a second VoIP system that you can quickly deploy.

In some cases, you will of course just have to sit it out, but the thing here is to at least think and plan and present these options to your clients.

Even if your clients are sat there, feeling helpless, much like you might be feeling as an MSP, there are always options - and if a client is losing significant income because of an outage, there's nothing that prevents you from presenting alternatives, perhaps short term solutions that gets them at least running at a basic level for now, and until normal service resumes.

I've even been in some of those situations before where halfway through implementing those services, the primary services come back online again - in which case you can once again, just speak to your client and ask if they want you to continue in case it happens again, or just pull the rug and revert back to what they had before.

The key thing here is to make sure you are protecting yourself with alternative solutions when the services and systems you use as an MSP aren't available, and more importantly, communicate the options to your clients.

I'm sure we are all guilty sometimes of just sitting back when things get taken out of our hands, particularly with large-scale outages - but what you can do here is BE that MSP that you all want to be.

Be the one that cares.

Be the one who goes that step further.

Who communicates more and better with their clients.

Because at the end of the day, customers are going to recognise the MSPs who go that little bit further to help them out in desperate times of need, than those who just sit on the sidelines and wait for everything to go back to normal.

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