5 Best-Practices for MSP’s to size up client data backups

5 Best-Practices for MSP’s to size up client data backups

Backups are a critical part of every MSP’s service offering. One of the biggest struggles for MSP’s is sizing up their client’s data storage and growth needs. If you are planning to create a backup, the first thing on your mind should always be the size of the backup repository. In the beginning it may sound appealing to save money by using a smaller repository, but this may cost you big in the long run.

Below are 5 major points that must be kept in mind when planning a Back Up.


(1.) Classify What's Being Backed Up - If the data changes frequently, it is wise to keep more storage for that data. Servers running Databases may result in frequent changes to the initial data [SQL, Exchange, File Servers] in comparison to applications like Active Directory, which do not.

(2.) Estimate Protected Data Size - Always account for not only the used space but the total space allotted to the backed-up machines. Data Volumes are often attached or sized by considering future data growth. Hence, our Storage requirement must be estimated to accommodate growth.

(3.) Define Recovery Point Objective (RPO) -The higher the RPO, the lesser the data loss but also the more storage required. Why is this? RPO acknowledges the maximum data (measured by time) that can be lost after a recovery from a disaster or failure acceptable to an organization. This is the most critical aspect of any successful disaster recovery plan and helps us structure how often we should backup our data. This results in a direct impact to our storage requirement and should always be projected while planning for capacity.

(4.) Identify Backup Location & Frequency - Onsite storage can be used for frequent backups that require real time exigencies, whereas offsite storage is used for dire situations where there are less frequent runs and an archival storage requirement. Be careful when sending frequent backups to offsite storages, as these typically consume more bandwidth and can cause bottlenecks within your networks that interfere with production.

Always make sure that your network equipment can handle the extra load. If you are duplicating the data to offsite storage, you can choose how often the copies should be created thus controlling the space consumed at the offsite storage.  It is advisable to follow the 3-2-1 rule.

3) — Have at least three copies of your data.

2) — Store the copies on two different media.

1) — Keep it safe with one backup copy offsite.

(5.) Keep Storage Utilization In Check - Most backup tools require free space on the target location to perform temporary processing. Plan on mechanisms to track free space on your Storage as most backup tools require 5 to 10% of space at all times to process backups [consolidation/retention/merge/compacting etc.].