When “24/7” Isn’t Enough: The Importance of Automated Monitoring in MSP Backup Operations

The Bocada Team | September 14, 2023

Businesses often decide to outsource data protection and other IT functions to an MSP, which on the surface can seem an obvious strategy. MSPs specialize in providing IT services, have experience and access to specialized tools, and have processes (e.g., service level agreements or SLAs) that are designed to promote good results for their clients. 

Some of the main reasons why working with MSPs can be advantageous include: 

  • Expertise – MSPs typically have skilled experts who have experience setting up and operating backup and storage systems 
  • Cost efficiency – MSPs are often staffed by IT professionals co-located in regions where labor costs are low 
  • Scalability – MSPs can easily allocate additional staff/resources as your data environment grows 
  • “24/7” monitoring – This is a big misnomer for many MSPs. Having staff assigned to your account 24/7 does not equal continuous and omniscient monitoring. More on that in a bit. 
  • Focus – Some companies think of technology and IT operations as non-core to their business and working with an MSP allows the company to focus resources on ‘core’ activities. 


Why is automated backup monitoring important? 

Storage failures, outages, natural disasters, and other incidents that affect backup success can happen at any time of day. 

If your backup operations team is only monitoring during local business hours, incident response and remediation will be delayed, leading to suboptimal data protection. 

Further, if your backup monitoring is manual/ad-hoc (as opposed to automated), it is almost certain to be sporadic and error-prone. Your backup teams can miss failures and overlook serious gaps in data protection, such as resources that do not have any backup policy in place. (To learn more about the business case for automated backup monitoring, read this guide.) 

In the event of a ransomware attack or other data loss event, spotty backup monitoring can lead to poor recoverability, higher recovery costs, higher cyber insurance premiums, and prolonged time to recovery. (Sophos: The State of Ransomware 2023) 


Does your MSP really provide continuous backup monitoring? 

While some MSPs offer “24/7 monitoring” in the sense of around-the-clock staffing, having true continuous monitoring can only be possible with an automated monitoring solution, which many MSPs choose to forgo.  

Why do some MSPs choose to forgo automated monitoring? 

Many MSPs, particularly those in regions with low labor costs, opt to throw bodies (instead of solutions) at technical challenges to protect their notoriously slim margins. Because their labor economics allow it, they can assign extra backup and storage admins to an account to demonstrate to the customer that they’ve got ample coverage. As part of this approach, they forgo automated monitoring tools and proactive alerting (e.g., Bocada) in favor of manual or ad-hoc reporting.  

The problem? No amount of manual or ad-hoc reporting can address human error or blind spots that will eventually harm the customer and blow back onto the MSP in the event of data loss or compliance failure. 

Simply Put: When MSPs neglect to automate their data protection monitoring, they leave their well-meaning backup operators ill-equipped to protect their customers’ complex data environments. 


What to do if your MSP hasn’t automated its backup monitoring 

If your MSP still relies on manual, ad-hoc, or siloed reporting processes for backup and storage monitoring, there is but one thing to do: ask them to use an automated and centralized monitoring solution like Bocada.  

Many of the world’s biggest MSPs – including Capgemini, Kyndryl, Atos, Dimension Data, DXC, CBTS, Alestra, and Datacom – already use Bocada for some of their backup-as-a-service customers. Sometimes a simple request is all it takes to begin enjoying the benefits of automated monitoring. 

In the event your MSP is not willing to use a solution like Bocada’s, please get in touch with Bocada and we’ll help you understand your options for ensuring data protection oversight.