Question about your dealings with Synology and reselling managed backup

First, before anything else - TOM… You looked seriously tired in your most recent synology video lol… looked like you just took the red eye from Tokyo, landed at 6am and filmed straight away! Don’t spread so thin man, we need you!

OK, so after watching Tom’s most recent synology video, it prompted me to come here and ask a couple questions.

I sell a lot of what I’ve termed “managed backup solutions”. I’m not functioning in the MSP model, but rather a break/fix model, HOWEVER, I sell a lot of managed backup to clients - here’s my stack:

-Synology DS - model varies depending on needs.
-Install/setup fees
-Macrium reflect workstation license (since I do snapshot backup) I used to use advanced business backup but it doesn’t support restoring to dissimilar hardware which blows my mind. If the computer dies and they get a new one, how am I supposed to recover?

I resell the C2 service, generally I double it, so for most clients all they need is 1TB so I charge $140/year. After that, I charge a monthly “maintenance” charge billed annually which currently starts at $20/mo annually.

I really don’t know what to charge for the management. When I say “management”, basically what I’m selling is a monthly login(this is what I tell my clients) to their Synology machine, verifying the backup schedule I set is working and there are the correct x-number of backups, etc… Then I log into the C2 panel and verify everything is making it correctly to cloud storage.

Can you all please comment on what I’m doing and how you’d change it, knowing what you know as experienced providers? All of this is useless without context so I’ll tell you I’m on the east coast, and my on-site labor rate is $130/hr. The average is $150/hr here.

I would not consider the Synology a scalable managed backup until they have a single dashboard to see all the backups in. So what you charge should be base on how much time it takes you to do those tasks multiplied by how often per month you do them.

I think your pricing is a good value for companies. Backups aren’t really a big profit maker, but they are great for establishing trust with the customer and likely you are the one they are calling for their additional technology needs. If they have an event they should be paying your hourly rate for the recovery. I would limit the maintenance to the scope of keeping the backups running.

Personally, I don’t bother with image based backups unless the customer requires DR. As long as you set expectations on what will happen if a server or other resource goes down and put it in writing you should be fine.

@FredFerrell appreciate the insight. Why not image backups? Is that not the fastest means of recovery? How do you backup and why?

Also, thanks for the words on my managed solution and how much I charge.

Yeah in your video about it I remember you asking for a one-place-all-client dashboard. Shame they don’t do that. So I actually had a meeting a couple months ago with the Synology sales rep for my area. It’s a good thing I love the product line and especially DSM because their “partner” offering is barbaric at best.

I told him I’d like to have ONE management account and to sell cloud storage to my clients through that - not an option. I have to create each of my clients a Synology account but use MY EMAIL and MY CREDIT CARD. It’s really awkward. And then, to top it all off, I ask “so who do I put in my orders to?” and his response? “You just order them from Amazon. You can’t actually buy them from us directly”. I’m sorry, come again what? I’m a “partner” with you and I can’t purchase your products factory direct? So bizarre.

Imaged based backups generally require on-prem storage and expensive licensing. Also, all my customers applications are cloud hosted so I don’t see a need to backup workstations if all their data is already duplicated via O365, SaaS, or my cloud hosting. I do copy VMs in my cloud hosting after major changes and take daily backups of the data, usually MS SQL or some other export of a DB. If I have an issue I can do a restore within a day.

@FredFerrell Hey Fred, I’m struggling with this. I replace hard drives with SSD’s and re-install Windows on a daily basis in my business. I do these managed backups for my business clients. So, I’ve got a CPA I just picked up and he’s got about 15 tax programs he uses every day. We can back up his data no problem, but getting all the programs installed, working with one another, gives me anxiety just thinking about it. That’s where image backups come in.

So I’m not backing up for multi-workstation environments where basically all they need is the data in their home folders. I’m trying to develop a go-to backup protocol for my business clients in which I can recover very quickly. Image backups to a Synology(and then backed up to cloud storage) using Macrium seems like the perfect solution - especially seeing as that Macrium offers the ability to restore to new hardware.

Can you talk a little about what I just explained and sort of let me know why it’s not necessary, overkill or otherwise impractical? I’d be perfectly happy using Synology Advanced Backup for Business, but that will require me to reinstall applications which is a non-starter.

Sorry for the delay. The benefit of having an image based backup is exactly like you pointed out, you don’t have to rebuild a system from scratch. In many cases it isn’t a big deal, but if you have 15 applications on a given system I can understand using that type of backup solution. Given the cost of having to rebuild that system, it is likely cheaper to have the Synology and Macrium licensing in place.