In this week's installment of MSPtv, we're joined again by Continuum's Chief Information Officer, Hunter Smith, as we dive deeper into Continuum's backup and disaster recovery (BDR) platform, Continuity247®. Hunter goes over the many benefits of Continuity247, including both the technological and business benefits, showing how Continuity247 differs from any other BDR platform in the market today.
The Continuity247 platform is integrated with a world-renowned, reliable public cloud (IBM's Cloud, Softlayer infrastructure) and is fully managed 24 hours/7 days a week by our powerful Network Operations Center (NOC), making Continuity247 the backup and disaster recovery (BDR) platform for MSPs. To learn more about how Continuity247 can change your business for the better, check out this latest episode and stay tuned for future MSPtv coverage on Continuity247.
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Scott: Hi, I'm Scott Glidden, and welcome to another episode of MSPtv. I'm here today again with our Chief Information Officer Hunter Smith. How are you today?
Hunter: Good, and yourself?
Scott: Excellent, thanks. We're going to continue to follow up on our series on security. In our first program, you'll recall we talked about security considerations, public and private Clouds. In our second program, we went into a little bit more in depth about the differences between a public, a private, and a hybrid Cloud and introduced you to Continuity247, Continuum's backup and disaster recovery product.
Today we're going to go into a little bit more depth on that. Hunter, I think maybe if you could start us out. What are some of the business reasons that people might consider Continuity247?
Hunter: That's a good question, Scott. When we thought about developing Continuity247, we really took a look at the BDR landscape, backup data recovery landscape, and looked at what the requirements were. We really felt like there was a need that wasn't being met there. Specifically when we created Continuity247, we brought a focus to wanting to be able to restore not just devices but entire environments, so that when a client has an environment that goes down we have a product that will allow them to bring that environment back up and get back working as quickly as possible.
Scott: If I'm looking to bring back an entire environment, how does that work within Continuity?
Hunter: Within Continuity, realizing that we've chosen to build this on our private Cloud sitting on top of SoftLayer's public Cloud, we actually take the backups that are created of the individual devices that comprise an environment. We store those backups encrypted within that private Cloud. And then when there's an actual need, we create a private, secured container and we actually restore those actual encrypted backups into that secured container. We restore any single appliance, all the way up to an entire environment. And then what we do is we will provide access to that secured environment over a secured VPN connection.
Scott: Wow, okay. If my system goes down, potentially I can be back up and running within my production environment. That's really a solid part of the product.
Hunter: Absolutely. What we really saw the need as is that when a piece of equipment goes down or an environment goes down, in most cases we found that businesses really needed to be able to get back up and running. It was more about, "How do I resume business?" than it was anything else. We saw that as an unmet need that we've built Continuity247 to address.
Scott: Okay. In terms of the storage requirements that I might need based on the various client end users that I have, how does Continuity work around that?
Hunter: Again, coming back to our infrastructure sitting on the SoftLayer public Cloud, what we've done is we have taken storage, made it part of our private Cloud, and then what we do is we will offer it as pooled storage to the MSP so that they can actually aggregate any number of backups on that pooled storage. You can think about it as almost having a bank account, where the amount of storage I have is my bank account. As I make backups, it's almost like writing checks. I debit out of the bank account that I have so that I can manage the total balance and not have to worry about the individual checks that I'm writing.
Scott: I'm not necessarily paying for more than I'm using, as an MSP.
Hunter: No. And so the beauty is with pooled storage I know what I'm paying for and I'm getting to consume what I'm paying for. If I'm not consuming it, then I don't have to.
Scott: Speaking of paying for it, what can you tell me about that?
Hunter: Realizing that not everyone's environment is the same, but wanting to have a solution that focuses on allowing not just device or server restores but to allow an entire environment to be brought up, we actually have created a number of flexible but predictable pricing packages that give an MSP a myriad of options to pick the right product that fits their need.
Scott: Okay. So it's not going to be a mystery as when I get to the end of the month, what my billing might be or what I need to charge a client.
Hunter: No. It's very flexible, but it's quite predictable. You'll know exactly where you stand at the end of the month.
Scott: Okay. Let's talk a little bit about some of the technology solutions around the product. I understand it's hardware agnostic.
Hunter: It absolutely is hardware agnostic. We bring backups into the environment. They are stored on an encrypted basis. When they are restored, they get restored in a virtual container. Any number of devices that exist from an environment can be restored into a virtual container. We wrap the ability to create a contiguous network across those restored appliances. Then we use VPN connectivity to provide external access to the client whose environment was being restored, so that they can get into the environment and consume it as if it were their actual production environment.
Scott: Great. So within that restoration of my environment I'm able to get back to files that I need as well, correct?
Hunter: Yeah. If an MSP today is used to using a file restore product, this is going to work a little bit different, but it will still provide the same end result. We think about restores wrapped around a device or a server. You have to restore that first, and then you can access the files that you want to restore if you want to think about restoring files. We tend to have more of a focus on restoring devices and entire environments, but we do have the ability to actually restore files. We're continually working on our ability to improve that file restore capability, realizing that that's a lot of what happens today in the current BDR space.
Scott: Sure. You mentioned BDR, backup and disaster recovery. I've also heard you refer to Continuity as BCDR.
Hunter: Yeah. Thinking about it a little bit differently, we didn't think about just backup and data recovery. We really changed the B and added a C to think about business continuity and data recovery. The thing that we consider to be of primary importance is the ability for a client to restore their entire environment and get their business back up and running when there's been a disaster. We realize that there's also a need to be able to do other types of restores, but that one we felt like was an unmet need. That's why we introduced Continuity247.
Scott: Yeah. I don't recall the numbers offhand, but they're in the 80 percentile, I think. When businesses have a disaster and they're not able to get back up and running quickly, many of them are out of business within three to five years.
Hunter: Right. Depending on the nature of a disaster, if a business is not back up and running in two to three business days, in many cases the impact can be devastating. Being able to provide a solution that covers and meets that need we felt was crucial.
Scott: Now, if I'm an end client and I'm hearing this and I'm thinking okay, let's say my building burned down and we've been doing this backup on a regular basis. My employees or what have you are going to be able to access the environment through a VPN?
Hunter: That's correct. We would create this virtual container within our private Cloud at SoftLayer, and then we would provide externally accessible secured VPN connectivity to that end client. It requires an access token to be able to connect to, but then it would give you access to your environment.
Scott: So security is pretty redundant within the whole product.
Hunter: Security is actually baked into the product throughout.
Scott: Okay. You had mentioned this before, but encryption starts from the moment I hit the key to start the first backup.
Hunter: Encryption starts from the moment that you hit the key to actually back up to the local appliance sitting in the environment, and then it's encrypted over a secured connection as it gets transmitted into SoftLayer and our private Cloud.
Scott: Perfect. As an MSP, the next question I'm going to have is, "How do I sell this product?" That's a program in and of itself, I assume.
Hunter: Yeah, that's probably a topic for a different discussion.
Scott: Okay, so you'll come back and we'll talk about that?
Scott: In another week or so? Thanks very much for joining us here today, folks. Hope you learned a few things about Continuity247 and its place in your product structure. Look forward to seeing you again. Thank you.
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