How to Use Screenshot Verification as a Tangible Client Deliverable
By Kevin Damghani
Kevin Damghani is a member of the Datto Global Advisory Board, was named Datto Innovator of the Year in 2018, and the Chief Partner Experience Engineer at ITPartners+, a fast-growing MSP based in Grand Rapids, MI.
Datto’s advanced screenshot verification is one of the most persuasive tools in your MSP toolbox because when leveraged properly it can save your clients heartache, time and money if they fall victim to a cyberattack, data corruption, or device failure.
A screenshot gives both you and the client reassurance that in the event of a disaster, the backup will work and be functional.
However, before you kick back and assume your job is done, here are the five things you should be doing with every Datto appliance to earn uninterrupted peace of mind.
1. Routinely Audit the Backup Settings
Check these five settings on each of your agents or devices, at least every quarter
- Frequency of Backups: Make sure this matches your current plan and priority for the agent
- Screenshots: Make sure this setting is turned on and set to alert if a screenshot has not occurred in over 30 hours
- Drives: Are the proper drives being backed up or excluded?
- Services: Are you monitoring the health of the correct services for the advanced backup verification (i.e. SQL, DHCP, DNS, Oracle) or have you missed one?
- External Device Alerts: Ensure the proper alerts are happening for device utilization, offline, or hardware issues.
2. Daily Human Monitoring of Screenshots
Don’t rely on the subject line. Though it is very rare, there can be false positives. Each day, log into Datto’s partner portal to check in on test results, and gain access to resources should you need to troubleshoot any issues.
Someday, the computers will take over. But until then, human eyes are your best first line of defense.
3. Quarterly Cloud Spin Ups of Every Agent
A full spin up can uncover potential issues and allows you to solve them before they cause problems. By spinning up your client’s entire environment in the cloud, you can ensure everything is functioning properly. For added verification, get your client’s thumbs up on the data’s accuracy after every spin up. That way you are showing your value and have a good touch point with them.
4. Document, Document, Document
As you do your quarterly spin ups, document any issues —along with the possible fixes —that you may encounter on your disaster recovery plan.
It’s also imperative to document trending errors or screenshot issues from your daily monitoring. If it’s documented, you are more likely to identify the cause or uncover trends. For example, if you find backup is failing every Monday at 8 AM, but at no other times, you can check which other services are running at that time, and rectify the issue.
5. Treat Failures as a High Priority
A failed backup is never a low priority. Consistent failures could be indicative of impending hardware failures, bad updates, OS issues or a host of underlying issues.
If you don’t prioritize failure on the first day—ideally the moment it happens—then you’re leaving your data at risk. What would happen to your business continuity if your hardware failed, and your newest backup was a week old?
The Bottom Line
Implement these five practices. Be consistent. Pledge to follow each one for each Datto device and you can be sure that when disaster strikes and that backup is needed you have done everything possible to set yourself and your client up for success.