I find your question and scenario mildly suspicious. Like you're creating some sort of narrow conditions that vindicate your own actions.
How I would fix it depends on the customer. I am not interested in consulting for your business when I've already told you my solution for this particular skillset issue: training. I do not desire to converse nor should you reveal the answer to the additional pertinent questions I would need in order to ascertain a series of ideal solutions. (e.g. what do they do, how many users, where is the data, what is the hardware, what are their losses per hour of downtime, how many hours and or days of information can they afford to lose, do they maintain hard copy backups in addition to what's on the server, etc). These are rhetroical and some of them are arguably the kind of things you shouldn't be discussing about a customer on the Internet. As your location tag says Fairbanks, Alaska. With those detail I might even be able to figure out who you did work for. That puts you and them in a bad situation and furthers the whole absurdity of using this forum.
I would note that even if they had steadfastly denied and actively prevented you from introducing a backup system. You could still have a contingency for recovery that's better than asking TR. Like detailing out what files would need to be copied from the system in the event that the server is only accessible from a pre-boot environment like WinPE or a Live Linux install (e.g. ntds.dit, etc). Having one for what you're gonna do if a disk dies and nothing is left to recover can't hurt either.http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee849849(v=ws.10)
Acronis and sector based images are terrible tools. File based imaging is vastly superior (non-destructive, less space, etc) and already freely included in the OS (amongst other features). Not to mention that system images aren't even always the right answer. Sometimes just targeted data backups meet the low goal.
You express some great fear that a backup solution will make things worse due to a lack of fallback to a system that's already broken. A very strange stance, but if it really matters to you I'd note that you can capture a file based (or sector, but it has downsides) image of the system before you restore the backup.
I'd also note that if you don't know the consequences of what your backup will do during a restoration, you're still falling down on the job. You don't have a backup until you've restored data from it. So speaking in hypotheticals here about the damage your restoration might do is not good.
What I know for sure is the answers to your challenges are not found in:
1. Asking TR
2. Blaming Microsoft
3. Not having a plan until after it happens
My tone hasn't been soft in this. I could have been a bit more smooth like honey and a little less caustic than licorice, but don't mistake this for me trying to troll you or just agitate you because I'm a jerk.
In this business people expect technology to fail. Why, could of, should of, would of isn't what they want to talk about. They want to talk about solutions. If you really want to make yourself look amazing to your customers then having a plan and a timeline for disaster recovery will keep bread on your table. It will also reflect well upon all of us that work in this field.
I am trying to help you expand your abilities. I just have a tough love approach.
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