Business Resiliency & Cloud Backup Solutions: 4 Questions to Ask
After a summer of hurricanes, tornadoes and raging wildfires, many businesses have begun to ponder the question of how long they would be out of commission if a disaster hit–and how much damage that would do in terms of revenue, reputation and customer relations. As an advisor to these businesses, your job is support them as they strive for what’s called “business resiliency.” Business resiliency is a measure of how well a company can maintain the status quo in the face of a disaster. A major factor is whether or not data and IT systems can be quickly restored.
Cloud-connected backup is a solution that can save customers time, money and ultimately improve ability to maintain business continuity in the event of a disaster. For that reason, the cloud is sold as miracle solution, causing some to wonder, “is this just a lot of hype?” As an advisor — a VAR, MSP or cloud services provider (CSP) — you must make sure your customers have both the best possible protection and a good understanding of their options. People want the truth about how much the cloud can contribute to a comprehensive and reliable business continuity solution.
Of course, the cloud is not magic and there are things it can’t do. It can’t develop your customers’ business continuity plans for them. The cloud cannot replace equipment that was damaged, and the cloud cannot create a new office if their workspace was destroyed.
Despite the cloud’s inability to build your customers new office furniture, it is invaluable when you need to help them quickly and reliably recover data and systems. It can get them up and running faster, and for less money than it would cost to operate a hot site. By adding a fail-proof cloud-connected backup solution with top-notch customer service to your offerings, you give them a definitive edge when it comes to business resiliency and continuity.
Once you’ve partnered with a vendor who can support your customers’ business continuity plan, you’ll need to help your customer understand how cloud-connected backup works and work with them to adopt the solution best for them. Those choosing to adopt a cloud solution will need your help to evaluate their current systems and processes before deciding next steps. As you help your customers through updating the backup and recovery portion of their business continuity plan, guide them through these four questions.
1. Will I Be Able to Meet My Recovery Windows?
Your customers who are still using tape backup are likely spending unnecessary hours each day and week backing up data and then transferring it to an offsite location. Not only is tape backup tedious and a drain on manpower, it’s actually not entirely reliable and can often result in failed backup and error. Furthermore, tapes are easily damaged, and in many cases, tapes are stored close to the original site and end up getting destroyed in the same disaster that damaged the main office.
Disk-to-disk backup is the first way to improve backup windows. It enables not only efficient backup but also fast, onsite recovery. The missing piece is, of course, the offsite data center. That’s where the “cloud-connected” element comes in. After your customers back up locally, the data and systems are also replicated to the remote location: the cloud. With a cloud-connected solution, you can help your customers satisfy short backup window requirements and have the added protection of a remote backup center.
2. Will My Recovery Meet My SLA Requirements?
Most companies say they need to recover their data and systems within 24 hours. MSPs and their customers know how important SLAs are, and customers take them very seriously. With cloud-connected backup, not only will your customers’ data be stored in the cloud, but their entire system will be as well. That means that systems are fully replicated, rather than simply backed up, and they already exist in full in a virtualized environment. That makes a full restore possible within a few hours. Offer your customers a three-pronged approach to recovery: disk-to-disk backup, virtualization in the cloud and of course, Recovery-as-a-Service (RaaS). RaaS ensures that your customers have your support in assessing, implement, testing, documenting and executing their recovery solution.
3. How Are My Processes Impacted?
There are best practices for managing a cloud-based DR, but ultimately your customer will need to start by appointing someone to manage the program. That person should work with you to develop recovery time objectives (RTOs) and communicate them to the organization. Additionally, that person should be prepared to test and document the recovery program. In many cases, companies will be required to pass an audit to meet regulatory requirements. Tell your customers to prepare by testing a variety of different scenarios in preparation for an audit, so they are ready for whatever scenario is presented. Ultimately, the additional responsibilities associated with becoming cloud-connected are well worth it, especially when you consider the time saved by discontinuing tape backup.
4. How Will a Cloud Solution Fit in My Budget?
While there are added monthly service charges for cloud-connected backup, there are significant savings the area of staffing and hardware. A typical company can save as much as $90,000 annually by switching to a cloud-connected solution. That’s something your customers will be thrilled to hear.
Bottom Line: The Cloud Isn’t Just a Lot of Hot Air
There’s a lot of hype about the cloud now, but it’s for good reason. The cloud has a lot to offer. Walk your customers through these four questions so they can truly understand what a cloud DR solution could mean for them. Let them know that even when they’re choosing to head to the cloud you’ll be there to make sure that they are grounded. And to make sure you’re grounded, choose a cloud-connected provider that will never fail you or your customers. Make sure you’ve chosen a vendor who’s the best case, for the worst-case scenario.
Terry Cunningham is president and general manager of EVault, which works closely with cloud-connected service providers. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of Talkin' Cloud's annual platinum sponsorship. Read EVault's archived guest blogs here.