Selling DR to SMBs: Your Expertise Plus the Cloud
Midmarket and small businesses have historically struggled with affording disaster recovery solutions in part because of the upfront costs and ongoing maintenance expenses. Often they've assumed a quality solution was beyond their budget and turned to in-house solutions, but found them labor intensive and unreliable.
Great news: Thanks to advanced technology and cloud service delivery models, you can now provide these customers with a complete disaster recovery solution for a manageable monthly fee.
Understand Your Customers’ Challenges
There are more big challenges for IT departments than ever before, and that means resources are stretched thin. If your customers use an in-house disaster recovery solution, likely they are incurring significant expenses and losing valuable hours of work – and their data may be at risk.
In-house disaster recovery means customers have to purchase, install and maintain data center hardware and software. They must stay current with security techniques and ensure the system conforms to the latest compliance standards. Their disaster recovery site requires overhead, continual updating and frequent testing, boosting their staff’s workload and travel costs. In the event of a disaster, they must scramble to relocate to the offsite facility, bringing on additional time and costs, and potentially losing data if the system they designed doesn’t take all scenarios into account.
Now let’s compare the in-house scenario with cloud-connected disaster recovery, which reduces costs (hardware, maintenance, travel, etc.), offers ironclad security, expedites recovery, and frees up resources for use on other business-critical tasks.
What does this mean to you and the significant value you can offer your customers? Let’s look at the numbers.
The First National Bank of Alaska switched from tape backup to cloud. Why? With tape, nightly backups took five hours, and weekly backups took 33 hours. Often, backups were disrupted by online transactions and failed. The switch to cloud backup reduced their weekly backups to eight hours. What’s more, recovery time on a 500MB file was reduced from 30 minutes to three minutes.
Technological Advances Are Changing the Game
The first question your customers will likely ask is, “Can we trust the cloud?” There are three key modern advancements that make cloud-based disaster recovery even more compelling for your small and midmarket customers: cloud security, virtualization and WAN-optimized data deduplication.
New advances in cloud security ensure ironclad data security and multiple levels of protection. Your customers may or may not be interested in the nitty gritty details, but if they ask, you can tell them that best practices include applying military-grade 256-bit AES encryption while data is in transit and at rest. Standard security for cloud-ready software includes multi-tenant cloud architecture, authentication, access controls and a data center that’s compliant with SSAE 16 controls.
Often, small companies don’t necessary understand the technology, but they know how important data security is to their businesses. Many are looking for outsourced IT specialists who can assess their needs and offer the right solution.
Virtualization makes it possible to replicate multiple physical systems on one platform. In the days of tape backup, when a disaster occurred, recovery entailed building an entirely new duplicate server. Now entire systems can be replicated in minutes on the cloud, enabling quick disaster recovery with greatly reduced time and expense. Virtualization makes it possible to recover complete systems in as little as four hours. Shorter recovery times mean that business continuity is maintained, even in the event of a major disaster. For businesses like Situs, one hurricane was all it took to make them realize that tape backup was insufficient. Offices were shut down for days after Hurricane Ike, and IT managers realized they needed a better solution. Situs’ cloud-connected solution ensured that the next time a hurricane hit, the business would be up and running right away.
Your customers will also save time and money with WAN-optimized data transfer that includes deduplication. Data and applications are transported electronically to multiple, geographically dispersed locations. The data deduplication process eliminates redundancies when data is stored or transferred– it only backs up information that has changed.
Break Down the Savings
Cloud-based disaster recovery solutions significantly reduce total cost of ownership by eliminating the large initial investment and moving these large CAPEX costs to smaller recurring operating expenses. With a cloud-connected solution, the cost of hardware, software and hosting services is eliminated. In many cases, staffing reductions can save your customers tens of thousands of dollars. They will also enjoy faster recovery times and, because the disaster recovery site provider maintains the disaster recovery platform, have greater freedom to engage in other projects.
The Take-Home Message: Time and Money Saved
Present your customers with a picture of what their organization could look like with an outsourced DR solution. While many recognize that their current disaster recovery system is outdated and inefficient, they may not understand or be aware of better, more modern and more affordable options out there. As their trusted adviser who understands their pain points, you can guide them to a solution that will protect their data, save them money and improve their business process.
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