Turning Business Continuity into Profits
Guest Post from Peter Radizeski, president of RAD-INFO INC
Many companies forego business continuity and disaster recovery systems. For some, there just isn’t time to worry about it. It seems too complex or too daunting to go through the planning stages. For some, it seems too costly. According to Hitachi research, it is human nature to avoid, avoid, avoid.
Forsythe says that 93% of companies have executed disaster recovery plans. It must be the 93% of the ones who had one. More than 40% of businesses that experience a disaster never reopen. Our country seems to be experiencing more natural disasters like fires, storms, hurricanes and earthquakes. The odds are not with the business owners with avoidance syndrome.
On average, each company loses over $150K due to IT downtime.
How can a channel partner help? Start by pointing out the stats above and this one from data center services provider, AIS: “Companies will spend an average of 7 percent of their IT budgets on business continuity and disaster recovery this year, according to Forrester.” That doesn’t sound so bad – 7%. If you save them 10%, they have enough to cover DR.
Knowing what causes downtime is helpful during discovery with the customer.
The Forsythe chart below lists a number of them, including flooding, fire, upgrades/software changes and malicious employee (what happened to AshleyMadison.com).
The risks that come with moving to the cloud
As companies migrate to more hosted IT services (cloud apps, IAAS, PAAS, VPS) and transition to VoIP, the network becomes more integral to the operation of the business. Many business executives don’t consciously think about how vital power and internet are to their business. With almost all companies using some form of cloud services (and online applications), even a 30-minute internet outage could be costly. As the trusted advisor, it is your responsibility to help the buyer see the light. With thoughtful questions, the channel partner can walk the customer through the thought process and the drafting of a DR/BC plan. (There are companies that make a living designing DR/BC Plans for businesses.)
Many carriers have failover services utilizing cellular (3G/4G) and broadband for internet, VoIP and MPLS. There are reasons- customers need it and pay for it. (And you can offer it and get commissioned on it!)
In the days of TDM, a full-service telecom agency would handle project management, circuit inventory and telecom expense management. Today, the agent may not have a full view of the network – both IT and telecom – in order to manage the circuit inventory and any necessary failover. However, asking the right questions about where the mission-critical apps and network elements are can bring about the opportunity for a sale for the agent, while the customer gets a much-needed safety net.
Specifically, let’s talk about SIP Trunking, typically riding over the internet pipe. A backup circuit would be of primary importance for this converged scenario. There are some simple routers, like Cradlepoint IBR600 series, that perform auto failover from the broadband pipe to 4G/LTE. While the cellular pipe may not offer the same throughput, it will allow some voice and data traffic to flow – at a pretty small price point.
If the SIP Trunking is a VLAN on a Layer 2 or Layer 3 network (MPLS for example), failover to a cable modem provides for diverse routes and a decent amount of bandwidth. Management of a single network is a cost saving for the customer – even with a broadband failover option. Separate pipes for voice, data and internet traffic add cost, not just in circuit costs, but in equipment (routers, switches, firewall), security and management costs. Monitoring three separate networks is more work for the admins and more potential issues. Convergence makes it simpler.
As the partner, if you didn’t sell the original network or pipe, you get a monetary boost by selling the SIP Trunks and the failover option. There are opportunities to even charge for the Disaster Recovery plan.
Peter Radizeski is president of RAD-INFO INC, a telecom consulting firm in Tampa FL.