Last week StorageCraft announced a partnership with Intel to offer a backup and recovery “appliance” for Intel’s Hybrid Cloud platform. The Platform involves a customer owned, on-premise server, tied to the cloud, with business applications provided and billed by Intel. The new appliance will be offered and supported by channel partners including Managed Service Providers (MSP), giving them a business continuity and disaster recovery solution for their small-to-medium-business (SMB) clients.
This got me thinking about the importance of disaster recovery for SMBs and the opportunities for the channel. Almost every small business today uses IT and in many cases, this is critical to the smooth running, profitability and ongoing viability of the business. Losing front line services because of IT failure can be devastating. This is not just scare mongering; some services simply cannot be done without. Accordingly to a 2011 survey by Internet security firm Symantec, the median cost of downtime for an SMB is almost £8,000 per day.
Rapid recovery in the event of a disaster is essential. All businesses including small business need to be prepared (after all, disasters don’t just strike big firms). I am now seeing positive signs that SMBs recognize the need to prepare for loss of mission critical IT systems. And as these systems are becoming more complex, the shift is towards simplifying the restore by not only backing up the Office documents and emails, but also the operating system, applications, and PC profiles, using an image backup.
However, more can be done to support SMBs. A 2012 survey by research group Freeform Dynamics shows that more than half of small and a fifth of medium sized businesses in Europe lack a formal disaster recovery plan. The main cause is that many SMBs simply find disaster recovery too difficult. This is where channel partners can play an essential role.
Channel partners can design, provide, install and support ongoing high-value, custom solutions to match SMB requirements – be it a fixed cost solution using tape libraries and other physical infrastructure, or a managed service solution hosted onsite or offsite. SMBs need this help. With consultancy and support from distribution, it also becomes possible for anyone in the channel to become an MSP, handling disaster recovery on behalf of the end-user client simply by using the right vendor products.