In previous blogs, I’ve detailed how businesses can calculate their return on investment (ROI) for a business continuity solution and explained why tape backup products don’t meet today’s business needs. In case you haven’t noticed, I think business continuity and data backup is extremely important for an SMB.
Still, some SMBs insist on running their businesses without having the proper business continuity solution in place. Everyone has their reasons (or excuses), but we’ll start with the most basic one of all: people don’t know exactly what a business continuity does, or how it differs from a data backup solution.
1. I already back up my data. Isn’t that the same as business continuity?
No. Here’s the basic idea. Data backup solutions exist to protect company assets and data. Business continuity solutions exist to keep business data and applications available at all times so that you can always run your business as expected. If a server goes down and business data is lost, a data backup solution ensures that you have duplicates of your data. The business continuity solution ensures that backed up data plus the applications and system settings needed to use the data can be quickly available for use from the cloud or an on-premise appliance while the main servers are being repaired. A business continuity solution also enables a bare metal restore of all current data and settings once servers are restored, so the business can keep operating without loss of productivity. You need backup, recovery, and business continuity – or better yet, one solution that handles all three.
2. I can’t afford a business continuity solution.
Take your business’ reputation into account when you think you can’t afford a business continuity solution. To calculate the value of keeping your business running smoothly, you must take into account both the hard costs and soft costs you might incur from downtime: the cost of a diminished business image, the loss of customer referrals, lost productivity and data, etc. (See “How Much Downtime Can Your SMB Afford?) You may not use your backup solution for a year, or two years, or even longer. But the bottom line is, the investment will prove its worth the one day you have a server failure and can recover your data and avoid downtime.
3. It won’t ever happen to me.
I mentioned the possibility of not having to use your data backup and business continuity solution for a long period of time. That brings us to the most dangerous reason SMBs give for not investing in a business continuity solution: It won’t ever happen to me.
The companies that give this reason might as well put their business reputation on a Las Vegas roulette table. If your servers fail and you don’t have a data backup and business continuity solution in place, you’re going to experience a significant amount of downtime – there’s just no way around it. In 2004, Gartner estimated the cost of computer downtime to be $42,000 per hour, and that the average business suffers 87 hours of downtime each year. At the time, Gartner described “worse than average downtime” as 175 hours each year. Do the math, and you’ll find that adds up to over $7 million each year.
That figure has only gone up since then to the point where, in 2011, DTI/Pwc estimated that 70 percent of SMBs go out of business within a year of experiencing severe data and/or application loss. Investing in a business continuity and data backup solution is not a short-term play. It’s a long-term commitment to data and business security.
4. I can’t find the right solution.
It’s understandable that some businesses get discouraged during their search for a business continuity and data backup solution. There are many providers to choose from, and sometimes businesses implement three or four solutions before finding the solution that best fits its business needs. This is another reason to go with a single solution that handles all-in-one data backup, business continuity, and disaster recovery. Ask a single-solution vendor to recommend managed service providers (MSPs) or value-added resellers (VARs) in your area. Or find an MSP or VAR with expertise in your vertical, then, weed out the ones that don’t offer data backup and business continuity.
We can spend weeks nullifying each reason we’ve ever heard SMBs give for not having a business continuity and data backup solution. But the end point is, businesses today are holding too much important data, and customers have come to expect continual uptime. Business continuity has become a must.