We get it. You run a small business. You’re cash-strapped. Monthly profits have been unpredictable, margins are tight, and you need to make a killing in December to meet your 2011 revenue goal. And you’re using all of these reasons, plus others, to explain why you can’t afford a backup and disaster recovery (BDR) or business continuity solution, at least not right now.

The above reasons actually explain why now is the perfect time to invest in a BDR solution. If you think business is rough now, try meeting revenue goals after having a network failure without a BDR solution in place. And if that failure never happens, you’ll still eventually see a full return on investment (ROI) on that BDR solution. Here’s how.

First things first. Remember you have to take into account hard costs AND soft costs — hard costs like paying employees who are not actually working during network downtime, and soft costs like company reputation and lost repeat business. A December 2010 survey conducted by Applied Research found that 54 percent of SMB customers switch vendors because of unreliable computing systems. After all, business continuity ultimately means delivering your product to your clients as expected. You lose both revenue and reputation when that doesn’t happen. So the goal here is to implement the best BDR and business continuity solution, for a relatively small amount of money, so that you don’t risk losing a much larger amount of money.

You have to take the worst possible scenario into account. We know it’s tough, but it’s the only way to find the true value of a BDR solution. Take into account the cost of all of your servers going down, the cost of maintaining on-premise hardware for recovery, the average downtime per outage, how much productivity you stand to lose per outage, the cost of your IT staff per hour, the value of your customer relationships, and your yearly revenue. There’s no universal A+B=C equation here for each company to calculate their ROI. SMBs spend a different amount of money on BDR and business continuity and have different amounts of data to protect. And that’s okay. What’s most important is that you take the cost of everything that can be affected by a network failure into consideration when calculating that ROI.

Also, consider the alternatives. Tape backup and online backup solutions can take days or weeks to fully restore your data, and you’re losing money as you wait. The average cost of downtime for an SMB is $12,500 per day. So the difference between hours of downtime and days of downtime could impact your bottom line by tens of thousands of dollars.

Making the Case for BDR and Business Continuity

I realize I may be preaching to the choir; if you’re taking time to read this, it probably means you’ve already figured out the importance of BDR and business continuity. But other people in your business still need convincing, and some of those people will make the ultimate decision on whether or not to invest in a BDR solution. To build your case for investing in BDR and business continuity, frame it in terms of ROI and the need for company resiliency, then hit them with the fact that they can maintain their data and application uptime with a SaaS-based solution for a simple monthly fee – with no upfront capital expense. This argument will likely appeal to your company’s CXO branch or other decision-makers and will help you get the backup, business continuity, and disaster recovery protection you know your business needs.

Read More about the five steps SMBs should implement to prepare for disasters.


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