Cloud BC/DR: The Channel Opportunity

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One of cloud computing’s most useful aspects comes in the form of business continuity/disaster recovery (BC/DR). That’s because the cloud offers redundancy of vital systems, data, applications and communications without a huge price tag, and channel partners and their customers are aware of those benefits.

In a recent survey, the Channel Partners Cloud Convergence Council, an initiative of  Channel Partners magazine and The 2112 Group, found that 43 percent of IT providers sell BC/DR services, as do 34 percent of telephony partners. The offerings are driven by end-user demand — one in four clients asks their solutions provider for cloud BC/DR products.

But there are so many components to cloud BC/DR that it’s important to break them down and explore them individually. Channel Partners does just that in its all-green, exclusive digital issue, “Cloud Services: Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery," which covers seven types of cloud services and how they support BC/DR plans. These include cloud communications (VoIP, UC, collaboration and conferencing), cloud contact center, cloud data storage/backup/recovery, cloud security, cloud computing, software-as-a-service, and desktop-as-a-service. And with each of these cloud approaches to BC/DR, experts have shared questions channel partners should pose to prospects to uncover opportunities and hasten the sales cycle.

“Business continuity lies at the core of cloud service delivery," said Jim Safran, president for SaaS provider GreenAppX. “So be it desktop security, corporate message, unified communications or online backup, business continuity becomes a main driver for accelerated adoption of cloud solutions."

In a year when tornadoes, earthquakes and other disasters have dominated world news coverage, enterprises and other businesses are re-evaluating their policies. “People are realizing that keeping their critical data at their own site is not a smart business practice and the cloud affords the ability to put data in multiple places and replicate it across multiple locations," said Andrew Pryfogle, president and CEO of master agency Terrapin Solutions.

The shift in thinking is important, because as little as 18 months ago, many organizations refused to store applications and information in off-premises data centers, said Jeff Uphues, vice president of sales and marketing for Cbeyond Cloud Services, a division of communications provider Cbeyond Inc. “Now, it’s almost the opposite [concern] — my data is not as safe on my premises as it is in the cloud," he said.

Such a change — in tandem with market research demonstrating greater end-user awareness — should put channel partners on notice that cloud BC/DR marks a significant revenue opportunity. In fact, 38 percent of SMBs plan to buy some form of backup service from a channel partner in the next two years, according to a March 2011 study conducted by Forrester.


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