BC/DR: The Channel's Opportunity

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By Joan Engebretson

Business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) are two key voice and data communications growth areas. While disaster recovery focuses on restoring a company’s data in the event of a disaster, business continuity focuses on enabling the company to remain operational in the event that voice or data communications are interrupted.

More than a third (34.8 percent) of respondents to a 2012 survey from DR software provider Acronis said spending on disaster recovery would be higher in 2013, including 8.2 percent who said it would be much higher.

BC/DR opportunities for channel partners range from conducting risk assessment analysis for large corporate customers to ensuring that a small business customer has redundant connectivity. In this article we look at how three channel partners are maximizing these opportunities.

Assessing Risk

Portland, Ore.-based telecommunications consulting firm NetSource Group employs salespeople who are capable of doing risk assessment for customers — determining the likelihood of various types of disasters that might befall the company. Based on that assessment, NetSource Group recommends a combination of solutions that typically includes storage, backup and restore capability, hosted email or hosted Microsoft Exchange, and replication servers.

The latter may be located at the customer premises or, preferably, in another customer facility or third-party data center, said Tricia Ward, president of NetSource Group. Alternatively, customers may opt for a solution based on remotely located virtual servers.

If a customer opts for a cloud-based solution, one of the ways that NetSource Group adds value is by looking at the implementation track record of various cloud service  providers and steering customers toward the ones with which other customers have had the most positive experiences.

If a customer wants to own and control its own backup servers, the discussion about that hardware is typically part of a broader discussion about the companies’ servers. “Primary and redundant servers are one pitch," said Ward.

Certain types of customers are more likely to be concerned about BC/DR, including those in health care and retail, which may be legally required to have certain BC/DR capabilities in place, Ward noted. Customers also are more likely to be interested in BC/DR after “triggering events" such as highly publicized hurricanes, she said.

Some customers come to NetSource for BC/DR through referrals. NetSource also attends executive forums and conferences in target industries such as health care and banking, and they have partnered with some service providers in putting on seminars to educate customers about BC/DR.

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