If you’re a frequent reader of the Synergy Blog, you know how we feel about disasters. You should choose to prepare for these events before they occur so you can determine the best time for your organization to perform the necessary preparations. The alternative is either being forced to make changes to your Disaster Recovery plan during a time when it’s very difficult or make those changes during an actual disaster. Often, it’s leadership that can push those changes from the corner office. That means you need those C-suite executives to buy into the Disaster Recovery plan that best fits your operation, resources, and enterprise strategy (the term C-suite referring to top executives with titles that begin with “C” such as Chief Executive Officer).
You won’t need to research very long or very hard to find attention-grabbing disaster events requiring a Disaster Recovery style response. Events such as:
A cascading computer failure causing air travelers to suffer flight delays and cancellations (Passengers stranded by FAA computer glitch)
The possibility of a data center outage causing a lack of access (YouTube is back after crashing for users around the world)
The mundane reasons data centers go offline such as heating and cooling failures or insufficient backup power (10 Reasons Data Centers Fail)
For these reasons interest in Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) is high. Your next step is to explain what DRaaS is and frame the discussion in such a way that it becomes relevant to each Executive’s area of interest and responsibility.
Traditional disaster recovery solutions range from the simple and inexpensive USB drives to which data is copied and then carried offsite, to the complex and expensive replication of data from large dedicated devices to other large dedicated devices maintained at sister sites. This type of replication usually occurs over an expensive WAN link as well. Both systems work but are inflexible and require large amounts of support. This also doesn’t consider the additional personnel required as well as the ongoing real estate, maintenance, and upgrade costs.
Cloud-based solutions for DRaaS offer features such as simple backup and replication solutions. These cloud-based services also offer zero recovery time of data and workloads as well as Disaster Recovery testing with no impact to production operations. The cost considerations are also lower due to the “pay as you go” model as well as little to no capital expenditure for startups.
These features and cost savings are wonderful points to have ready to influence leadership to back a strategic move to DRaaS. These considerations are a tad generic so let’s focus more on each Executive to better frame the discussions and selling features. Keep in mind that each Executive will utilize their peer networks to validate all claims made during these conversations.
This position will be more focused on risks to ongoing business operations. The best points to address with this leader revolve around business resumption post-disaster. A great topic for this would be a discussion of the zero to very little recovery time, the “pay as you go model” that doesn’t require a large up-front investment, as well as the ability to prioritize workloads for production resumption. Another valid talking point would be the ability to test DR operations without affecting ongoing production workloads.
CIO’s may be a tough sell in that they have a personal stake in both the state of operations post recovery as well as the response and performance during a disaster event. They must consider budgetary concerns as well as regulatory requirements. This position is also personally vulnerable to blowback if these goals and requirements aren’t met.
The discussion to have in this case would be to stress the ability to monitor and manage the recovery process at a granular level. This is possible while also maintaining security and compliance post recovery. The ability to test on-demand would be considered a plus. Another point to make would be cloud DR service's ability to capture rapid changes due to replication technologies available.
Since the CFO’s primary goal is fiscal responsibility we will stress the financial advantages of a cloud-based DRaaS. Flexible pricing options would be a point to stress. The data points we’ve discussed earlier such as “pay as you go” and a lack of upfront capital costs should be mentioned. Another consideration to present would be the cost savings associated with simplifying data center operations, lowering real estate costs, and ongoing maintenance costs associated with physical devices and data centers.
The Chief Marketing Officer should not be left out of these conversations as they can be a valuable ally in influencing other leaders at the table. The CMO’s key objectives will be centered around customer loyalty, negative press, and brand image post a disaster event. Each of the incidents listed earlier in this article is arguably a marketing nightmare. Consider the effect on each customer after reading about or being affected by each disaster listed. These are not inconsequential concerns and can be directly affected by Disaster planning and preparedness. The CMO will be interested in the details and planning involved in DRaaS and will become an advocate for these preparations to protect brand reputation and image all while ensuring excellent customer support and retention.
With these data points to assist in influencing your leadership to consider cloud Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service options, you will be able to paint a picture of reasons as to why and how this change in Disaster Recovery methodology will be cost-effective, reliable, and practical. The age of buying two of every device to ensure DR preparedness has passed. Using cloud resources also frees an organization from the constraints of geography and real estate. With these tools, your business entity can truly build a modern and flexible DR plan that can address the needs of your contemporary organization.
By: Jason Ledford