THREE UNTAPPED SOURCES OF BUSINESS CONTINUITY REVENUE

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1 THREE UNTAPPED SOURCES OF BUSINESS CONTINUITY REVENUE OFFER TRUE BUSINESS CONTINUITY AND MAKE MONEY DOING IT 1

2 INTRODUCTION Business continuity is everywhere these days. At least the phrase is. Everywhere you go, you hear about it, about why you need it. More and more, however, as people adopt the term for their own purposes, the meaning of business continuity gets muddled. Somewhere along the way, business continuity became just another way of saying backup and disaster recovery. You can see an example of this in the October 2011 issue of a noted industry publication. In an article specifically designed to highlight the difference between the two topics (it s even called Disaster Recovery vs. Business Continuity ), the author says this: Backup gets your data back after a mistake, such as deleting the wrong files. Disaster recovery gets your data back after a small disaster, such as a server hard disk crash or the wholesale theft of your servers. Business continuity gets your business back after a big disaster, such as a fire, tornado, or hurricane that destroys not only your data, but also your workplace. 1 In other words, the only difference between backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity is the severity of the disaster. The article quotes a number of industry thinkers who support this view, suggesting that to many people, disaster recovery and business continuity are essentially synonyms. The flattening of these concepts into one big disaster recovery family has flooded the market with solution providers who claim to be offering business continuity, but who are really only offering backup and disaster recovery with a fresh coat of marketing paint. In this paper, we ll look at business continuity, define what it really is, then explore some ways that you can set yourself apart from other solution providers by taking your current backup and disaster recovery offering and turning it into true business continuity. 2

3 WHAT IS BUSINESS CONTINUITY? So what is business continuity? First, we need to make a critical distinction. In most contexts in which you ll see the term business continuity today, the author probably means IT business continuity. True business continuity is an expansive process that covers everything from fire drills and procedures to making sure somebody always knows where the keys are to data protection, personnel calling trees, and disaster recovery plans. In a true business continuity plan, IT considerations are one piece of a larger whole. IT business continuity, then, refers to that part of the larger plan that concerns IT. From here on, when we say business continuity, we re referring exclusively to IT business continuity. So again, what is business continuity? Let s start by looking at what it isn t. Business continuity is not backup or disaster recovery, at least not entirely. Backup is simply the act of securing data both locally and remotely. Disaster recovery, on the other hand, is the restoration of that data in the event of any kind of disaster, large and small. While backup and disaster recovery are more or less events that occur at specific (though sometimes recurring) times, business continuity is a process. It s that combination of best practices, procedures, and mindsets that keeps your business running no matter what happens. That said, backup and DR are essential elements of good business continuity, especially in this day and age where data and applications are becoming more and more crucial to business operation and survival. Disaster Recovery vs. Business Continuity Let s use StorageCraft products to demonstrate this distinction. StorageCraft ShadowProtect is a backup and disaster recovery solution. It makes backup images, replicates them offsite, and ensures those backup images are up-to-date and working. It also facilitates flawless disaster recovery, with Hardware Independent Restore TM technology and HeadStart Restore (which is a part of ShadowControl ImageManager TM ). But it is also a business continuity solution. When paired with ShadowControl ImageManager, it makes it easy for people to maintain consistent operation, even in the event of a disaster. Features like VirtualBoot TM allow a business to literally continue operating from their laptop while they re waiting for the recovery to take place on a new server. 3

4 WHY SHOULD YOU BE SELLING BUSINESS CONTINUITY? Take a look at the services you re offering. Are you offering disaster recovery or business continuity? Or are you offering disaster recovery and just calling it business continuity? In either case, you should consider ramping up your offering and start really selling business continuity. Business continuity allows you to address a customer s IT needs holistically. Disaster recovery is often difficult to sell because people generally don t like thinking about disasters. Business continuity, on the other hand, addresses a wide variety of topics that support 24/7 uptime. Of course, providing backup and disaster recovery is still a crucial part of selling business continuity. A recent report by Gartner found that, when it comes to the number of applications companies consider business critical, the percentage is steadily growing. In fact, fully 60% of the respondents claimed that more than 20% of their applications were mission critical (20% was the standard in the past). Almost 20% said that more than 50% of their applications were vital to their operation. 2 This shows that increasingly, data and applications are crucial to full business continuity, so you d better make sure your disaster recovery products can guarantee high uptime for these resources. BUSINESSES DATA 20% + MISSION CRITICAL 50% + MISSION CRITICAL Critical Data Data is becoming more and more crucial to business life. We ve all heard the statistics about how many businesses close after losing access to data. This graph shows that importance in a different way. Fully 60% of businesses consider at least 20% (and usually more) of their data mission critical. 19% considered 50% or more to be mission critical. If half of your data were mission critical, wouldn t you want to protect it? Source: Gartner 4

5 HOW DO I SELL BUSINESS CONTINUITY? Of course, we just got finished telling you that business continuity was more than just disaster recovery. In order to truly offer business continuity, you need to consider your current disaster recovery service offering, your technology, and your expertise and then determine how you can use what you have to do more. In this paper, we ll consider three ways you can use your current disaster recovery resources to create greater business continuity for your clients. 1. Forensic recovery. Helping your customers prepare for the possibility of legal investigation is a little like preparing them for a hurricane, but it s a service they ve probably never considered. 2. Dynamic data management. In these days of the information economy, knowledge really is power. Giving your customers the ability to control, manipulate, and interact with that data, regardless of how old it is, is a significant value. 3. Industry specialization. Just because everyone s using technology these days doesn t mean they re using it the same way. The regulations and use cases of the banking industry are much different than those in the health care or hospitalities industries. By specializing in these different areas, you can offer something your competition likely can t. 5

6 WHAT IS FORENSIC RECOVERY? No one wants to think about it, but people commit crimes and sometimes, those crimes affect your customers. By tailoring your service offering to prepare for this very different kind of disaster, you ll be able to help them maintain business continuity. SO WHAT IS IT? Forensic recovery (or digital forensics) is The use of scientifically derived and proven methods toward the preservation, collection, validation, identification, analysis, interpretation, documentation and presentation of digital evidence derived from digital sources for the purpose of facilitating or furthering the reconstruction of events found to be criminal, or helping to anticipate unauthorized actions shown to be disruptive to planned operations. 3 In other words, it s the recovery of digital evidence for use in criminal or civil courts. The process of forensic recovery is difficult and timeconsuming. According to a guide produced by the Department of Justice for first responders, The nature of electronic evidence is such that it poses special challenges for its admissibility in court. To meet these challenges, follow proper forensic procedures. These procedures include, but are not limited to, four phases: collection, examination, analysis, and reporting. 4 As you can see in the sidebar, each of these steps is time and resource intensive. Digital Forensic Process The digital forensic process is broken into four steps: Collection. The technology pertinent to the investigation is identified and gathered. Examination. The collection materials are evaluated and prepared for investigation. For computers, this usually means taking a sector-level disk image. Analysis. The gathered material is analyzed in search of evidence. In this step, deleted data is restored, if possible. Reporting. Finally, the forensic technician makes a detailed record of everything he or she has collected and done. Even general, high-level information like this can help you prepare your customers for forensic recovery, especially if you re called on to help in a civil case. 6

7 HOW DO I OFFER FORENSIC RECOVERY? Depending on the specifics of the case, your involvement with the actual recovery will vary. In criminal cases, for example, the police will most likely handle the recovery. It is your job, then, to prepare your customers for the possibility of a forensic investigation, to educate them in the process, and to set up their systems to withstand an invasive investigation. In civil cases, however, often times the business is required to perform the recovery. In these cases, you are in a prime position to assist. At the same time, you should have already prepared and educated your customers in advance, as well as set up their systems to make such a recovery as painless as possible. SO WHAT DO I DO? 1. Educate yourself. Spend some time learning the process of digital forensics so that you ll know what s required and how to prepare your customer. 2. Evaluate your customers. Consider their systems. How would a forensic investigation affect them, especially one conducted by the police? 3. Take stock of your software. You want software that can create complete, pristine disk images that reflect the system exactly. Make sure you can verify the images as well. Ideally, this software should load from a USB key or a disk so it doesn t change the system at all. Make sure as well that you can easily navigate through the disk image on a granular level, keeping in mind that some complicated software, such as Microsoft Exchange, may require special tools to examine granularly. In the end, a forensic investigation is more or less just another disaster, though it s one most businesses probably haven t thought of. If you help your customers come up with procedures, best practices, and technology to anticipate it, however, you re contributing meaningfully to their business continuity. 7

8 WHAT IS DYNAMIC DATA MANAGEMENT? As we already pointed out, data is more important today than ever before. It seems to drive everything we do. It stands to reason, then, that tools and services that help us manage and work with that data, regardless of when or how it was created, are incredibly valuable. SO WHAT IS IT? Dynamic data management is the ability to meaningfully access data, even in challenging circumstances. It builds off of a solid backup and disaster recovery base, but it recasts those resources in new and useful ways. Bare metal disk images can be used for more than just recovery. It s your job to help your customers understand this. This is where business continuity really starts differentiating itself from disaster recovery. If you can make it possible for your customers to access old data, run legacy applications, or test new software without interrupting anything, you ve established a solid business continuity base. Use Case: Virtual Testing David Vaughan is the CEO of A-1 Tech Support, a StorageCraft partner. He describes how technologies like virtualization can provide business continuity: Let s say that something goes wrong on one of the client s main servers. Or our remote monitoring and management software tells us that trouble is afoot. We can spin up a virtual copy of the system and test various fixes on it before going anywhere near the physical machine. Once we ve proven our solution in this virtual copy, we can use it on the live box without taking it offline or sacrificing our client s productivity. It allows us to be proactive. To read more of Vaughan s experience, visit storagecraft.com/documents/casestudy-a1-final.pdf. 8

9 HOW DO I OFFER DYNAMIC DATA MANAGEMENT? Since you are the administrator of your customer s backup and disaster recovery plan, you re in the perfect position to start offering dynamic data management services. Most likely you won t offer it as a separate service. Instead, it s an added value to your current business continuity package. You should advertise dynamic data management as a part of your offering. It s a feature that lends business continuity weight to plain old disaster recovery. Be prepared to offer scenarios to your customers that demonstrate the power of dynamic data management. SO WHAT DO I DO? 1. Understand the technology. Virtualization is one of the key tools in data management, so make sure you understand how it works. 2. Be prepared. Once you understand the principals involved, make sure you have all the technology you need in order to perform the kind of dynamic data management you want to offer. 3. Position yourself. Potential customers need to know what you can do for them. Be sure to include dynamic data management in your marketing campaigns and make it clear that you re offering more than simple disaster recovery. Dynamic data management is a simple but effective way to convert your disaster recovery services into business continuity. By helping people get the most out of their data and applications, you re helping them maintain their business without interruption. 9

10 WHAT IS INDUSTRY SPECIALIZATION? We always hear that technology is everywhere today and that information is king. We ve even said it in this paper. But all technology and information is not the same. Different industries have their own specialized needs that frequently are not covered by a general IT offering. This is particularly true when it comes to backup and disaster recovery and business continuity. Regulations governing the different ways different industries need to preserve and secure their information are manifold. Most of these businesses need help not only implementing services to meet the requirements of these regulations, but understanding and keeping up on the regulations themselves. SO WHAT IS IT? Specializing in specific industries like healthcare, banking, or hospitality is a great way to focus on business continuity for a specific kind of business. Here s how Clyde Bennett & Associates, a StorageCraft partner from Austin, Texas, puts it: Medical professionals face very real challenges with information technology. The complexities of Electronic Medical Records combined with the regulatory issues of remaining HIPAA-compliant can be daunting. When it comes to determining what type of IT Infrastructure you need, how to establish a business continuity plan for the large amounts of data that you ll generate, and where to find a partner that can address these issues, Clyde Bennett & Associates is the answer. 5 Delving into a specialization in a particular industry puts you in a position to offer not only IT business continuity, but to become the kind of consultant that supports true business continuity. Though backup and disaster recovery will doubtless be a part of your offering, your customers IT needs will likely expand to provide countless opportunities for you and your team. 10

11 HOW DO I OFFER INDUSTRY SPECIALIZATION? The professionals in these industries usually have no experience with IT. It s not what they ve trained for. If you can position yourself as an expert who understands the complexity of their IT and business continuity needs, you ll open up new avenues for revenue. Of course, initially you ll want to ease into a specialization. Spend some time learning about the industry you re looking at. Look at your current customers and see if any are a part of that industry. Work with them to explore what services you could be offering them and then figure out how you could offer those services using the technology you already have. SO HOW DO I DO IT? 1. Pick the right industry. The best choice will be one that already represents a substantial percentage of your customer base. Improving your offering and thus your revenue with current customers is a safer, more costeffective way of growing your business than soliciting a whole new client base. 2. Research and join industry associations. Part of your job as a specialist is to stay on top of current trends and regulations. If a major industry association is recommending some change in IT practices, you should be prepared to share the significance of that change with your customers. And you should be ready with a plan to help them make the change. 3. Don t forget where you came from. Unless you re planning on becoming a specialist shop that only serves the industry you ve become an expert in, you ll want to look at how your industry specialization can help your other clients as well. Are there best practices in the healthcare industry that could benefit any business? Are there specialized technologies that could meet a broader need? Constantly think about how your specialization can serve your entire customer base. Specializing in the IT needs of a specific industry is a great way to evolve your business into one that is truly concerned with business continuity. By understanding the specialized needs of your industry, you can hold their hand through every step of the business continuity process and provide a depth of service not normally available to general customers. Being the Expert One of the ways Clyde Bennett & Associates position themselves as experts in the health care industry is by keeping an active blog. They post multiple times a day on subjects ranging from health care issues to IT tips and tricks. Here s a sampling of titles of articles posted in the few days before this paper was published (you can see the blog at com/blog/): Use Your Android Phone Like a USB Key How to Help Your EMR Constituents Internal Social Network Management Passwords that Put You at Risk The AMA Wants You to Adopt an EMR Offering industry-specific services says that you re an expert. A blog is just one way to solidify that perception. 11

12 CONCLUSION Offering real IT business continuity sets you apart. In our world today, awash with watered-down terminology and marketing fervor, you want to be the one who knows what you re talking about. Look closely at your offering. Are you providing services that simply protect against events, or are you helping your customers build a solid foundation of technologies, procedures, and mindsets that allows them to have complete control of their data and applications, regardless of the circumstances? There are a variety of untapped opportunities that can turn a solid backup and disaster recovery offering into a fullfeatured business continuity service. And unfortunately in this paper, we ve only been able to scratch the surface of how to make the most out of these three opportunities. Watch for StorageCraft white papers in the future that go into greater detail into these and other opportunities to increase your business continuity revenue. In most cases, the opportunities presented here can be tapped without much change to your current business. Of course, you ll have to educate yourself and the members of your team. Take a look as well at the technologies you re currently using and determine if they can support your current disaster recovery needs, as well as these expanded business continuity tasks. If not, consider changing to a new product that does support both and thus opens new sources of revenue for you. In the end, you want your customers to trust you and rely on your expertise. By learning yourself how to offer true business continuity, you can share that knowledge with them and give them the confidence of complete control of their IT. Everybody wins. 12

13 NOTES 1. Gaskin, James E. Disaster Recovery vs. Business Continuity. Channel Pro, October Morency, John P., Scott, Donna, Russell, David. Backup and Disaster Recovery Modernization is No Longer a Luxury, but a Business Necessity. Gartner, Inc. 11 August ID Number: G Carrier, Brian. Defining Digital Forensic Examination and Analysis Tools Using Abstraction Layer. International Journal of Digital Evidence, Winter 2003, Volume 1, Issue Technical Working Group for Electronic Crime Scene Investigation. Electronic Crime Scene Investigation: A Guide for First Responders. U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs, Specialized Health Care IT. com/it-services/specialized-healthcare-it/. Accessed 12 January

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