5 business continuity challenges facing growing businesses
November 12th, 2013
The big challenges that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) face are not that different to those encountered 10 years ago, but the issue is now that the impact to the business is much greater.
Typically, I’d say these are the general challenges in the space:
- Reliance on ADSL technologies – ADSL has no real SLA for fix times in a failure and they do fail. Companies buy leased lines for a reason.
- Sweating hardware assets – hardware will fail. The older it is the more likely it is to fail.
- Relying on just backups – many backup systems could take days to get a business operational again.
- Social unrest, pandemics and regional disasters – will stop your people getting into the office. How will they work ‘effectively’? How will the business operate?
- Just thinking about IT – don’t just think about IT; know every risk to the business and mitigate the risk or accept it.
Many SME market players just don’t apply their business acumen when it comes to IT. Even on a basic level, they should know what the real cost to the business will be in every disaster scenario.
How can IT failure harm or affect an SME?
An IT failure harms a business in many ways, but it all depends on the sector. Here are the general high-level areas to consider.
- Direct costs – salaries are paid, the lights are on, but no return is generated.
- Lost revenue – fee earners or equipment cannot produce.
- Missed opportunities – enquiries are held up and may be lost.
- Customer perception – an extended IT failure demonstrates a lack of investment in security.
These are the sort of things which need to be considered when costing up if a business continuity solution is to make business sense. If the business loses £250,000 a day when not operating, is a £2000 a month business continuity solution really that expensive?
How can server virtualisation and cloud help to provide DR and BC to SMEs?
Virtualisation removes the dependency of the server software from the physical server hardware. In short, it converts it to an independent set of files and folders. With these files and folders it is now simple to replicate these servers onto other server hardware daily, hourly, or in real-time. Now that they are just independent files and folders It is also straight-forward to replicate these servers to a remote location, i.e. to another office or to a remote 3rd party data centre/the cloud. In a disaster scenario, the business can simply access the whole infrastructure or key parts of the infrastructure from anywhere they can gain internet connectivity.
Virtualisation, internet speeds, and the rise of the cloud model of paying per resource per month have made SME business continuity systems cheap to implement and easy to run day-to-day. There is now no excuse for any business not to be able to withstand a disaster that renders a server, service or physical office inoperable.
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