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Hurricane Sandy Highlights Need for a Channel Touch

In the wake of the devastation wrought by Hurricane Sandy it’s never been more apparent why having a relationship with a solution provider is critical. Thousands of businesses across 13 states not only found themselves without power, many of them had much of their IT infrastructure washed away.

The good news is that many of them were smart enough to leverage cloud computing service to protect their data. There’s still more businesses not using data protection services in the cloud than there are those that do. But one thing that will become more apparent in the weeks ahead is how much more resilient the businesses that do real are.

IT service providers in the channel have never been better equipped to providebackup and recovery via cloud computing services that to make sure applications are online within minutes. The real challenge now is that most of customers aren’t aware of how far business continuity services in the cloud have come in the last few years.

When most customers envision cloud computing, they think of services from Amazon and Google. While those can be viable options for some business, the fact remains that large cloud service providers are essentially faceless entities that pride themselves on self-service. That may work fine for organizations that have a lot of IT expertise. But most businesses are going to be looking for IT professionals to hold their hand, especially when faced with a cataclysmic event.

Obviously, solution providers in the channel don’t have a lot of time. Fortunately, most professional solution providers have been preparing for just such events for some time now. For example, Ingram Micro has made available a raft of cloud computing services to its partners that cover just about any and all contingencies, many of which can be invoked in a matter of hours.

Of course, this all assumes the solution provider or the customer has access to power. As Hurricane Sandy has shown us again, electricity in the form of a generator winds up being the key missing component in most business continuity plans. Unfortunately, not nearly enough solution providers or customers have thoroughly tested their backup and recovery plans, the most important element of which is making sure critical personnel access to equipment to manage the recovery process in the likely event of a power outage.

Those same solution providers can also facilitate the process of getting customers back up on line by working with distributors to make sure that critical components of damage IT infrastructure are quickly replaced.

On the one hand, providing business continuity services via the cloud has never been easier. On the other hand, the IT environment has never been more complex, which means there’s a lot that can go wrong. As is the case with most disasters, it’s the little things like generators that wind up wrecking the best laid plans of solution providers.

But once business continuity plans properly vetted, there is no time better than the moment to show why when disaster strikes working with a full-service cloud service provider really matters.

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