According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the USA, 40% of businesses do not reopen after a disaster. Another 25% fail within one year, and over 90% of smaller firms fail within two years after being struck by an event that caused outage.
How well is your firm protected against such circumstances? An IDC survey in Asia-Pacific highlighted that most businesses would have less than half their systems running in the event of a disaster. They also found that less than one-third of the organisations interviewed would be capable of restoring more than 50% of their applications.
Do I have your attention yet?
For firms providing professional services, clients often have to find new providers to manage their immediate matters - and we all know can become very difficult to attract back. Professional staff struggle to get work completed and may start seeking new employment arrangements too. The reputation of the firm, despite the fact none of this was your fault, can be The Most Significant Impact to your business.
In fact, research shows the most likely outcome for owners of businesses or firms who lose their IT systems for nine days or more is bankruptcy.
Yes, it can happen to you.
Firms in rural or regional locations are at greater risk of natural disasters due to typically more vulnerable infrastructure and often more exposed locations near rivers, bushland, and the coast. Managing partners of these firms take special note.
However, city-based firms and their staff are at risk too. Whole cities around the world can effectively shut down due to air pollution, terrorist activity or threat of disease. In Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald reported in 2013 that twelve areas around Sydney and Newcastle were declared natural disaster zones after the large-scale floods that hit the NSW coast that year. We’ll never forget the 2011 Brisbane floods that destroyed businesses right inside the CBD, and the Black Saturday bushfires that burned across Victoria in February 2009.
So while you likely consider yourself a risk-averse professional, consider the inadvertent gamble you might be taking every day and night right now if your firm remains exposed without a proper disaster recovery, or business continuity solution.
Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) can help.
The old days had firms maintaining near-duplicate office facilities off-site complete with desks, desktop PCs, and network facilities. This is expensive and no insurance against a wide-ranging disaster in any case. The 2011 earthquake in Christchurch New Zealand proved this point with distressing effect.
Other firms adopt specific Disaster Recovery (DR) solutions.
DaaS on the other hand is a cloud-based solution that delivers virtual desktops and applications to end users on any device—including tablets, smartphones, laptops, PCs and thin clients—anywhere. Desktops and applications delivered from the cloud look and act as part of your corporate IT environment, even though they run from secure remote data centres.
Because of this, DaaS is often considered an essential foundation to a business continuity solution that will help your firm remain operational should disaster strike. If nothing else about DaaS appeals to you (scalability, mobility, cost predictability and more), then this element of business continuity ‘insurance’ might.
The entire infrastructure, including servers, software, network, and storage, is housed in your cloud service provider’s secure data centre. With such a clear Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Program in place (including relevant replication and testing), then only a global nuclear war or Martian attack could likely bring you down now (in terms of large-scale disasters at least).
Now your cloud-hosted desktops are always available even when your office facilities are not. Your staff and partners remain productive and your clients can be serviced as normal (as normal as possible in any case).
Your risk-management decision here now means no distressful scrambling of IT people and equipment in the face of adversity in future. Your firm is no longer burdened by maintaining a separate desktop office, and your sensitive client information is safe whether disaster strikes your offices, or even the homes of your staff and contractors.