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Disaster recovery fits hosted model well

Business continuity services getting less expensive, more technologically rich

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This year's Swine Flu epidemic has reinforced the need for disaster recovery and business continuity planning, even as new technologies are making it more convenient and, in some cases, cheaper for businesses to plan a response to either natural or man-made catastrophes, service providers report.

As more businesses also look to outsource services and even data centers to network service providers, business continuity is yet another perk. The ever-falling price of network computing and storage enables service providers to offer more for less.

"Business continuity and disaster recovery has always carried a price, but we are now seeing more affordable price points, whether it is mirroring the customer site or load-sharing to provide redundancy and better performance," said Martin Capurro, director of product management at Qwest Communications (NYSE: Q). "This is all technology-driven and price-driven, and the technology improvements are enabling us to provide more value."

Where once it was very complex and costly to mirror an entire Web environment outside a company's corporate data center, it is now possible to create a network solution bundle – depending on the customer's need – that enables companies to have redundant bandwidth and facilities as well as access to corporate data, Capurro said.  Qwest offers a variety of packages that cater to different customer needs, he added, and is able to offer those at prices that convince chief technology and information officers not to do this themselves.

"CIOS and CTOs are having more visibility around overall costs for IT services, as they try to get more efficient," Capurro said. "In the past, a lot of larger customers – banks and financial services companies – wanted to build it themselves. Now the right decision is winning out – they are using our facilities." 

Many of those same companies are turning to network-based services for much more than business continuity, and that makes a network solution for disaster recovery a very natural fit.

"Clients are asking for two things when they think about moving services into the cloud – better productivity and cost savings," said Jonathan Nguyen-Duy, director of security solutions for Verizon Business (NYSE: VZ). "They are seeing at least a 20% savings in equipment and in removing the monitoring and management of the equipment – their primary cost is on the people side. But they also want a highly customized policy when they are outsourcing security, and they need to support a highly mobile work force, including remote offices."

For those customers, the ability to also provide business continuity and disaster recovery is on the list of requirements, but not at the top, Nguyen-Duy said. "It's about fourth on the list."
Verizon offers a "follow the sun" model with its data centers, Nguyen-Duy said, "so it comes down to a question of whether you believe that Verizon's data centers are more secure or more resilient than your own, and we can show the same level of security, both logical and physical, and continuity management." 

Businesses also like the predictability of paying one monthly fee for business continuity services, versus the variable charges of providing their own solutions, said Chris Costello, AVP product management, for AT&T Managed Hosting & Application Management Services. "I think the service provider model can offer them a more predictable monthly recurring fee, so we are seeing a shift from the capex to the opex model."

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© 2014 Penton Media Inc.

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