Even with the recession taking its toll on many sectors and businesses, an area of the IT space i.e. the data backup and recovery industry is still witnessing rapid growth. This is because of the burgeoning need for data backups that are being felt by almost all firms (big or small) that have significant IT operations. With the IDC predicting a 30 percent increase in data usage every year, it is the case that data that an organization has to store would double every three years. Coupled with the emerging trend towards using the cloud as a backup alternative, the prospects for Disaster Recovery (DR) industry in 2013 are looking good. To top up the good news, with many firms taking backups of backups just in case they need to recover from a VM (Virtual Machine), there is a whole lot of demand for DR firm.
The biggest business driver for the DR industry in 2013 would be the move from tape-based backups to disk based backups. Firms increasingly are beginning to realize that tape based backups pose a whole set of problems including the security aspect, as they have to be moved from onsite to the backup location. Further, the aspects of corrupted tapes, blank tapes, and missing files make the tape based backups unreliable. However, this is not to say that tape based backups would be sunset as many firms realize that over the longer term, having tapes is an advantage. With regulatory rulings demanding a decade of data to be backed up, tape based backups are going to be around for some more years.
The next big driver for the DR industry is the emerging trend of disk-based backup wherein the growth in this method would drive the disk sales as well as services of technical personnel who have expertise in this field. With the still nascent cloud as a backup option yet to take off in a big way especially for larger businesses, the transition from the earlier paradigm to the cloud-based paradigm would have a prominent role for the tape-based backups in 2013. The key aspect here is that the DR industry is an inflection point and the tape-based backups are the intermediate stage before the full-fledged transition to cloud takes place.
Of course, many believe that the transition to cloud might not take place after all as the time it takes to restore the backups from the cloud is still not commercially viable. Considering the fact that businesses lose over $ 70,000 per hour of outage, the lengthier times that are part of the cloud recovery rule out any immediate move to the cloud paradigm. An emerging trend that is of consequence here is the use of the cloud as a backup of the backup which would greatly benefit those firms that do not have huge offsite backup facilities. Maybe, this is one driver in the DR market for 2013 that is not getting the attention it deserves.
To wrap things up, 2013 looks to be a promising year for the DR industry and notwithstanding the concerns of a double dip looming ahead, one can safely that the exponential increase in data generation should take care of any lingering worries about the slowdown. It needs to be remembered that any business has to necessarily backup data in any economic condition and this alone should be enough to drive growth in the DR industry. A couple of months into the New Year, it is safe to say that things are indeed looking up.
When marketing cloud based backup and recovery services, it does matter if you are a vendor who markets cloud based backup and recovery on a large scale or on a small scale. This is because of the differing needs for home based services and SOHO (Small Office Home Office) offerings and finally, the megabucks operations of big businesses or even for that matter small and medium enterprise.
For instance, the recovery time for home based solutions can be in the order of a day or two or more whereas SME’s need un-throttled recovery and at the most an overnight lag in the delivery of storage media. On the other hand, the SOHO segment needs un-throttled recovery as soon as possible but it can do without media delivery. Further, the requirements are different in the area of vendor data storage location as well. Take for instance the fact that SOHO and SME segments differ in terms of regulatory compliance requirements with the former opting for native storage and seeing foreign locations as a disadvantage whereas the latter would certainly prefer foreign storage as an asset.
The next aspect in selling is to do with the fact that managed service providers or MSP’s and resellers need to have a varied marketing and selling plan based on the evaluation of the customer’s requirements. For this the MSP’s need to prepare a matrix comprising of the differing needs and requirements of customers and then they need to tailor this to the specifications of individual customers. The easiest is the home based customer who needs the cloud based backup as an option to exercise in case of emergency. Whereas for the SME’s and the big businesses, data backup is a necessity as well as regulatory compliance specific and hence the mission criticality of this cannot be overemphasized more. This places these segments as distinct as chalk and cheese and hence, this is an aspect that needs to be factored into the marketing plan.
The other aspect in marketing cloud backup services is to do with the geographical location of the customer as well as the vendor. As explained earlier, the differing emphasis on criticality of storage and backup means that the vendor has to have multiple locations catering to the geographical needs and the perceptions of offsite storage. Indeed, the country of location matters even in this globalized world and hence, this is an aspect that should be taken into consideration as well.
Finally, the meat of the sale is in the commissions that the MSP’s and the resellers get as well as the margins made by them when selling cloud backup services. In this respect alone, it makes sense to keep the number of channel partners low so as to remove unwanted complexity and eliminate redundancy. Considering that the cloud paradigm is all about efficiency, this should be on your mind as well when you finalize the sales and marketing plan for your cloud backup services.
It is important to note that mastering the complex process of tying up with partners and reaching out to customers must be done after adequate due diligence is done on the strengths of the partners and the requirements of the customers. It might be necessary to have preliminary studies done to assess the markets and potential partners before launching your service. The point here is that it is better to test the waters before you take the plunge and it would be a good idea to launch a pilot service or a proof of concept cloud backup offering or service.