This content is part of the Essential Guide: A DRaaS market guide: Advice on the thriving technology
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DRaaS could open SMB channel opportunities

Disaster recovery as a service, or DRaaS, should be changing the way channel partners think about their clients’ business continuity options.

Indeed, cloud-based methods such as DRaaS have put DR within the reach of smaller customers, a development that has opened a largely untapped market for channel partners. DR was once something only larger enterprises could think about doing. The cost of duplicating in-house IT infrastructure in a DR facility was simply beyond the resources of many, if not most, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). But DRaaS has changed the economics of data protection. A business pays a monthly fee to get the job done, rather than make a sizeable upfront investment in hardware, software licenses and facilities.

A recent study from Zetta, a company that offers cloud-based DRaaS, shows that SMBs are aware of the need for DR readiness and that the cloud provides one way of achieving that. The Zetta 2016 SMB Recovery Readiness Study polled more than 300 IT professionals in companies ranging in size from fewer than 50 to more than 1,000 employees. According to the report, 84% of SMBs said that several days of IT downtime would “result in moderate to catastrophic costs and loss.”

That recognition makes DR an important market for channel companies, many of which focus on the SMB sector.

“This research shows that recovery readiness is a greenfield opportunity for channel partners who can get it right,” said Mike Grossman, Zetta’s CEO. “They can help their customers avoid downtime and extreme pain by providing an appropriate DR solution.”

Some smaller firms lack a DR plan altogether, but even those with some form of DR in place represent a potential source of channel business. The Zetta report noted that 53% of the SMBs surveyed rely on more than one DR approach.

“This points to continued opportunity for channel partners, even when prospects already have an existing solution,” Grossman said.

As it happens, the cloud is the alternative DR method SMBs are increasingly considering. The cloud is already playing a role in the DR strategies of 37% of the organizations Zetta surveyed — that’s up from 26% in Zetta’s 2015 study. In addition, 57% of the SMB IT managers who plan to add a new DR method in the next 12 months said they expect to deploy a cloud-based offering.

The numbers bode well for channel companies that develop a DRaaS offering of their own or go to market with a DRaaS provider.

“Channel partners need to promote the cost-effectiveness and simplicity of their DR options and steer away from complex offerings,” Grossman said. “Bundling DR solutions with complex architecture designs and heavy professional services is a turnoff to most organizations that don’t have time for major projects or additional management tasks.”