July 19

We throw around the term “disaster recovery” a lot. And by “we,” I mean everyone in the IT universe. We use it so much, in fact, that it starts to be a caricature of itself, something that gets it right in the broad strokes but that gets distorted the closer you look. I imagine that many people you’re trying to sell disaster recovery to glaze over when you bring it up. As soon as you say it, they’ve made a bunch of assumptions and have possibly even dismissed you already.

“We don’t need it,” they say. “That kind of stuff won’t happen to us.” Or, “we can do it ourselves.” Or even, “we’ve got a solution,” it just happens to be forty years old.

Because their assumptions about “disaster recovery” are already in place, we need to come at things from a different angle if we’re going to convince them they need it. Which we all know they do.

It really comes down to the “disaster.” Everyone comes to the table with a different idea of what that means. Total loss? Natural disasters? Our standard answer here at StorageCraft is “anything that disrupts normal business operation.” That is certainly a broad definition that covers a wide range of potential events. When you’re talking to a client, maybe one way to get passed their glazing eyes is to ask them how they’d define a disaster. You can have a much more meaningful conversation about “recovery” if you’re both starting on the same page with “disaster.”

But I think there’s an even more fundamental perspective of disasters that we often overlook and I think it’s crucial in helping people understand why they need some kind of disaster recovery solution. When it comes to your client’s business, hurricanes, power outages, thoughtless employees, and so on are just events. Impersonal events that may or may not happen. We can trot out statistics all we want, but that doesn’t change the fact that these things aren’t the disasters your client should be worried about. And they’re not the disasters that you should be trying to protect them from.

So what are the real disasters?

What happens when the power goes out? Business shuts down, right? Depending on your client’s setup, their web store goes down, or their phones, or the wireless router that’s running all their cash registers. So what do you think is the disaster? The fact that the power went down or the fact that your client is losing money and suffering a loss to their reputation?

From your client’s perspective, the real disasters are downtime and data loss. These are the things that hurt their business. These are the things they need to recover from and be protected against. The power outage or the server meltdown or whatever are the cause, but the effect is the actual impact of these things on the business.

It’s easy to try and let terms like “disaster recovery” do all the work, but when it comes to selling it as a solution, it’s up to us to take the time to educate our clients about what it really means.

Image source:  Alex E. Proimos