In this months column, Rich and Max interview some members of the Disaster Planning Communications Forum (DPCF) to better understand the role managed services plays in the business continuity market. They spoke with the following:
Doug Brown, Principal, Miami Data Vault
Lawrence Bothwell, Sales Analyst/IT, Standley Systems, Inc. and
Rick Davis, Chief Sales Officer, Skyport International, Inc.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the computer industry was dominated by mainframe and mini-computer systems, but offsite access was available on a limited basis using simple timeshare terminals. Communications were slow and the performance was limited but the customer required little in the way of in-house equipment or expertise. A plus factor was that business continuity was built-in, as the computer center was off-site. The big trend of the 80s was the PC revolution followed by networking. The 90s brought the Internet and high-speed communications, setting the stage for one of the hottest service products of the year 2000 the Application Service Provider (ASP). The next year brought the .com crash of 2001. The crash also brought down many of the newly launched ASP companies and the term ASP was no longer in favor.
RT: Max, you are a big fan of managed services. How did the model rise like a Phoenix from the ashes and become so popular in todays market?
MS: The Yogi Berra quote in the headline is appropriate in that the terms ASP and Managed Services are very similar and this business model is hot once again. It was always a sound model but the launch of so many ASPs in 2000 was just bad luck and poor timing. The model allows companies to reduce overhead, outsource services plus protect their organizations from business interruptions. Managed Services covers all of the bases and todays converged IP communications solutions, combined with high-speed access, make a great bundled package for the enterprise.
RT: It is also a perfect model for any company looking to prepare for disaster by implementing a business continuity plan and many resellers have seized the opportunity to expand into this quickly growing market.
MS: Exactly, and with all of the choices available, many enterprises need the advice of an experienced reseller to guide them though the wide selection of services. Concurrently many resellers need to partner with companies that provide secure facilities to offer an all-inclusive continuity plan to their customers.
RT: Doug, how does Miami Data Vault (MDV) fit into this equation and what type of customers are you looking to serve?
DB: MDV is a unique co-location center which also offers disaster recovery space within a 100,000-square-foot secure facility. Our fully redundant carrier fiber-optic connections are carrier neutral and we house 18 ISPs. We offer various platforms and flexible business terms and relationships. Our target market runs the gamut of enterprises looking to self-manage their business continuity deployments to resellers and other managed services providers looking to collocate in a secure facility. We are also open to partnering with other co-locations and data vaults to provide maximum geographic security for their managed services customers.
RT: Lawrence, Standleys has a somewhat different approach that targets more specific markets that often require compliance with government regulations, like Sarbanes-Oxley and HIPPA.
LB: Standley Systems realized that todays business environment demands new thinking about the management of electronic and printed communications. As a company, we have evolved from a traditional imaging company to a provider of services and applications covering a full range of document management and backup. Our partnership with Savin allows us to provide customers with the DocumentMall service, which is particularly suited to legal, medical, and financial organizations or divisions thereof that are document-centric. This service provides for managing and securing documents via a Citrix interface and Java push technology. It also allows companies to back up documents, yet retain immediate (and sharable) access. For customers that need full system backup, we partner with CoreVault Managed Services to provide disk-to-disk backup and recovery software for protecting an entire companys business-critical data, Server to Laptop. CoreVault maintains locations in Oklahoma City and
Cheyenne, Oklahoma for maximum redundancy. Large file applications such as CAD/CAM require a large amount of bandwidth when transferring files; using the DocumentMall service with the Citrix interface allows employees to work from remote offices efficiently. Both of the aforementioned solutions comply with both Sarbox and HIPPA regulations. In addition, CoreVault uses delta coding technology for date-compliant restoration which is a critical requirement for some enterprises
MS: The one link critical to having an enterprise maintain continuity or failover to a managed facility is a secure communications link. Of course, the ultimate communication service is satellite technology. Rick, could you provide a quick overview of how SkyPort provides this critical link?
RD: SkyPort is a licensed global broadband communication services provider for converged voice, video, and data via both satellite and terrestrial networks. SkyPort believes that secure data transmissions begin with a secure facility. Our Houston teleport and Global Network Operations Center are located at Ellington Field that is currently home to multiple Texas National Guard units, as well as the U.S. Coast Guards Air Station Houston. The site is entirely fenced with multiple protection devices, and the area is patrolled around the clock by airport police. Our customer base, which includes FEMA, the National Guard, and major energy companies with drilling rigs deployed in the Gulf all demand a very high level of security. One of the services we provide is managed video conferencing and SatCom services for organizations like the Montgomery County Emergency Communications District.
RT: Didnt SkyPort recently receive a prestigious award?
RD: Yes, The National Guard Bureau presented the Minuteman Award to SkyPort International for outstanding and invaluable support to the National Guards relief efforts following the devastation wrought in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, and Wilma. It was the first time ever that an external service provider received this award.
Rich and Max admonition: The major disasters of the past year tend to obfuscate the smaller and more common events that account for the largest percentage of business down time. Your company may be at a fork in the road where you are deciding if a business continuity plan is critical to your operations. The companies included in this article are only a sampling of the DPCF member companies and do not even include all of the members that provide managed services. If your company is interested in business continuity planning please visit http://www.tmcnet.com/channels/disaster-preparedness/ to view additional information provided by DPCF members, TMC, and the ECA.
And remember, as Yogi Berra once said, When you come to a fork in the road, take it. IT
Max Schroeder is a board member of the ECA, media relations committee chairman, and liaison to TMC. He is also the Sr. Vice President of FaxCore, Inc. (news - alerts)
Rich Tehrani is the President and Group Editor-in-Chief at TMC and is Conference Chairman of Internet Telephony Conference & EXPO.
If your organization has an interest in participating in the TMC/ECA Disaster Preparedness Communications Forum, please contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are interested in purchasing reprints of this article (in either print or PDF format), please visit Reprint Management Services online at www.reprintbuyer.com or contact a representative via e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 800-290-5460.
Current Members of the Disaster Planning Communications Forum
(as of 5/1/06)
• Brooktrout Technology
• CiBan LLC
• Cisco Systems, Inc.
• EarthNet Telecom, Inc.
• Eicon Networks Corp
• FaxCore, Inc.
• Forsythe Solutions Group
• Haines Brown Inc.
• Iwatsu Voice Networks
• MSI Services
• MWB Business Systems
• Progressive Communications Mgmt, Inc.
• Quintum Technologies
• SafeHatch, LLC
• Skyport International, Inc.
• Sphere Communications
• Standley Systems, Inc.
• Tadiran Telecom Inc.
• Wiresoft.Net, Inc.