Picking Your Cloud

Disaster Preparedness

Picking Your Cloud

By TMC  |  July 23, 2012

This article originally appeared in the July/August issue of INTERNET TELEPHONY

Continuity Planning 101 – A Continuing Educational Series

Organizations looking at their first BC/DR implementation or upgrading an existing plan should first evaluate software-as-a-service options. SaaS (News - Alert) solutions are quick to deploy and have lower up-front costs. Additionally, their inherent design makes them a perfect BC/DR choice.

For costing purposes, the buy/build vs. rent option in real estate is a good analogy. However, since software cannot appreciate in value like an office building, the renter’s ROI is even better. Renters move in immediately; buyers have to wait. Renters rely on their landlord for maintenance; buyers have to resort to private contractors. Of course, picking a bad landlord would not be good. This is certainly not a true caveat emptor (buyer beware) situation, but you will be entrusting your organization’s future to the SaaS providers (SaaSP), so reasonable due diligence is required.

As with any DR plan, carefully organize your requirements list and identify which are mission-critical or simply desirable options. For example, SaaS will reduce the workload of your IT staff, but that may not be mission-critical like VoIP or fax. Next, ascertain if any SaaSPs offer all or most of the mission-critical requirements. You may have to contract with several to cover all of your organization’s needs. Once you have narrowed the search, you can refine the study to determine what SaaSPs offer the best overall solution(s). 

The total cost of ownership now needs to be factored into your study. Generally, SaaS provides a lower TCO than an in-house solution, but your CFO will probably want to review the actual numbers. The TCO will also provide some guidance on comparing the various SaaSPs. For example, business continuity and resiliency services from IBM, Oracle’s CRM or other high-end solutions may exceed your organization’s basic requirements so alternatives like Microsoft (News - Alert) Office 365 could make more sense. The collocation(s) used will directly affect the overall cost, but using a major global operator like Equinix will also provide a higher level of security and reliability than some other collocations. This is definitely a decision where cheap may not be the least expensive.

Bear in mind this is not an all-or-nothing decision. There are plenty of hybrid solutions that combine SaaS and in-house operations so you have plenty of choices. Hybrids also ease budget considerations and provide greater migration flexibility. Time to pick your cloud.

Max Schroeder (News - Alert) is senior vice president of FaxCore Inc. and managing director of the DPCF. Rich Tehrani is CEO and group editor-in-chief at TMC, and conference chairman of ITEXPO (News - Alert).

Edited by Stefania Viscusi