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The recent, disastrous floods in Thailand have proven to be extremely costly to many businesses in terms of lost revenue due to disruption to business and perhaps more damaging, loss of critical business hardware, software and data due to lack of adequate disaster management procedures. Businesses have been wiped out, the hub of the country has been deeply affected with losses in the millions of baht.
Cloud software can eliminate the worries, cost and cumbersome processes involved in disaster recovery than using more traditional, on-premise setups.
Data backup and recovery, not to mention damage to physical, on site servers and other hardware can prove extremely costly to small business and large corporations alike in times such as those being experienced in Thailand right now.
Take the devastating floods in central Thailand for example; offices, factories, warehouses and shops underwater, collapse of business in the region and massive knock on effects in other parts of the country.
It is easy for management and IT teams fall into a certain degree of complacency and think "it won't affect us", or "it'll never happen here", or "we backup our data to tape". The office where staff work, which may for much of the time seem like a secure fortress having stood there for years without any issues. However, suddenly it becomes inundated by rising flood waters, destroying valuable computer hardware and sensitive data and making business continuity impossible.
Sure, most businesses will have some sort of backup plan in place, manual or automated, hopefully on a daily basis, but even that is not totally secure unless that data is shipped off-site or backed up on a cloud service. It's no good to backup your CRM or SAP or other mission critical data to DVD or tape and store it in the company safe when the safe is underwater! Your servers are dead, your backup data is in a safe that it hopefully watertight, but underwater nonetheless!
By hosting your software and hardware infrastructure in the cloud, you avoid all of this. Cloud software, or cloud solutions, also known as software as a service (SaaS), take care of all of the hardware infrastructure, software, security, redundancy and data backups as part of the subscription service they provide. To carry on working, staff just need a laptop or PC or even a mobile device together with an internet connection. Everything runs on a browser.
Documents, critical business data, project information, company sales manual and HelpDesk tickets... all of it is in the cloud and ready to be used as soon as your staff get to a browser. There never was any need for an internal disaster recovery plan as it is handled by the cloud service provider, who, by the enormous economies of scale involved, can likely afford far more advanced disaster recovery measures than the average small-medium business ever could.
In addition, by the very nature of cloud solutions, your staff do not even need to be in an 'office' in the first place, they can work at home, online, collaborating using the cloud solutions, and can continue working even during a national calamity. And by allowing staff to work in remote locations, even in different countries, there is far less chance of being affected by a natural disaster than when all staff work in a single location.
Zoho online business solutions are comprised of 25+ cloud based business tools, perfectly suited for the small-medium business but equally scalable to large enterprises. Many are or are being fully integrated and they include solutions such as CRM, Project Management, HelpDesk Support, Wiki, Document Management, online Accounting and many more. Zoho's data backup and security policy is world class too: data is automatically replicated for more reliability/availability, the infrastructure is hosted in a Tier 1 data centre located in California, USA, with biometric scanning systems, security cameras and even bullet proof glass!
Our business guru has written a cool article on the topic of disaster recovery planning, check it out here. And, as an example of how cloud solutions can help a business to mitigate risk and continue business operations during and after natural disasters such as the floods in Thailand in October and November 2011, I can count myself lucky... here I am blogging, whilst working at home on a laptop, having had online meetings with my team and a client this morning and working on a proposal via Zoho Docs online document solution this afternoon. For companies in the cloud it is business as usual.
Of course, online solutions and software as a service are not for everyone, and they have their disadvantages too I guess (although not many in my opinion!) but at times like this, I sure am glad we live in the cloud. For more information please feel free to contact us here.
Our hearts go out to all those affected by the recent floods.