Cloud Services and Virtualization Boost SMB Survival

By Pedro Hernandez | Posted May 14, 2012

A new Symantec-sponsored survey conducted by ReRez Research finds that as small and midsize businesses (SMBs) embrace server virtualization, cloud computing and mobility, their disaster preparedness strategies are improving. And it's not a moment too soon.

Small Business Virtualization, Cloud and Disaster Recovery

"SMBs have a reputation of being less than diligent with disaster recovery," says Monica Girolami, director of SMB product marketing for Symantec. When disaster strikes, that inattentiveness can have seriously damaging effects to the bottom line.

Girolami reports, "We've seen that downtime for a small business costs about $12,500 per day per incident." If one too many mishaps pile up, losses of this magnitude can quickly wipe out a small business.

So it's fortunate that as SMBs adopt of virtualization and cloud services -- and as mobile technologies accelerates -- disaster recovery comes along for the ride.

Of the small business IT executives at 2,053 companies were polled worldwide for the 2012 Disaster Preparedness Survey (PDF), 43 percent said they deployed, or are in the process of deploying, private clouds, followed closely by 40 percent of respondents that are deploying or currently using public cloud services. Symantec classifies SMBs as organizations with a headcount of between five and 250 employees.

A smaller, but still significant minority of 35 percent reported using mobile devices to access business data. And server virtualization is proving to be less of a stranger to small business. Thirty-four percent of those surveyed said they are employing the server workload-enhancing technology.

Virtualized, Cloudy Infrastructures Laugh in the Face of Danger

While disaster recovery typically isn't the overriding reason for adopting those technologies, it factors heavily for many small-business IT professionals.

In terms of adopting server virtualization and public cloud services, 34 percent of IT executives said that the ability to quickly recover from a disaster had a "moderate to large" effect on their decisions.  Similarly, 36 percent reported the same for mobility solutions and 37 percent let those factors guide their private cloud strategies.

For a several SMBs, their faith in these technologies is being rewarded.

A substantial majority, 71 percent, said server virtualization improved on their capability to get back up and running in the wake of a disaster. For private and private clouds, 43 percent and 41 percent said the same, respectively. Mobile solutions improved on the disaster preparedness of 36 percent of respondents.

Better yet, virtualization, mobility and cloud services often overlap; better preparing SMBs for disasters, says Girolami. For instance, "public cloud and mobility go hand-in-hand," she states, making it possible for workers to "access information regardless of whether your network is up or down."

All told, SMBs with virtualized, cloud-friendly IT setups -- with a dash of mobile device support thrown in -- stand a good chance of surviving catastrophic events relatively unscathed. "These are going work together to make your infrastructure more resilient," comments Girolami.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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