Disaster Recovery Services Will Continue to Evolve as a Result of the COVID-19 Pandemic
Organizations must ramp up their remote working capabilities
Disaster Recovery (DR) services for businesses have been around for 40 years. However, the industry has seen dramatic changes in just the past four years — and the service will continue to change even more as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In the early days, a DR provider would offer one location, and everyone who leased space there would be expected to get to that facility by any means necessary. For example, if a company had its main office in New York City and its employees came from the metropolitan area, each employee from New Jersey, Long Island, Westchester, or Connecticut would need to travel to the provider’s single location, which could be in Bergen County, New Jersey.
Today, there are 15 companies that provide a variety of DR solutions in the New York metropolitan area — a number that has doubled in the past 10 years. This can be attributed directly to the increase in colocation companies coming into the market, which typically turn excess office space in a new facility into DR space.
The primary users of disaster recovery seating in the New York metro area are financial firms that conduct trading because of SEC and banking regulations. Other sectors that are significant users of DR services include medical, health care, utilities, government agencies, call centers, and C-Suite professionals of major corporations.
Below are five common DR options that are currently available to users.
Internal Corporate Seats — Dedicated seats are created in a second location, leased or owned by a corporation, that is 50 miles away from the primary location and on a different power grid. This could be excess space in another facility and the company could perform its own service. Cost is determined by the corporation.
Dedicated or Shared BCP Seats — The service for dedicated or shared seats is outsourced to a business continuity plan (BCP) service provider. The estimated cost for dedicated seats is $200 to $400 a month per seat; for shared seats, it is $25 to $75 a month per seat. These costs vary based on the services and technology required at each seat.
Dedicated BCP Seats Location Agnostic — There are two BCP service providers in the New York metro area that will lease office space on the user’s behalf in a building with a generator located in an area identified by the user. The user needs to sign a five-year lease, and they may also incur slightly higher setup costs, depending on market conditions. This option is not available in a shared arrangement, and the estimated cost is $225 to $400 a month per seat.
Dynamic BCP Seats — The BCP provider partners with a co-working space provider to secure seats in the area designated by the user. For example, the user may require 50 seats in Bergen County, New Jersey, which the co-working provider has available in one or multiple locations within requested area. The co-working provider supplies the user with a phone, Wi-Fi, and internet connection (other services may be provided at an additional cost). The estimated cost for this option is $50 to $90 a month per seat.
Work at Home — Companies arrange for their employees to work at home during bad weather or disasters with a second laptop or PC, printer, and backup battery pack. Sometimes critical staff may have a company-provided generator installed at their home or apartment. The equipment and setup cost for each location is difficult to estimate given the unknown IT needs and local conditions.
The Impact of COVID-19
It is highly likely that the DR industry will continue to evolve as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The impact of the virus is already being seen on a massive scale, as countless employees have been unable to travel to DR sites because of social distancing restrictions. Many companies with workers that need to physically go to their offices are dividing them into shifts. Half of the team goes to the office on Monday, and the other half works from home or their DR space — on Tuesday, the groups switch.
Perhaps the biggest disruptor — for the DR industry and companies in numerous business sectors — will be the shift to working remotely. Working from home has already been gaining in popularity. The COVID-19 crisis has forced companies to allow employees to work remotely wherever possible, and, for many, it is proving to be a viable option that is likely to continue well in the future. Upgrades in technology, such as building better firewalls and a more secure internet connection, make working from home a more attractive and productive choice for workers — and one that will lower costs for businesses of all sizes.
The current pandemic involves virtually all of the major disasters that businesses are likely to encounter. It is a challenge that has created new obstacles for companies and industries to overcome. When staying home is the best solution to saving lives, business leaders and investors must ramp up efforts to make working from home more collaborative and safer from a technology perspective. The companies that are in the best position to lead this change are those that are already in the industry.