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Application Protection: Protecting What Matters Most, Your Business Apps - Part Two

If you don’t think you need to ensure the availability of your business apps, think again.

The average small- to medium-sized business that loses access to critical applications cannot fully recover operations for at least three to five hours, and that’s on the low end.  On the high end, it could take several days for a business to fully recover. How much revenue would you lose? How would your reputation suffer? How would that impact your long-term success?

To understand the emerging trend in cloud services of protecting your applications, I interviewed Jeremy Bigler, Broadview Networks’ Cloud Computing Lead. Below is Part Two of the interview series. If you missed Part One, check it out! In Part three we’ll get technical and figure out how the service works, so stay tuned.

What types of environments, servers and applications can be protected by Application Protection?

Application Protection can protect physical or virtual environments—these can also be third-party cloud environments—and these environments could be located in one or multiple sites. Organizations can also protect hybrid architectures in which resources are stored partly in the cloud and partly in a physical environment. Virtual or physical servers can be protected as well as any Windows®-based application.

Is there any way that organizations can achieve the same level of protection that Application Protection provides?

Clients can build this sort of capability in-house, but it is extremely capital intensive. In order for someone to build out this architecture, they’d have to buy or build redundant data centers, procure exactly alike hardware for all their application workloads, and they would have to manage failovers manually themselves. In other words, they can do it, but it costs a lot of money and it is typically above their skill set level.

Could an organization achieve the same type of real-time cloning that we offer?

With a fairly robust IT department, an organization could set up offsite, or remote, server redundancy and clustering that could come close to this, but it increases complexity to a level that is beyond where most companies’ typical comfort level lies. It is above an SMB [small- to medium-sized business] level of expertise certainly. Enterprises and mid-market businesses might have this expertise internally and have the necessary budget to support this; however, up until about a year ago, this technology came with a $20,000 price tag. What we’re doing differently is offering this technology at a fraction of that price.

So cost and the absence of in-house technology expertise are challenges that Application Protection helps businesses, particularly SMBs, overcome; what are some others?

In a typical environment five to ten years ago, applications were fairly stand-alone. One application did one job, and it was an island in the sea of applications that an organization would use. In today’s model, there are a lot of interdependencies between applications, which makes recovery extremely difficult for an organization.

For example, if I need to recover an application that relies on a third party—or an additional data source—for its information, I cannot recover the primary application until that third party is also made available. This creates confusion and complexity for SMBs because most do not have a clear picture of all the application interdependencies that exist within their organizations.

Our Application Dashboard ‘auto-discovers’ all of the application interdependencies within a company. It can quickly identify all of the interdependencies and assign Recovery Time and Recovery Point Objectives to an entire application stack as opposed to a discrete application or individual device [virtual or physical server].

The key point is that organizations don’t necessarily care about applications so much as they care about their supply chain or similar business processes that applications support. Our Application Protection service gives them ability to assign RTO and RPO to these vital business processes regardless of the application complexity that is behind the scenes supporting those processes.

You gave the example of supply chain as a business process that relies on applications. Is supply chain a term that encompasses, or represents, most business processes?

Yes, supply chain is essentially a ‘catch-all.’ An organization—a professional services business model for example—is concerned about two primary things: 1) providing a service to its clients, and 2) appropriately tracking and billing for its service. Inclusively, that is their business supply chain. That supply chain could be made up of one to multiple individual applications that support that entire process. The benefit we’re giving to customers is taking the application complexity out of the picture and allowing them to assign RTO and RPO to that entire business process as opposed to having to manage discretely every single application along that process.

About Emily Swartz

As the Social Community Manager at Broadview Networks, I enjoy sharing valuable content across all our social platforms. I particularly love writing for our blog because it gives me the opportunity to share tangible advice on how businesses can leverage technology to gain competitive advantages, control costs, provide superior service, and ultimately improve their bottom line. Find me on Google+

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