Amazon Web Services: The Cautionary Tales

Michael Vizard

When it comes to disaster recovery, the reason that so many companies struggle so much usually has very little to do with the technology. There are plenty of solutions out there today that can make the whole process of recovering pretty straightforward from a technology perspective. The issue is that most people simply don't know what to do when the emergency strikes.

To help solve that problem, Preparis has set up a software-as-a-service application that effectively functions as a command and control center in the event of a disaster. Instead of storing all the processes and protocols in a binder on somebody's desk, Preparis makes the entire disaster recovery process, right down to the order in which various pieces of software infrastructure need to be brought back online, available to anyone accessing a Web browser.

Most disasters have very little to do with climatic events such as hurricanes. Instead, the culprit is usually flooding or a power outage due to a storm, such as the remnants of Hurricane Ida that are hitting the southeastern portion of the United States. In fact, Preparis has identified over 200 threats to business continuity, which it outlines on its Web site. The latest advice on the site is a set of policies and procedures that should be implemented to deal with a pandemic outbreak such as the H1N1 virus, popularly known as swine flu.

As part of this service, Preparis requires that customers train 5 to 7 percent of their workforce for emergency preparedness, which Preparis will then certify in keeping with the protocols established in the Incident Command Systems guidelines that the U.S. Government set up for first responders. On average, the service winds up costing about $500 per user per year to train, plus there is a fee to use the service, based on the size of the company using the application. Typically, the cost of the service averages out to about $250,000 across a three-year period.

That may sound like an expensive insurance policy. But when you think about how much revenue can be lost in a single day just because nobody can remember what to do during an emergency, Preparis represents a whole lot of potential peace of mind.

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