Opinion

Make hay before the snow falls

Snow Jan 2010 - Londonstills.com, Rex Features.JPGWe may be set for an Indian summer over the next few days, and it will be welcome after the dreary, wet start to October, but don't forget that the nights are still drawing in and the clocks go back in a scant three weeks.

If we get another winter like the last one, you can bet that at some point, the snow will come down and the entire country will grind to a halt.

At this point, the (remote working enabled) MicroScope team will be sitting at their respective kitchen tables, reading comment after comment about how, if only the channel would just listen, this could all have been avoided.

So, dear resellers, I beg you, not just as a pesky journalist but as a human being, like you, talk to your customers about their business continuity plans now.

Not only can you make a tidy little profit in tough economic times through selling a video-conferencing installation, a UC suite, or a nice new VPN, but you can also save everyone an almighty headache, and hours of lost productivity.

Oh sure, winter might still seem a long way off, but like a farmer getting in his harvest, now is the right time to start selling business continuity tools; the Forum of Private Business (FPB) this week issued a warning to SMBs that long-range predictions are calling for another harsh winter.

And according to a YouGov poll, 58% of senior decision-makers said their companies suffered as a result of the disruption last winter, despite 78% saying they believed their firms were adequately prepared.

"We estimated that last winter's snowfalls were costing smaller businesses across the UK around £230m each day at one point," said FPB spokesman Phil McCabe.

"Obviously small firms can ill afford a similar expenditure this year, so we're urging business owners to think about their contingency plans now to ensure they aren't put out of action by another icy winter," he added.

The FPB has itself launched a new business continuity service for members, called AssistPoint.

Provided through Microsoft and VMware partner Smartways Technology, the service will provide remote phone systems, PCs, email and fax facilities, as well as access to 5GB of backed up data, which sounds like a piddling amount, but could be a lifeline to a small firm.

If you're in the business of providing managed network services and you're not already thinking along these lines, you should get involved. Your customers, and my inbox, will thank you for your foresight.

Photo courtesy Londonstills.com, Rex Features

This was first published in October 2010

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