Suddenly You're A Savior
After September 11, how do storage VARs and vendors walk the line between opportunism and sensitivity?
Mass storage VARs and vendors may be tempted to say, "I told you so" to all of those who wouldn't listen before. These providers have been telling their customers for a long time how important it is to back up data - how if a system crashed or a hacker broke through, a good backup system would ensure their ability to get back up and running quick.
Did it take the unthinkable for end users to start to think about data backup and recovery? Maybe so. But how do VARs and vendors bring up the subject again without seeming like a looter or scavenger?
Before September 11, many end users either backed up infrequently or incorrectly, pushing data recovery to the back of their minds. Since that horrible day, you can be sure that your customers are looking at backup and recovery with a little more respect these days.
As a mass storage editor, I've written articles about backup and recovery. Since the tragedy, I've recognized that the events of that tragic day might translate into opportunity for IT vendors and VARs. Call me cynical, but I expected to start receiving a plethora of e-mails with each vendor touting expertise in backup and recovery. I got very few.
In preparing this article in early October, I decided to visit the Web pages of about 50 storage management software vendors and data recovery service providers to see how they are handling themselves during this time of disaster, and to be frank, this time of opportunity for those in the business of mass storage. I expected most companies to push disaster planning and data recovery over previously highlighted virtues such as speeds, feeds, and management. I was pleasantly surprised. Upon opening many Web pages, the first image appeared was the American flag in various dispositions, waving, static, or tied as a ribbon.
On some of the Web sites, I found a simple message of condolence, but on others I could find no mention of the tragedy at all. In either case, I didn't find any that were trying to turn tragedy into profit. Interestingly enough, the data recovery companies' Web pages were the ones that didn't mention the tragedy. They are the ones that stand to benefit the most. Should they have been offering free services?
In the case of the software vendors, some offered free phone support to their customers in New York and Washington, DC. But two companies impressed me immensely. In a letter to New York Governor George Pataki, Sanjay Kumar, Computer Associates' (Islandia, NY) president and CEO, wrote, "The entire resources of our organization are at your disposal to assist New York businesses as they work diligently to restore their business operations. Our SWAT (Software Action Teams) teams are standing by to assist businesses, on a pro bono basis, with the restoration of data and computing services."
In addition, I found the following letter from Steven Murphy, CEO, on Fujitsu Softek's (Sunnyvale, CA) Web site: "If your company has lost data or needs to recover, migrate, replicate, or remotely backup your critical data resources as a result of this horrendous terrorist attack, please do not hesitate to ask Fujitsu Softek to assist in your recovery efforts at no cost."
What do you think? Should storage companies take advantage of the opportunity in front of them, especially since so many have been hit so hard in the past year? How are you handling the "business" aspect of the tragedy? To those who have lost someone in the September 11 tragedy, we offer our most heartfelt thoughts and prayers.Questions about this article? E-mail the author at AnnS@corrypub.com.