gambling with data

Gambling cost one of my (now former) clients $28,000. Plus two weeks – or more – of complete downtime for his business.

It practically wasn’t “gambling.” In Vegas, even the blackjack dealer will tell you to hit when you’re at five on your cards and they’ve got an ace showing.

No, this was the kind of “gambling” that I see happen all too often.

It makes me sick to my stomach, because, just like Las Vegas where the gambler almost always loses in the long run, I know they’ll lose this bet, too.

The Bet You Won’t Win

This company “bet” all their business data – the storage, access, and security – on the idea that their server would run just fine. Forever. They passed up on what amounts to some of the best insurance you can buy for a business that relies on its data.

They had the opportunity to install a Backup and Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Device (BDR) something that could be considered a form of “server insurance.”

Like homeowners’ insurance, you pay a monthly fee and then, if your business investment (probably the largest you’ve made in your life besides your home) is destroyed or lost, the “insurance” makes you whole by restoring your data.

Except that a BDR is even better than homeowners’ insurance. First, you’re not responsible for having your business data rebuilt the way you would your house. A backup and disaster recovery service should always include restoration.

Second, it doesn’t take months, weeks, or even days to restore data from these devices. We’re able to get clients back up and running within an HOUR. Remotely. From our office.

Unless of course, your building burned down and even then, you can get laptops set up and be back in business almost immediately with the right kind of backup and cloud services.

Third, unlike homeowners’ insurance, BDR plans shouldn’t go up in cost if you use it.

Not a Requirement

Backup and Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity Devices (BDR) aren’t mandated by law in most industries, unlike a lot of insurance is. Which, in my admittedly biased opinion, is a shame.

I know how often servers crash. Even when they’re well-maintained. It’s a dynamic system, vulnerable to electricity, heat, and human intervention. The server and hard-drive death rate is far, far greater than the incidence of home fires.

Eventually, all servers will burn out and die.

Telling Him How to Win

I warned, no…I nearly begged this client to invest in the BDR.

“No, we have [consumer cloud backup service],” he said.

“That’s incredibly slow in getting your data back. You think your provider throttles your bandwidth now? Wait until you try to restore 2 terabytes of data,” I said.

“We’ve got an external hard drive,” he said.

“Yeah, I know,” I said, “We simulated an outage and your expected downtime is at least two weeks if we’re going to depend on the cloud service and that hard drive.”

“No, we’ll be fine. We’ll ‘stay’,” he told me.

He was showing five. He didn’t even check his hole card, also a five, which I also tried to tell him. The house showed an ace. He made a $28,000 “bet” on an impossible hand and then acted surprised when the house flipped over a seven.

His server died and there was nothing he could do but pay the full cost of getting a new one, installing everything from scratch, and trying to recover his data. Which he paid some other firm to do, because he was pissed I didn’t “do anything to prevent this from happening.”

Not my casino. Not my cards. But it sure was a circus circus.