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Issue of October 2002 
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Dear Editor,
The articles on disaster recovery were very interesting and informative. The issue that most companies in India will have is that of cost. Many companies are struggling to push up their bottom lines and fund the maintenance of their existing systems.

Setting up a separate off-site recovery and failover facility will prove to be out of reach. And the rising cost of hardware and software, and complexity of systems add to the difficulty in convincing the management.

Manish Gupta

Dear Manish,
Thank you for appreciating the articles. I am glad that they could stimulate a thought process in your mind and you have already begun to think of ways to convince higher management.

I agree that the costs of hardware and software can be steep, especially for smaller companies, but there is a way to work around it. Outsource it and give someone else the responsibility of managing business continuity for you. Many data centers and service providers will store, manage, and administer your data on-site as well as remotely for an annual fee. Most of these facilities have very updated equipment, technically qualified manpower, and experience in this sort of an exercise. These organizations may already have disaster recovery site in place and can thus guarantee 99.999 percent availability.

Dear Brian,
The cover story on software licensing policies and management was interesting. Software companies often bother to call and find out about whether you have purchased licensed copies and whether your license is up-to-date or not. But they never ask if their product is working well or not. It seems the software vendors tend to take their customers for granted. What is the way to work around this?
Prabhat Mehra

Dear Prabhat,
I don't think yours is an isolated case. There are many enterprise users who face similar situations. There are many ways to tackle this situation.

As they say in the hospitality business, 'The customer is king', the same actually applies in IT. An enterprise user is certainly the king. And the king is entitled to put his foot down on his demands.

At the time of procurement of software, try and include on-site support as a part of the deal. Insist on a 24 hour helpline service and take down the phone numbers of the distributor and the customer service representative of the vendor.

The next time you get a call asking if your license is updated, make it a point to voice all your concerns about software performance before you answer the queries that the caller may have.

Keep in touch through phone calls and e-mail with the distributor and vendor regarding any performance problems. Maintain a log of the performance hiccups and let them have a look at it. These activities will actually convince the vendor and distributor that you are serious and not to be taken in easily.

You can even voice your concerns to us and we can pursue the matter discreetly in case you don't want to ruffle feathers.

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