Disaster recovery is essential for survival in high stage loadshedding
With some analysts predicting that Stage 7 loadshedding will be the norm by July this year, and Eskom itself having said that rolling blackouts are likely to continue until at least 2027, South African businesses that don’t have IT system disaster recovery plans are vulnerable to business interruption, data loss, reputational damage, and loss of revenue at a time when every cent really does count.
Whether it’s protecting their IT infrastructures from the many dangers of blackouts and allied power surges, which could be anything from hardware damage, total switch-off or data corruption or just adding an extra level or reassurance to ensure business continuity, a cloud-based DRaaS (disaster recovery as a service) solution should now be an essential part of a business’s governance, risk, and compliance strategy.
Affordable broadband fibre connectivity, reliable data centre environments and highly efficient, easy-to-configure and manage DR (Disaster Recovery) applications have made DRaaS affordable and accessible to all businesses that are serious about ensuring continuity.
An ideal cloud-based disaster recovery solution does so much more than ensure that a business’s data is backed up – it ensures continuity of transactional ability and the automated availability of critical data, systems, and applications in the event of a disruption of any kind.
Effective solutions enable almost instant “fail-over” to a functional cloud server when there is an incident that disrupts processing. The DR solution should also make it possible to recover data back to its original location if that’s what is required. An ideal solution offers a failover time of 15-30 minutes – meaning that a business that has suffered a technology disaster can pick up the (virtual) pieces and commence transacting with the least disruption.
“Business disruptions are costly, frustrating, and can cause reputational damage. Even though South Africans are all in the same loadshedding boat and tend to be understanding of the challenges we all face – that’s often up to a point,” according to Steve Porter, MD of IronTree, a Metrofile Group company. “Companies of all sizes are operating in an extremely disruptive environment, and cloud-based application server hosting along with a DRaaS (disaster recovery as a service) solution supported by frequent restorable data backups are key to surviving and thriving in the current context.”
Whilst many of South Africa’s big corporates have moved their operations into the cloud and have DR solutions in place, many smaller businesses have yet to take advantage of all the benefits of doing so, despite the looming prospect of an even more disrupted power supply. “Implementing a disaster recovery solution is not nearly as daunting a step as it sounds,” he adds. “With the support of a local hosting provider that offers a wide range of solutions and personalised support, medium-sized businesses can certainly enjoy the same business continuity and disaster recovery support that large companies already do, at affordable rates too,” he adds.
It’s also important to note that disaster recovery is not something that’s installed and then left until a disaster strikes. Disaster simulations should be run quarterly, at the very least, to be sure that all parameters have been included and updated as the business grows. There should be no disruption to the business during these simulations, which can be done by an in-house IT support team.
“We have always been ahead of the curve when it comes to mitigating risk for our customers, and our fifteenth year of being in business is no different. We have built a private hosting, cybersecurity, backup and disaster recovery stack that effectively mitigates most of the hugely disruptive and costly risks that power blackouts have forced upon South Africa’s businesses,” Porter explains. “Trusting an award-winning local business that offers these solutions with an understanding of our shared circumstances and the solutions best suited to each company’s circumstances, along with local support, offers an added layer of reassurance as we navigate these turbulent times together.”