Disaster Recovery 101 and 6 questions to ask yourself

Disasters manifest themselves in many forms. There are thoughts that come to your mind when you hear words like fires, theft, power outages etc. there also words like earthquakes, floods and other natural events. For the ICT folks, #malware and #ransomware have of late been dreaded as new age disasters.

No organization would want to deal with any of these scenarios. Not wanting to deal with them does not mean they will not happen. Having a comprehensive disaster recovery and backup solution in place is inevitable because your peace of mind matters to you.

Research indicates that malfunctioning hardware cause 45% of total unplanned downtime. Loss of power is another cause of downtime which accounts for 35%, software failure 34%, data corruption 24%, external security breaches 23%, and accidental user error 20%. This is according to a post by Phoenix NAP Global IT services. Today, such failures can lead to huge financial losses. How do you cover your business from such losses?

A solution that has been gaining traction of late is Disaster Recovery as a Service, #DRaaS. Disaster Recovery as a Service is whereby third-party data center experts offer cloud recovery services which means your entire production site from servers to applications, systems and the data itself is mirrored so that in case of an eventuality like the ones aforementioned, your path to recovery is almost seamless. The cost of setting up such a center is tremendous. Having one inhouse does not make business sense due to one, the heavy investment on infrastructure and two, the technical expertise required. The focus needs to be on your core business.

MTN Business Kenya has invested heavily on its Primary Disaster Recovery site in Nairobi, a tier 3 data center and a secondary site in Mombasa. About Sh1 billion was spent to build the Nairobi one alone. This investment is primarily to enable enterprises like yours, access affordable Disaster Recovery services on a pay-you-go model. Pay-as-you-go model is a cost effective and flexible payment model for such services as you only pay for the capacity you use. The pay-as-you-scale model is also available whenever you want to do back up for any additional workloads.

More enterprises in Kenya and Africa are already reaping the benefits of adopting cloud-based services like disaster recovery. In a survey by Worldwide Wax in 2017, and which interviewed decision makers in 300 medium and large companies across Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa, business efficiency and scalability were by far mentioned as the most important benefits of cloud services. 80 per cent of businesses in Nigeria and 75 per cent of businesses in Kenya acknowledged these benefits. The report further highlights that in Kenya, 69 per cent have seen an overall positive impact, while 48 per cent had seen a high or very high impact on market share.

With ever shrinking markets, competitive edge is now shifting to creating business efficiencies and scaling speeds and swiftness. Whether or not to use a cloud service is no longer the question but what are you gaining from using these services is.

It provides substantial benefits when one considers cost and performance compared to traditional offerings of having an on-premise site. Furthermore, the solution is better equipped to make sure your organization #recovers quickly and completely in case of a disaster.

Whichever kind of environment your organization is running, having in place a DR Strategy is key towards ensuring there is continuity of business when disaster strikes.

What are the questions you ask yourself when coming up with a DR strategy? We mention some of them below.

  • What is the business impact and risk analysis incase an ICT disaster strikes your enterprise?
  • What mission critical workloads will you need to protect?
  • What technology are you using?
  • What is your budget?
  • What are your resources? Facilities and people?
  • What is your recovery time objective #RTO and recovery point objective #RPO?

Cloud Computing Through Africa’s Eyes

It’s truly a good time to be in the ICT industry in Africa now more than ever because of the level of change and disruption the industry is bringing to the African continent. All businesses, from public to private sector are having to adapt due to the different market demands brought about by advancements in technology and networking infrastructure. Internet connection is getting wider spread and the infrastructure supporting it is getting better allowing us to enjoy the benefits of the next phase of computing…cloud computing.

Cloud computing is the ability to provide data processing, storage and networking services on-demand across a shared platform. The adoption of cloud computing across Africa is still low but has been on the ascendancy in the last 5-7 years. This has been largely through awareness campaigns by both local and international cloud service providers who have actively approached the market to push the advantages of cloud services.

Cloud Adoption

In Africa, that adoption of cloud services is being led by the public sector. According to research done last year by the Communications Authority (CA) and the Africa National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), 35% of all government institutions have some form of cloud service as compared to 22% of businesses in the private sector. Successful initiatives such as the e-citizen platform, whose purpose is to have public services accessible conveniently from the Internet, has evolved how government services are offered to the citizens.

This has paved the way for private institutions to develop cloud-based solutions whose benefits far outweigh the traditional method of computing. The Cloud Solutions market in Africa is supplier-driven as compared to markets such as South Africa which are demand-driven. A survey conducted by KPMG in 2014 showed that 50% of corporations in the South African private sector have embraced cloud computing and another 30% are on the verge of signing up for a cloud solution. All in all, the continent is slowly but surely embracing the cloud.

Cloud as a Solution

Cloud computing may be the most ideal solution for Africa as it allows us to tackle the uniquely African problems we have in every country in the continent. The poor state of our infrastructure has not allowed us to fully enjoy benefits such as motor vehicles due to poor roads or electronics due to poor power production and distribution systems. These shortcomings will prove to be what make cloud computing a key factor in the rise of Africa.

Multiple submarine fiber cables terminate on many countries around the continent ensuring there is fast and reliable connectivity to the outside world. The fast, continuous growth and improvement of the communication infrastructure across the continent, (as compared to transport/power infrastructure) also ensure that businesses can rely on constant availability of the Internet.

Africa has also leap frogged the personal computing era right into the mobile computing era affording us the convenience of being online anytime, anywhere. From a business perspective, it gives the ability to deploy cloud-based solutions that can scale more economically and reach a wider customer base. Using mobile applications with cloud-based servers allow better business-customer interactions through better product/service performance and instant feedback not bound by physical or geographical location.

Cloud computing also allows small businesses to compete with relatively larger corporations in that the same computing power required to run the business is available on-demand without having to purchase the physical infrastructure needed to deploy the services. /p>

Consumers can now enjoy more reliable products and services with more choice and convenience. Knowledge is power, and information is now readily available at the tap of a screen. Consumers can find solutions to all sorts of problems through the power of cloud computing as the resources are on-demand and readily available.

Cloud as a Solution

There are still legislation and infrastructure hurdles to be crossed before we can fully enjoy the benefits of cloud computing. Some sectors need clarity in terms of the legislation with regards to how sensitive data is stored and transferred across the cloud. Governments and telecommunication companies alike have invested heavily in the improvement of communication infrastructure as this is the backbone on which cloud solutions rely. Cloud service providers will have to do more in creating awareness on the benefits of cloud computing over traditional computing methods.

There is still a lot of work to be done but with cloud computing, Africa can rise by making full use of a technology almost purpose-built for her.

Article by Kenneth Odera, Pre- Sales Engineer at MTN Business.