The public sector has moved beyond a backup-only approach towards embracing true business continuity thereby enabling an Always-On environment. This is according to insights shared at the Veeam V-Club event held in Pretoria recently.
Gregg Petersen, regional director for the Middle East and Africa and the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation at Veeam, says the adoption of bimodal IT has resulted in a changing business environment for the public sector.
“An agile environment is great, but what happens when the system crashes? Increasingly, government departments need to ask themselves what the key things are that need to change from a business continuity perspective to get operations up and running in the event of crises. The 2016 Veeam Availability Report found that 84 percent of CIOs surveyed state that there is a gap between the level of availability backup solutions and what end users demand,” he says.
According to Carl Kruger, lead for the IT governance centre of excellence at Deloitte and keynote speaker at the event, the public sector is vital to ensure the lights are kept on, there is a steady water supply, and many other critical aspects to the running of a country.
“Part of this is to make sure that business continuity and the governance associated to it are aligned. These two components cannot be separated. Governance does enable business continuity but the public sector needs to look at it from a strategic perspective on how it will continually improve processes,” says Kruger.
Kruger believes that business continuity and governance should never be a gamble when it comes to selecting solutions. However, the technology that is implemented should support both components.
“Much focus should be placed on delivering business value. The IT strategy of a public sector institution should ensure all business continuity management stakeholder requirements are addressed. This needs to be underpinned by the correct solutions. At its core, there needs to be a broader cyber security strategy to ensure effective defensive measures are implemented.”
Marco Vieira, country manager for storage for Hewlett Packard Enterprise, a long-standing Veeam partner, adds that a focus on delivering business value will result in driving deeper application integration.
“The technology exists to enable an Always-On environment in the public sector. It is now a matter of making use of it. Government departments, working with their partners in the private sector, need to identify their current availability needs and utilise the solutions that are available. But this cannot happen without strategic thought,” says Vieira.
Petersen agrees. “Reliable technology and an integrated strategy have to be linked. All of this needs to be done to ensure tighter service level agreements with the expectation that the availability of virtual machines in a public sector environment are up and running within 15 minutes.”
He believes that the pressure is on to meet tighter backup windows and creating more responsive and cost-efficient archives for improved storage management.
“The pressure is on for the public sector to ensure higher levels of uptime and availability. Fortunately, the technology is available to enable them to do so. And finding the right partner is only a matter of seeing which organisations are the best equipped to embrace the Always-On way of business,” he concludes.