African entrepreneurs need to become Always-On

Claude Schuck, regional manager for Africa at Veeam.

With South Africa’s unemployment rate rising to 26.7 percent in the first quarter of this year, there is increased strain on the market to find a way to address this. Now, more than ever, there needs to be a drive for entrepreneurship to help grow the economy of the country.

The pressure is on for entrepreneurs who cannot afford even the smallest amount of downtime. Any interruption to normal service can result in a loss, especially for those companies whose business relies on continuous operation and 24.7.365 customer service.

Embracing availability
The implications of this extend beyond monetary value and encompass a significant reputational risk. According to the 2016 Veeam Availability Report, 73 percent of local IT managers and decision-makers felt that application downtime or data loss will negatively impact customer confidence and brand integrity. Restoring business reputation requires much more time and effort than the restoration of a working infrastructure, which is why it is vital to protect yourself in advance. However, until recently, most business have neglected this mindset, despite many high-profile incidences of data loss.

In order for businesses of all sizes to protect themselves from unscheduled downtime, they must embrace the ‘Always-On’ mantra. The Veeam Availability Report found that the average cost of downtime globally for mission-critical applications is almost $80 000 per hour. For non-mission-critical applications, this decreased to just under $60 000 per hour. It also revealed that 84 percent of respondents even acknowledge that their business suffers from an ‘Availability Gap’ – otherwise known as the gulf between what IT can deliver and what users demand.

Leveraging technology
An Always-On environment requires modern data centres that are able to scale according to organisational needs. A main driver for organisations to modernise their data centre is to lower operational IT costs. These savings must be balanced by the value delivered by a solution.

Alongside being always-on, it is important for businesses to ensure the safety of its storage and have the ability to recover data in a critical situation. Here the main role is played by the availability solution, which is charged with the task of ensuring the continuity of business processes and the ability to restore the infrastructure from anywhere, with no load on the environment.

There is an increased need for a new generation of solutions for backup and recovery systems, especially if such hardware can provide snapshots every 15 minutes and create backups for restoring either an entire system or a small section.

Backup should always follow the “3-2-1” rule – three copies of your data, stored on two different media types, with one copy always being off-site. This method gives the user access to the files permanently and from anywhere in the world, despite any potential failures.

Taking availability mainstream
In the past, these availability technologies were not available to most entrepreneurs and managers due to high cost and a limited number of business applications. Fortunately, today there are solutions for small and medium enterprises that provide the necessary level of protection, allowing data backup to be carried out in a short space of time.

Thanks to new, high-quality solutions making it both affordable and easier than ever before to prevent the loss of data, it is no longer the case that businesses have to choose between optimising their budget or safeguarding their data. The availability of information around the clock is becoming a reality for millions of entrepreneurs around the world, paving the way for the era of the Always-On business.

By Claude Schuck, regional manager for Africa at Veeam