Tap cloud tech to avoid perils of down times

 In Blog

Data backup and replication are increasingly becoming an integral part of businesses in today’s digitally savvy world. This is because data is increasingly becoming the most valuable resource.

It is easy to underplay the importance of data until you have lost all your data and your critical services are not available to your customers.

This can create a chaotic work environment and in some cases even reduce the value of a company’s shares in the stock market.

This has resulted in companies investing millions of shillings in data backup for data protection and replication to ensure higher uptimes and minimise downtimes.

The world of cloud services is bringing about significant change in the world of ICT, not just in Kenya but also globally. It is safe to say that Kenya is still in the early adopter stage or the educational stage where there are many businesses who need to understand the benefits of moving to cloud-based solutions.

It is clear that there is a knowledge gap aabout applications and how they affect business operations. Large-scale companies have the advantage of investing heavy on data replication and backup whereas small companies cannot afford to spend the same amoon securing their data.

A fully replicated site in a secondary location can be described as one that runs in an active mode. This means if the primary location fails, users are automatically working with the secondary site which runs an exact copy of the primary site.

Most companies should aim to achieve zero downtime for critical applications and therefore deploying a replicated solution can help companies to achieve that goal.

That could be caused by something as simple as a power failure. Without replication, in a worst-case scenario, it could take an organisation seven days or even longer to reinstall the application software, reload the data and bring all services back up and running and if the recovery time of seven days is acceptable, then this application would not be termed mission critical.

Mission critical applications should be up and running within five minutes and with replication in place, those applications should never experience any downtime.

It’s a very delicate choice to decide how mission critical an application is but the process of identifying how much downtime is acceptable is what helps to determine whether replication of the service needs to be in place.

There is one very important point to note on replication of data and that is concerning backing up data. There is a common misconception that by replicating data, the user has two copies of data and hence the data is safe.

Most services have replication functionality such that the secondary site reflects the primary site.

If a user deletes data at the primary site, data is automatically deleted from the secondary site. Data replication alone cannot guarantee the integrity of data.

Data backup ensures that historical data such as documents, emails, attachments or files that were digitally created can be accessible when required. Data backup keeps this data safe as well as providing easy access to information when needed.

This is particularly important for critical sectors such as banking, and insurance that have legal contracts revolving around paying or receiving money.

Today’s offsite backup solutions provide very advanced search capabilities to allow users access the information quickly whilst ensuring that the paper trail of critical processes such as operational compliance exists.

This historical data can be admitted into a court of law as a true record of transactions. Critically today, with the imminent enforcement date in the European Union of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on 25 May 2018, companies in Kenya doing business with EU companies must be compliant and therefore having data backup that complies with GDPR regulations is critical.

Work-related emails play a key role in communication given that over 60 per cent of all attachments reside within emails.

Backing up of emails is an integral part of an overall data backup plan. It is estimated that emails constitute 80 per cent of backup data. This is because we are able to collaborate, edit documents, and attach files in a single email.

A single email can be loaded with a lot of valuable information. But once this critical information is lost, it is very hard to retrieve related information that was documented.

Historical data backup solutions included backing up data on tapes and servers. Tapes were bulky and needed to be replaced on a regular basis.

Key to that outdated solution is that it had to be constantly and regularly restored to ensure its integrity. In some cases, backup tapes were taken offsite which created another problem by opening up the data to possible theft during transit.

Cloud technology has not only made efficient backup possible by ensuring that all key requirements are met but has reduced the number of interventions required to ensure data is available at all times. It has provided a hassle-free solution, which offers a one-stop solution to customers.

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