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Relationships: the key to effective data backup and business continuity solutions

Johannesburg, 06 Sep 2016

Data backups are vital in any business, no matter the industry. Yet this essential business practice still haunts management and employees alike - who are often left racked with uncertainty and doubt. While the backup environment is overwrought with leading technology - whether onsite, or offsite - excellent technology cannot be implemented effectively by lacklustre specialists (and without a real relationship, continuity is compromised).

The reality is that data is as valuable an asset as any other - and unsuccessful backups, or the human error involved in constant tape changes, puts that asset at risk. Backups shouldn't be dependent on constant user intervention; they should be automated, simple and, once implemented, managed by a specialist (not a call centre).

When NMG Benefits' management realised their business growth had outgrown the legacy backup system utilised, they turned to local IT, security, data backup, storage and connectivity specialists; Infoprotect. "We had a legacy environment that didn't meet the needs of our expanding business requirements," confirms Kavesh Naidoo, IT Manager at NMG Benefits. "Infoprotect impressed us, and stood out because they studied our business at a granular level - and only then offered a tailored solution to address our specific needs. They looked at our business pain point from our perspective."

According to InfoProtect's Technical Director, Hans van Vreden, NMG's legacy backup processes added to the business risk. "The company, by its very nature, requires the secure storage and backup of a large amount of data. Traditional backups, sending data to tape, manually tracking the tapes, and then taking the copied data offsite worked - for a while; but as the company grew, the solution became redundant, technical errors posed constant threats, and the implementation of a new, effective, reliable solution became a necessity."

After careful consideration, Van Vreden and his team proposed a complete revamp of the backup environment, upgrading its foundation, and giving NMG access to a data centre and backup server, while ensuring deduplication. "From here the client can view all of its sites (situated across Africa), and each site has its own backup server for local backups. The entire process is automated, from disc to disc." The solution also offers a good retention policy, ensuring that data can be kept local for longer, for ease of access. "We now have visibility into the entire backup structure from one centralised console - and at client's request, we double up with a tape backup too, archived at our data centre." In an ever-changing business environment, adjustability, scalability and accessibility are key.

"The implemented solution has proven itself to be nimble, while still catering to our needs, and remaining scalable. In the SME space, we need to be responsive, and ensuring our customer data's safety is crucial," states Naidoo.

With seamless implementation - over a period of only three months countrywide - NMG's pain was completely resolved. "All risks and possible failures were considered and planned for and they focused heavily on ensuring a direct, responsive and proactive relationship," states Naidoo. "It's good to know that you have someone in your corner looking after your interests- this is a quality very rarely found in a service provider/customer relationship - especially in the IT world, which is usually ruled by call centres. The InfoProtect team's interpersonal approach is unparalleled."

Utilising Veritas Backup Exec, combined with fibre connectivity and infrastructure at our Midrand data centre and a personalised approach, Infoprotect resolved NMG's backup woes, ensuring local retention and data security. It's ongoing relationship with the customer ensures that any challenges that do arise are swiftly dealt with. "Our approach is to understand what the pain points are, and what the end goal is, and then implement solutions that add real value."

"Many providers come in with a sales pitch, but don't execute their solutions as well as they sell them. With the InfoProtect team's vast knowledge on backup, and their focus on building real, personal relationships, what began as a backup solution naturally progressed into an ongoing backup and disaster recovery, and security services contract," concludes Naidoo. "It makes sense to work with a company that provides real value. They just get things done, and that's what we want."