Backup to the cloud is a start

Trent Odgers, cloud and hosting manager at Veeam Software.
Trent Odgers, cloud and hosting manager at Veeam Software.

While 92% of businesses list business continuity as their number one priority, how many of them were able to ensure business continuity when the COVID-19 pandemic struck?

Trent Odgers, cloud and hosting manager at Veeam Software, says the lockdown accelerated companies’ digitalisation programmes, forcing them to implement cloud migration plans that they may only have intended for 2021 or beyond.

Odgers says, “The benefits of having an effective cloud data management strategy are undeniable. However, the barriers businesses face in trying to achieve a complete cloud solution are manifold, including cost, complexity, data sovereignty and data security. No one of these obstacles stands out and the majority of businesses experience a combination of all of these challenges.

“Africa has several unique challenges, amongst them connectivity. This has improved since the opening of the connectivity provider market, although if connectivity is slow and expensive, businesses aren’t going to adopt the cloud. This has led some companies to pave the way for their cloud journey by putting their backup data in the cloud ahead of their production data.”

ITWeb recently partnered with Veeam to run a cloud data security survey targeting decision- makers across South African public and private sector organisations. The survey set out to examine if and how data management priorities have shifted owing to COVID-19, and what kind of cloud and disaster recovery approaches are most prevalent. It ran on ITWeb during June 2020 and captured input from over 300 respondents.

More than half (57%) of the respondents said they experienced a significant shift in focus regarding their data management priorities owing to COVID-19. However, the majority (67%) had a smooth transition – for them, enabling remote workers was business as usual. For just over a quarter (28%), the transition was still in progress.

About the survey

The Cloud data security survey was conducted by ITWeb, in partnership with Veeam, during June 2020.

It captured input from over 300 respondents from a wide range of public and private sector organisations. Over 70% of them are decision-makers, with 36% being at executive and 35% at mid management level.

Odgers says, “While it’s positive that most businesses report that they switched seamlessly to remote working, the question is: how are they backing up their data? Are they applying the same methodology that they used when they were working from the office?”

While every business should be cloud-ready, a cloud-first strategy should not mean cloud-always or cloud-only. It’s important to understand the difference: cloud-only is a mandate and could prove counter-productive, while cloud-first is a suggested routine and mindset. According to this survey, 57% of local companies have opted for a hybrid approach, while 26% say they have a cloud-first strategy. Only 6% are ‘still thinking about it’.

As for the expected benefits, better SLAs (54%) and cost savings (52%) are the top two reasons for adopting a cloud offering. Better security came in third (37%). Over 50% of the participating companies are likely to step up investment in cloud data security solutions in the next 12 months.

While 30% of participants currently use disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS), and 20% plan to do so within the next 12 months, the primary considerations when designing their DR strategy are these three, in almost equal measure: flexible failover/failback options (62%); guaranteed recoverability (60%); and fast restore functionality (58%).

Odgers advises that businesses should align with a vendor that has a portable data format that can easily be transformed into a public cloud workload or back into an on-premises workload. The vendor should offer flexible and seamless failover options and guarantees recoverability. “It’s pointless to have backup that you cannot recover from.”

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