By offering Infrastructure as a Service in the business continuity area, the new division will offer clients not only an improved service but the ability to leverage disaster recovery budgets more effectively within the overall IT budget.
“Developments in the IT industry as a whole, such as virtualisation and the greater availability of bandwidth, are also changing the face of business continuity,” says Justin Lord, newly appointed general manager of ContinuitySA’s Hosting Services division. “Our ability to offer Infrastructure as a Service gives our existing clients using syndicated servers the opportunity to move to a more modern offering that reduces recovery time from days to hours. Clients with their own dedicated kit on our premises would also experience a reduction in the time to recovery—and would potentially be able to move some of that hardware back into their day-to-day IT environments, thus changing their cost models substantially.”
Educated in South Africa, Lord has been active in the business continuity industry for the past 12 years in the United Kingdom, specialising in high availability and managed availability solutions. He thus brings a wealth of international experience to help set up the new division. He says that the move to Infrastructure as a Service is changing business models across a variety of industries, and business continuity is no exception.
“Greater budget flexibility is one such change. Disaster recovery is traditionally a separate budget item and one that, especially in today’s tough times, is eyed with disfavour by CFOs. Like insurance, one only ever sees a benefit from it in the event of a catastrophe,” argues Lord. “However, by moving some or all of the disaster recovery into a virtual environment, companies can use some of that capacity for special projects or just daily IT processing. For example, say your R&D department needs two extra servers for a project—that processing power could be made available by using virtual machines in the disaster recovery environment, obviously on the understanding that in the event of a disaster the space would no longer be available.”
In other words, companies gain the ability to move some of the disaster recovery budget back into the general IT budget—and to see a return on that investment. “This ability is very welcome at a time when budgets are reviewed frequently,” Lord notes. “However, decisions about disaster recovery strategy are complex and clients should take advantage of our consulting capabilities to work out what is best for their business.”
Fully managed disaster recovery services form part of the new division’s wider offering. “Continuity as a Service (CaaS) is available now, especially as we have made the investment in Triple4, but the cost of connectivity is still high and needs due consideration by the board,” says Lord. “That will change as connectivity costs drop, as they will do, but, in the meantime, companies should use our consulting services to establish the right strategy.”