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The digitalisation of business means that data has become a company’s most important asset. To remain competitive, businesses must always have access to their data and applications, says Sasha Malic, Head: Availability Services at ContinuitySA.

“Digitalisation is allowing much of business to become virtual, in turn driving a move into the cloud,” he says.

“Cloud is enabling the always-on, always-available business environment, and it is also revolutionising the measures companies can take to build resilience into their DNA, and to ensure business continuity. Backing up data in such a way that it is never lost is critical, and a new generation of innovative technology solutions is emerging that are facilitating this. As a business continuity and resilience specialist, we are partnering with Veeam and Exagrid to build resilience into the way data is moved, processed and stored in the cloud.”

One of the most important things about the emerging cloud environment is that it is not homogenous, says Trent Odgers, Enterprise Account Manager at Veeam South Africa. Companies need to be able to operate across public and private clouds, as well as their on-premise legacy infrastructure and, of course, endpoint devices. All of this raises a host of technical and management challenges.

“To protect data in this environment, we follow the 3-2-1-0 rule: make sure that there are always a minimum of three copies of data on two media, with at least one backup offsite—with zero backup errors ensured through verifying recoverability,” Mr Odgers says.

“To make that happen automatically and seamlessly, we developed the Veeam Availability Platform, which is available as a series of bundled suites that can, if desired, be purchased separately. In the hands of a partner like ContinuitySA, Veeam Availability Platform can be used effectively to provide backup and replication across multiple clouds for multiple clients, with centralised backup management—all in the quest for 24/7 data availability, whatever happens.”

If backup and replication in the cloud is one vital ingredient of data resilience, the other is data storage, says Mr Malic. Data volumes are growing exponentially, and thus how to back data up, while minimising storage costs and ensuring rapid access in the event of a disaster, has become a specialised field.

“Our partner in this area is Exagrid, which has developed an innovative disk architecture designed especially for backup—that means efficient, fast backups that can be recovered equally quickly,” he explains.

“Deduplication is part of the solution, but so is an architecture that is fast to ingest and recover data, and can scale intelligently to cope with huge volumes of data. Exagrid is designed in such a way that its performance grows as data volumes grow. In addition, it works in heterogeneous environments, and it integrates with Veeam to move data faster and better.”