Courtesy of ITWEB

Load-shedding and ongoing infrastructure theft and vandalism is wreaking havoc with connectivity and continuity for many South African businesses. Keeping them connected demands agility, proactive planning and support, says Brenton Truter, Chief Operations Officer at CipherWave Business Solutions.

Truter says the prospect of load-shedding being stepped up is putting additional pressure on organisations already grappling with power and network outages caused by unstable power supply and crime. Power and telecoms infrastructure theft and vandalism has reached disastrous levels, costing the country billions of rands a year. Many of the outages that occur as a result are unavoidable; however, service providers need to be agile to get customers connected again when disaster strikes, Truter says.

“In recent months, for example, we had challenges in the Gauteng south region, when a major fibre network was vandalised. As a tier one ISP, cloud, connectivity and solutions provider, CipherWave had to move quickly and pivot to support its customers,” he says.

“The whole CipherWave team jumped in to assist – from our technical teams through to sales and finance. We worked together to assess which customers were most severely impacted and to get them connected. We had to be really flexible, working with partners and customers to remediate as soon as possible. Because of the extent of the outage, we even had salespeople driving to customer sites to deploy preconfigured mobile LTE units, guided by our tech teams. We put alternative solutions such as wireless and LTE roaming units in place at key nodes wherever possible and provided customers with regular updates and transparent feedback on rehabilitation plans and timelines.”

Truter notes that CipherWave’s commitment to service and partnership makes it stand out in a competitive market. “We listen to our clients and unpack exactly what they are requesting and what they need: whether it’s a layer two service, or a full managed service across cloud, voice, connectivity and security services.” He says the integrated service offerings give customers the peace of mind of working with one trusted partner, always on call to support the business.

Says Truter: “In our strategy and values, we place a high focus on customer centricity. This starts with us being an employer of choice, with skilled, empowered and committed employees integral to supporting the customer journey. We partner with all the major FNOs and network providers for an extensive, redundant network, as well as the hyperscalers and hosting suppliers to offer hosting capability across South Africa and the rest of the world. On top of that, we have 24/7 NOC (network operations centre) capabilities and exceptional enterprise grade monitoring tools.”

He notes the monitoring tools allow NOC teams to work proactively: “We immediately identify if there are any events, with a snapshot to identify the provider or area and implement incident management processes. At the same time, we notify clients impacted by an outage, with transparency around remediation and restoration.” This proactive approach reduces customer frustration, CipherWave says.

CipherWave now focuses on building its ability to respond fast and work proactively, amid an increasingly uncertain environment. Truter says: “We note that agility has become more important for our clients too. In the past, most had a single WAN and possibly one failover solution. Now, we’re seeing demand for more redundancy, particularly in the health sector and those running a 24/7 shop.”

CipherWave has also focused on power security to mitigate the impacts of increased load-shedding.

Truter says: “We have tried to be as prepared as possible for any stage of load-shedding, to ensure continuity and stability for our customers. We have engaged with partners at data centres specifically, updated our processes and procedures and prepared new mitigation plans. We have formalised and tested a set of operating procedures in place at our main CipherWave DataCentre (in partnership with OADC) in Isando, as well as at our DR data centre. We have also trained staff accordingly, put in place all possible preventative measures and spoken to our service providers to ensure their alternative power supplies are fully operational with redundancy built in across generators, batteries, fuel supplies and spares availability.

“Cipherwave strives to exceed expectations, providing the best levels of service and helping customers address continuity risks such as infrastructure damage and load-shedding,” Truter says.

Courtesy of ITWEB