Courtesy of ITWEB

Three key trends have emerged to influence business-critical connectivity and organisations now need to focus on partnerships and mitigating risk to navigate new challenges.

This is according to Wayne D’sa, CEO of CipherWave Business Solutions, who notes that changes such as increased power instability and South Africa’s grey listing are putting local businesses under further pressure and uncertainty.

“We’ve been in a state of flux for some time and we’re living in a fast-paced environment where things are changing all the time,” he says. “South Africans are phenomenally resilient, but we are taking some hard knocks now. Businesses need to look at the entire framework to make decisions that mitigate their risk and support continuity.”

Connectivity redundancy

D’sa says one major trend is the impact of load-shedding on connectivity. “The operational costs around connectivity have increased as a result of load-shedding, with businesses having to put additional redundancies in place,” he says. “Growing numbers of customers are engaging with us to install secondary, failover links with alternative service providers to ensure that they remain connected, even if their primary service provider is impacted by load-shedding.”

He notes: “Connectivity isn’t just connectivity – it’s powering companies’ voice traffic and vital cloud services. Depending on how critical the services are, they are absorbing additional costs and opting for like-for-like failover. However, the connectivity landscape is a minefield and customers need us to play an advisory role to help them find failover that takes into consideration geography, service provider infrastructure and inter-dependencies.”

Cyber risk Stage 8

Another key trend is the increase in cyber security risk. D’sa likens the level of risk to a ‘Stage 8’ crisis for cyber security.

“We are seeing the frequency and impact of breaches becoming as unpredictable as load-shedding. The volume and severity of breaches has shone a spotlight on company disaster planning and backups, and particularly how they mitigate risk in terms of operational processes,” he says.

D’sa says while cyber security is a top priority in every organisation, few have focused enough attention on their backup and disaster recovery planning.

He explains: “Most organisations have the notion that if they have backups off-site, they are safe. But even with off-site backups, there’s no guarantee they can get their businesses up and running in days or even weeks. For example, organisations with terabytes of backups in an offshore data centre would have to bring that data back in-country and find suitable infrastructure to store it on. They may need to buy new equipment or wipe their systems and restore the backups there. But this requires money, resources and a great deal of time.

“Companies need to see backups and DR as more than an insurance policy – they need to consider operational efficiency, looking at where the backups are, how long it would take to get the data and applications back and running, and who they are partnering with to store and restore those backups. They also need to consider how often they do DR testing and scenario planning,” he says.

All options on the table in a constrained economy

The third main trend D’sa sees impacting business is the challenging economic landscape, which is driving organisations to reconsider their investments and focus heavily on value.

“In the last quarter, there’s been a lot of movement and nervousness in the tech industry globally. Closer to home, we are facing a challenging time, with load-shedding pushing the price of everything up. As a trend, we see customers becoming more price-conscious and reviewing all of their costs, making very conscious decisions around the technology they use. Many are calling in independent experts such as us to advise them on proposals and tenders and help them understand the cost implications. Value extraction is becoming the single most important factor in their decisions, so they are evaluating all options. Whether it’s a move back to on-premises data and applications, a migration to another service provider for more service efficiency, or a change in hybrid cloud environments, all options are on the table.”

Prioritise partnerships

“Through the most difficult times, it’s going to be our partnerships that help us. At CipherWave, we look to partner with every customer to see how we can work with them to go through this collectively challenging time. What’s important now is who you partner with,” D’sa says.

By Tracy Burrows
Courtesy of ITWEB