Dealing with downtime

Gregg Petersen, regional director, Middle East and SAARC at Veeam Software explains why the IT availability gap is costing businesses around $2m each year.

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Dealing with downtime
By  Gregg Petersen Published  February 18, 2015

We as individuals wouldn’t accept limitations when it comes to accessing our bank accounts, email or even social media platforms. Yet, in the business world, there has been an IT availability gap for quite some time. Many in the IT industry have argued that the concept of an always-on data access is not feasible and that we must simply accept downtime. However, others have come forward to challenge such ideas and insist that 24 x 7 availability is not only possible, but necessary on so many levels. Organisations can’t afford to lose millions of dollars from IT failures, nor can they continue to gamble with data availability.

A recent survey released by Veeam Software uncovered a number of important findings and challenges being faced by CIOs globally. It found that 82% of CIOs said they cannot meet their business’ needs. In addition, more than 90% of CIOs are under pressure to both recover data faster, reducing the financial impact of unplanned downtime, and also back up data more often, reducing the risk of data loss.

These executives are finding it increasingly difficult to meet the demands of customers, business partners and employees alike. Around 56% said they are under pressure to access applications across time zone and offer mobile access. Meanwhile, employees are working a lot more outside of regular hours, generating a need for seamless access at any given time.

When a firm experiences an episode of IT interruption, it not only leads to frustration and unproductivity. Such episodes also cost companies a staggering amount of money and time. The Veeam survey estimates that application failure costs enterprises more than $2m a year in lost revenue, productivity, opportunities and data irretrievably lost through backups failing to recover.

According to the research, an additional $4.4m and $7.9m of lost application data could also pose a major risk in this equation.

There’s definitely a misconception out there in the business world that when all fails, IT departments will be able to back up any information lost. This is not the slightest bit realistic as statistics show that one in six backup recoveries fails, meaning that with 13 incidents of application downtime per year, data will be permanently lost at least twice.

Whether it be cybercrime, natural disasters or other factor disrupting IT networks, it’s clear that a lack of protection in any business can lead to severe consequences. Standards need to be raised in order to keep networking up and running and secure. Veeam has pioneered a new solution category with the introduction of the company’s Veeam Availability Suite in 2014, which will hopefully encourage others within the industry to develop new solutions that can finally give businesses some assurance.

In order to make “always-On-business” a reality across the entire industry, a number of things must happen first. Such solutions when developed must be designed to anticipate the needs of a fast-moving business, while also maintain all necessary security controls and recovery capabilities. Any viable solution would need to provide high-speed, guaranteed recovery of every file, application or virtual server when needed. It means leveraging backup data and environments to test the deployment of new applications, mitigating the risk of failure.

The solution needs to start with a re-evaluation process within IT departments. CIOs need to first assess their businesses most important needs and come up with an action plan to reach such targets. As of now, the recovery time objective (RTO) remains a real challenge, as well as the frequency of data being backed up.

The good news is that there is some light at the end of the tunnel as there’s evidence to now suggest that a growing number of CIOs clearly recognise these gaps as major problems that need a permanent fix. Around 78% of CIOs said they are planning to change their data protection product in the next two years in order to get the availability that they need. If they deliver on their promises, we can expect the availability gap to start becoming a thing of the past.

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