When the lights go out, businesses worry about productivity, downtime, and the risk of damage to their equipment. What they consider less often is what might happen to their data. Yet data is one of the most vulnerable business assets during a power failure.
Power failures and loadshedding can destroy business data. Fortunately, companies can significantly reduce the data risks associated with power outages, says Mike Broderick, Sithabile Technology Services’ GM for regions.
“Eskom regularly announces that anything from stage 2 to stage 6 loadshedding will be implemented, usually until further notice. This has been the case for several years and it will likely continue for the next few years. IT and business leaders must consider the potential risks of data loss due to power outages. They must make disaster recovery plans to mitigate the risk of prolonged outages, especially in the event of a site failure.”
Power outages can affect data in several ways: equipment can be damaged, on-site backups can fail, or live data can become unavailable, bringing business to a standstill. Losing your data is devastating, but it’s an avoidable risk with disaster recovery. Even small and medium-sized businesses can manage these risks with disaster recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS).
DRaaS is cost-effective and easy to use, replicating encrypted data over the Internet or dedicated links. Customers only pay for the capacity, compute and storage they use, which can be as low as one-fifth after deduplication and compression.
They don’t need a dedicated storage device, instead using a secure storage virtual machine on a syndicated enterprise-grade storage system. And it’s relatively quick to get back up and running, especially if the service uses Tier 4 data centres with 99,999% availability.
“Any organisation can have an enterprise-grade disaster recovery plan if they use DRaaS,” says Broderick. “It’s not only for power failures. Equipment failure, infrastructure failure and cybercrime attacks such as ransomware also affect data and data access. But with an internet connection, a tested DR process and the support of a reputable DR partner, nobody has to have a data recovery headache again.”
The impact of power on data
Power failures frequently hurt data. According to the Uptime Institute’s 2022 Outage Analysis, 20% of organisations surveyed experienced a serious data outage in the last three years, resulting in financial loss, compliance violations and even deaths. More than half of power outages resulted in damages exceeding $100 000; power-related outages accounted for 43% of outages resulting in downtime and financial losses.
The right data recovery service can mitigate and even prevent the impact of losing data, “A client of ours recently lost power to a number of racks due to a transformer failure. Fortunately, the client had a solution which initiated an automated failover to the disaster recovery site, preventing an outage with zero data loss.”
Most large enterprises own or rent space in a well-protected data centre. They would typically have an uninterruptible power system. But many companies don’t have the resources to establish such a site.
“Small and medium size companies might have a computer room or datacentre, yet no dedicated disaster recovery facility of their own,” says Broderick. “Typically, these entities rely on their uninterrupted power supplies to see them through a power outage. Should they run out of battery power, they must shut down. If they do not shut down timeously there will be some data loss. In some events, it could take days or even weeks to be back online.”