[Column] Kabelo Makwane: Disaster recovery through cloud computing

During the last year alone, we have seen a number of organisations become the latest victims of targeted cyber-attacks and large-scale data breaches, ultimately bringing business to their knees.

Even with the latest and top of the market cyber security defences in place, there is no guarantee that your business is safe. And if the statistics are anything to go by, Check Point Research saw a 50% increase in the daily average of ransomware attacks, compared to the first half of 2020. The question is not ‘if’ your business is next, but ‘when’.

Information is the lifeblood of any organisation and for optimum safety should be secured in the cloud enabling it to be shared and acted upon at a moment’s notice. However, the loss of business data can result in irreversible damage to your business, including the loss of productivity, revenue, reputation, and impact on clients.

For retailers, however, disaster planning comes with additional urgency, requiring businesses to safeguard not only their employees, but customers too at a time when online shopping is expected to peak.

Disaster recovery

Essentially, a disaster recovery plan enables an organisation to futureproof its IT infrastructure against the odds. For retailers implementing the right technology and having a disaster recovery plan in place will minimise the impact of the worst-case scenario allowing your business to respond instantly to the issue mitigating potential negative brand perception.

Security breaches can be the result of intentional actions or accidental ones. While hackers and cyber criminals are motivated by various factors, typically motivations behind a security breach include criminals wanting to gain access to secure information (resulting in a data breach), utilising computing resources for their own purposes (common in crypto-jacking attacks) or crashing the network itself for personal or political reasons.

Cyber security considerations for business continuity are still not a priority agenda across the corporate South African landscape, particularly for smaller businesses trying to manage the crippling effect of Covid-19. But as the threat level escalates, those organisations without security in place need to reconsider their priorities. There are steps that can be taken to prepare and avoid becoming a target. Your business is critical to you, so why would you not secure it to the best of your ability?

With that said, while all businesses should have business continuity plans in place to avoid risks and minimise disaster, retailers operate in a particularly competitive environment and with most consumers going online to avoid in store contact, there is a higher risk. The cloud is an extremely effective place to store all business data in case of disasters and ensure your business remains unaffected in the worst-case scenario.

Cloud hosting with Vodacom Business

A Future-Ready business has information on-demand, at its fingertips and keeps it secure and protected from virtual and physical threats. Collaboration is easier, decisions are faster, and productivity is increased.

Cloud computing is the practice of using a network of remote servers hosted on the Internet to store, manage, and process data. A cloud service is characterised by scalability, managed computer power, storage, platforms and services that are delivered on-demand; allowing customers to provision computing capabilities such as server time and network storage. Cloud computing can be implemented as a private cloud, community cloud, public cloud or hybrid cloud.

Working with a myriad of clients from large scale businesses to SMEs, Vodacom Business adopts a practical approach to cloud computing, understanding that there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution as every business is different. This process can be daunting but will no doubt transform and protect your business.

The risk from IT security breaches is a growing threat with criminals interested in gaining malicious access to your applications and data. At the same time, the ever-increasing number of devices and networks which need protection is growing rapidly and exponentially.

Technology will take your business to the next level and prepare it for the worst-case scenario. As we bid goodbye to a hard year, let the cyber security lessons learned in 2020, future-proof your business in 2021.

Kabelo Makwane is the Managing Executive for Cloud, Hosting & Security at Vodacom Business