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Business Continuity Redefined

Charles Clarke, Technical Director for Veeam Asia Pacific | May 12, 2014
Now is the time for Asian organisations to rethink business continuity, and reverse the trend of increasing complexity and costs in their data protection strategy.

PriceWaterhouseCooper listed Singapore as the leading global business hub in Asia Pacific in its recent study as the best cities for doing business. Ranked 9th globally, the country harbours developed infrastructure, economic clout, technology readiness, open business policies and respected intellectual property rights.

With a reputation to live up to, Singapore as a thriving hub for business activities have to be 'always-on' and cannot afford to miss a beat or take a breath. The Always-On business demands zero downtime ensuring services are available to consumers and end-users all day, every day. The always-on business also needs these services to be delivered in a timely, high-performing fashion.

Despite advancements in infrastructure robustness, many businesses still face database, hardware and software downtime. Downtime can vary from a few hours to shutting down the business for days.

As a result, businesses suffer a grave loss in revenue and double the hard work in getting back on track. Downtime for businesses no doubt has dramatic ramifications, and therefore needs to be understood and if possible, prevented.

Veeam's independent Virtualisation Data Protection Report (survey of 500 CIOs) revealed that each hour of downtime costs an enterprise $324,793. Which means that downtime is, on average, costing organisations at least $1.6 million per incident in lost productivity and lost revenue. Technologies find that a lot of IT downtime is still plaguing end users; worse yet, if businesses do not have a disaster recovery plan in place.

As more businesses expand their reliance on IT, it's surprising to see so much tolerance for IT downtime, especially in an era of virtualisation that can minimise IT downtime, if not make it unnecessary altogether.

The cost of downtime is often calculated as 'Cost of downtime = Outage hours * (Lost productivity + Lost revenue)'. Though simplistic, this formula is effective as it does capture the essence of downtime. However, it may not be entirely representative as it does miss things like ancillary costs. For example, a lack of staff morale and more importantly, the lack of confidence in the marketplace.

The true effects of downtime might often be underestimated, such as in the case of M1, a telecommunications provider in Singapore. The company suffered three days of downtime in January 2013, and all it took was a similar amount of time for the news to explode on social media channels such as blogs and Facebook.

The ease of information sharing soon led to widespread awareness, and ultimately culminated in a reduced confidence in the brand.  The question is how would this event affect the decision-making processes of potential M1 customers or those who are renewing their contracts in the coming weeks, months and years - after all, the Internet never forgets.


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