Frequent power outages can cause damage to hardware, due to power surges when power is restored as well as the strain of systems shutting down and restarting. According to Hemant Harie, MD at Gabsten Technologies, data storage is reliant on hardware – so your data may well be at risk.
As load-shedding takes hold, some businesses may find they cannot access their systems or data as they do not have the physical capacity to retain an alternative power source, like a generator, uninterrupted power supply or even a solar solution. When a business’s system goes ‘down’, it cannot transact or operate in any capacity, and can go ‘dark’ for up to several hours and possible even days, depending on the severity of the outage. “In such instances, businesses suffer severe financial losses: not transacting means no business which translates to lost revenue,” says Harie. “The business also spends money on resources and staff who are effectively rendered unproductive for the duration of the outage.”
As data is a business’s most important asset, loss of data can be detrimental. “Often, a loss of power can cause data to corrupt, rendering it irrecoverable, especially when that data is in the process of being backed up,” Harie explains. “Data that already resides on storage devices can be rendered inaccessible, not just during a power outage but after the fact, too.”
However, Harie assures companies that it is simple to protect data.
“Any business should have a replica of its data off site, or in a separate location from its primary data storage facility. This allows the company to have a secondary backup in the event of a data loss, whether through power outage or any other disaster,” he says. “It’s also important that the business backs its data up on an ongoing basis. Traditional working hours are a thing of the past, and technology has enabled mobility. Employees need to be able to access systems and data from anywhere and at any time.”
A nightly backup may suffice for businesses that stick to traditional in-office hours. However, a mobile workforce needs access to up-to-date data at any given time. Cloud data storage was made for a mobile world, and can be configured to backup data as it is created.
Finally, the business should ensure its Business Continuity (BC) and Disaster Recovery (DR) plans cater to any event and should regularly test these plans to ensure that data is recoverable and business can resume with minimal interruption.
“Where possible, businesses should invest in alternative power solutions. However, where this is not possible, businesses should enable their workforce to work, and access data, from alternative locations, creating an ‘always on’ environment,” advises Harie.
Data has become a specialist skill in and of itself. To ensure the best possible data protection and availability is in place, businesses should engage with data specialist consultants who understand their data’s value and how best to manage and protect it. Data specialists will be able to help the organisation to evaluate its data so that only relevant data is backed up and protected, saving the business in storage and recovery costs, and helping to centralise data in such a way that the right data is accessed by the right people as required.
“Organisations need to have peace of mind that their data is accessible, protected and available at all time, so that they can focus on maintaining operations and business functionality when power fails,” Harie concludes.