ContinuitySA is Africa’s leading provider of business continuity management (BCM) services to public and private organisations. Its fully managed services include ICT resilience, enterprise risk management, work area recovery, and BCM advisory — all designed to enhance business resilience in an age of escalating threats. By helping clients understand their risk profile, and then develop an appropriate risk-mitigation strategy, ContinuitySA provides peace of mind for all its stakeholders.
Need to deliver dependable disaster recovery and business continuity solutions as a fully managed service with predictable recoverability for customers across industry sectors.
Even though ContinuitySA has historically focused on delivering BCM solutions to those in financial services, it has been receiving interest from companies across industry sectors. Most of its client base consists of large and listed organisations, government departments, and the in-country operations of multinational organisations.
The company operates the continent’s biggest network of recovery centres, with more than 20 000m² of space in Gauteng, the Western Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal, as well as in Botswana, Mozambique, Kenya and Mauritius.
“Our clients are looking for dependable disaster recovery and business continuity solutions that are provided in a fully managed service with predictable recoverability. This is to protect them from operational and security threats in an evolving landscape, while managing costs and ensuring their IT staff can focus on profit-generating activities. For example, our customers are increasingly concerned about ransomware and its potential impact on their businesses. There is also a strong drive to ensure client data is better protected and aligned to compliance requirements,” says Bradley Janse van Rensburg, CTO of ContinuitySA.
To fulfil this need, ContinuitySA must be able to deliver solutions based on strong business continuity principles. The technology that this is based on must also have extensive applicability that range from data availability, replication, and recovery, to testing, reporting, and providing alternative workplaces, ultimately allowing it to intelligently manage data for its users.
“For our clients, hyper-availability means that their critical data and systems are accessible when required to conduct their business, and that unexpected interruptions are responded to fast enough to ensure successful recovery before the business is negatively impacted.”
As such, most of its customers have stringent Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and availability requirements in place. Downtime on critical systems during essential times could result in significant financial and reputational damage if recovery does not happen quickly enough.
“In this fast-paced environment, our major pain points with other solutions have been their slow rate of development to new technologies and use cases. This resulted in our clients unable to make use of all the latest ICT innovations as the legacy provider was not keeping pace with the rate of technology adoption. In particular, this negatively impacted on their ability to use replication technology that was not able to keep up with the rate of technology innovation occurring in other business systems,” he says.
ContinuitySA was looking for a solution that could enhance its offering and more effectively deliver on the customer value proposition.
“Initially, we chose Veeam because of its excellent compatibility with virtualisation technologies at an attractive price point. As we started using it more extensively, we were satisfied with their continued development and improvement as well as their exciting roadmap of future features and benefits. They became a great company with which to work and partner.”
For ContinuitySA, Veeam has been a crucial solution in assisting its clients overcome availability challenges.
“Over the last few years, we have had multiple instances of our clients being recovered during outages. An extreme example is where a logistics company was attacked with a targeted ransomware outbreak that infected all its servers, desktops, and networked attached storage. The only systems recoverable were those protected with our Veeam to ExaGrid technology, and most recoveries were successfully completed within a few hours of the attack.”
“With Veeam, our clients can focus on profitable, innovative, and high-quality service delivery for their companies and have the assurance they remain protected and recoverable when needed,” says Janse van Rensburg.
From a technology perspective, Veeam has compatibility with both VMware and Hyper-V as well as universal storage APIs which means it can integrate with numerous storage technologies, allowing greater flexibility and choice for customers. This ensures that integration into the IT systems and business operations of ContinuitySA customers happen as smoothly as possible.
“Our clients have been very satisfied with Veeam’s hyper-availability offering; it has proven to be consistently effective in scheduled tests and real-world recoveries. From data corruptions, system failures, accidental deletions, and malicious ransomware attacks – we have been consistently successful in recovering our clients when they have experienced outages.”
According to Janse van Rensburg, Veeam provides visibility of operations, quicker recovery times, multiple recovery points, and better flexibility of protected solutions irrespective of the customer industry or company size.
Without these elements, several of its customers would have had to close operations as they would have been unable to recover from the data loss experienced.
“The positive impact extends to time-savings as well. We have had a client migrate from a backup configuration that took longer than 12 hours to perform daily backups and 72 hours for weekly ones to a Veeam environment that reduced the time to less than 75 minutes and 10 hours respectively,” adds Janse van Rensburg.
From a business perspective, ContinuitySA customers can deliver on their strategic mandates while Veeam manages their replication and data availability needs. Veeam is an enabler for effective business growth by allowing the internal resources of companies to be repurposed for innovative product development and services delivery.
Veeam has also assisted ContinuitySA to reallocate customer resources using a dedicated team of professionals that provide deep and specialised recovery expertise to its clients. This has enabled ContinuitySA to expand on its value proposition and establish new lines of service. Ultimately, this is focused on delivering even more measurable business benefits to its customers that positively impact operations.
“Furthermore, Veeam provides good value on its licensing price point that sees us making it available to our clients at market-related rates. However, the most important part of the technology has been its applicability and success to so many different environments across industry sectors.”
This is especially important given how data compliance is evolving. The likes of the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPIA) in South Africa and General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in the European Union mean companies must be able to ensure that the safety of data takes strategic priority.
“It is very difficult for one technology to cover everything from a data compliance perspective. Veeam is enabling us to further assist our clients to become compliant and use the necessary features and audit processes to enable alignment to the regulatory [data] framework.”
Additionally, ContinuitySA has recently started using Veeam Agents and its number of clients and protected servers are increasing continuously.