The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the role of the data centre industry in modern society forever. Despite downturn in industries ranging from hospitality to manufacturing, the manifold complications posed by the pandemic have only served to drive greater demand for digital infrastructure.
As the world underwent an en masse experiment with remote work last year - something that’s predicted to have far-reaching implications for the future of the modern workplace - organisations have increasingly embraced the transformative power of the cloud, and the data centres that support it. As such, the data centre industry has experienced a significant boost due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as spikes in global internet traffic of between 25% and 30% led to record spending (of $37bn in Q3 of 2020 alone) and unprecedented revenue growth.
However, data centre industry earnings aren’t the only thing to have spiked in lockstep with global COVID-19 transmission figures. Alongside the global transition to remote work, enterprises have experienced a shocking rise in the number of cyber attacks linked to the pandemic.
“With many employees working from home, organisations now more than ever have to worry about risks emanating from that seemingly benign environment,” found a new report launched by Creative ITC.
Data gathered by researchers at Cisco found that, during the pandemic, more than half (52%) of security leaders said they were challenged to protect mobile devices. Moreover, 87% of UK companies are struggling to orchestrate alerts from multi-vendor security products.
According to the report, the financial services sector has been among those most severely affected by the trend, as well as other challenges posed by geopolitical changes like Brexit, the evolution of GDPR, an ever-changing regulatory and compliance landscape, and the disruptive influence of new technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT). According to the report, CIO’s and IT directors in the financial services sector were feeling these pain points before the pandemic, which “simply shone a bright light on its shortcomings.”
In the first half of 2020, some 88% of firms in the sector issued profit warnings linked to the pandemic - with investment banking and brokerage firms being hit the hardest.
DRaaS to the Rescue
According to Creative ITC, Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) is “integral to reversing this trend.” A successful disaster recovery program can mean the difference between a bump in the road and a potentially terminal disruption of services.
Just about every enterprise may already have a disaster recovery plan in operation, but the pressures placed upon said plans have never been greater or more diverse. It’s important to note, Creative ITC’s report explains, that an effective disaster recovery strategy “doesn’t just need to protect against acts of god, malicious cyberattacks and threats of unrecoverable data. It also means safeguarding against more mundane human errors, such as home workers introducing viruses, workmen cutting through street cabling or data centre technicians plugging in the wrong lead.”
Disaster recovery needs to be innovative, holistic and comprehensive, and for many companies, orchestrating a successful strategy is just too big a task.
“Since a dedicated DR facility can be eye-wateringly expensive to maintain, upgrade and scale, many organisations are looking to outsource DR to specialised providers to manage it for them,” - How Disaster Recovery as-a-Service helps financial services firms stay on the front foot, Creative ITC
This is where DRaaS comes in, offering a more agile and reliable approach to the practice by outsourcing it to trained professionals capable of bringing the necessary expertise and focus, allowing enterprises (particularly in the financial sector) to, in turn, focus on running their businesses.
DRaaS firms can also help their clients to create a more tailored experience, segmenting elements of their organisation by risk - reducing the cost of securing less-vulnerable assets. By “working closely with their service provider, the end goal is to design a more pragmatic commercial solution, where premium protection and recovery speed is only applied to the critical infrastructure and data services that actually need it, combined with a slower recovery SLA for elements where business impact would be less.”
Some companies - like Royal BAM - have actually managed to leverage savings made as a result of integrating DRaaS into their operations into the adoption of new technologies to help them better cope with the effects of the pandemic, like virtual desktops - which provide increased security and convenience for a newly-remote workforce.
“The nature of disaster planning is changing. As cloud and virtualisation take hold, so too does the risk of downtime due to software problems, cybersecurity vulnerabilities and increasing
infrastructure complexity. Add to that natural disasters, power outages, hardware failures and human error and it becomes clear financial services firms need solid DR resources in place – and be absolutely certain they will work,” concludes the report. By embracing the potential cost-savings and added reliability offered by DRaaS solutions, enterprises in the financial sector and beyond can ensure that they protect both their digital assets and bottom line as the economy advances towards the new normal.