Recently we at RSAWEB HQ were on the receiving end of Eskom’s load shedding and noticed something interesting in the building we occupy. While we have a backup UPS and Generator, and were working happily, none of the other tenants in our Building could work! That means about 1000 people just in our immediate surroundings were twiddling their thumbs for 2 hours. This got me thinking, now that power cuts are part and parcel of doing business in South Africa, how many businesses are re-evaluating their server, data and employee power requirements?
We have been inundated with requests for customized backup solutions and power alternatives, so I thought I would share a business scenario that could help solve the problem and possibly reduce overheads and costs in the process. Lets take a small insurance company with 50 employees and 3 servers all located in one office. Traditionally they would have installed some form of connectivity to the office and built a small server room on site. Now faced with power cuts, how do they invest wisely in order to sustain their business and minimize downtime.
Firstly, they could outsourced their server hosting and management to RSAWEB. This would mean that their servers and data would always be accessible and they need not spend money on expensive generator and UPS solutions. They also now benefit from having their servers accessible at high speed from anywhere over a secure VPN. They no longer need the on site server room, and can now just focus on their employees at the office and their immediate needs. They then install good connectivity to our data center in order for people in the office to work normally, and will be able to accommodate more off site workers who could work with a laptop and a 3G card. Desktop PC’s however still are not safe from blackouts, and there is an increasing trend to systematically upgrade to laptops with longer battery life. The usefulness of a laptop in South Africa is strangely linked to its 3-5 hour battery life, whereas anywhere else in the world it is for mobility reasons that laptops are primarily used.
Increasingly the risk of on site equipment from a security and power perspective as well as the huge initial capital expenditure required needs to be evaluated, when compared to renting equipment and services from ISP’s, who have already invested in power and security infrastructure on a large scale.