Why it makes business sense to look externally for your IT recovery provision

Carmel Owens, Sungard Availability Services



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11 November 2016 | 0

Next January marks the tenth anniversary of the first iPhone, and a lot has happened in the intervening decade. Now, it’s almost impossible to think of a world without access to smart phones, tablets and the cloud. Enabled by technology, business has become about being faster and more efficient. As we become more reliant on IT to provide agility, business edge and competitive advantage, the availability of those systems is key.Spotlight_Small

Yet many businesses aren’t prepared for the worst. Despite the adoption of cloud-based recovery services, almost two-thirds (65%) of organisations fail their own disaster recovery test.

That is a serious shortcoming given the increasing pace of change in business, the 24/7 demands their customers place upon them, and the challenges that poses from a technology standpoint. For example, when managing the transition of legacy apps towards the cloud, the ability to keep business always on is vital.

Many CIOs or IT leaders are being driven by their boards to innovate while balancing those demands with insufficient resources, as the growth of data increases exponentially and the cost to manage it rises also. Added to those concerns, risk, security and compliance are also key areas to address, driven by the forthcoming EU General Data Protection Regulation and the upsurge in cyberattacks such as the DDoS outages or ransomware attacks that have garnered recent headlines.

It’s a lot to ask of any internal IT department, which is why I believe there’s a compelling argument for working with external partners that can provide the right levels of governance, security and organisational process that IT leaders need, while allowing them to focus on delivering new products and services to the business.

“There’s a compelling argument for working with external partners that can provide the right levels of governance, security and organisational process that IT leaders need, while allowing them to focus on delivering new products and services to the business”

Having started in 1982, we can call upon a heritage of more than three decades’ expertise in delivering vendor-agnostic application and systems recovery, as well as production environments. Today, Sungard AS is a $1.3 billion company, providing its services to over 7,000 organisations in 70 countries.

Our process starts by listening to our customers; we don’t see what we do as just delivering a technology solution, but a desired business outcome. This means identifying the right solution for our customer’s business objectives and their recovery priorities. Then we map the IT estate, agree the right applications, tier workloads accordingly. Then we can apply a holistic recovery methodology to protect the customer’s data, recover their environment, and manage their recovery.  A manufacturing system, ERP, or CRM, may require a critical recovery time objective, but not all systems need to be treated equally – and nor should customers pay for them equally. We believe in balancing risk and cost.

In the past, many companies looking to in-house solutions bought the same equipment twice, to host on their primary location and their DR site, but as environments change, that’s a further drain on financial and people resources to keep the backup in sync with the main site. Other organisations bought DR storage but didn’t necessarily have the compute power for it to be an effective recovery option either.  What many companies choose to do instead is focus on what they’re in business to do and instead outsource their recovery to specialists.

As customers look to cloud-based or hosted solutions for recovery, Sungard AS offers depth and breadth across our portfolio, from physical data and recovery centres to cloud and hosting centres to managed application clouds to recovery and business services a full suite. All underpinned by technical and consulting experts skilled in delivering business continuity, hybrid IT and cloud solutions. We also have the only Tier-III Uptime Institute certified data centre in Dublin, and we adhere to multiple industry certifications, including PCI DSS, HIPAA and ISO 27001.

What’s more, we have taken what we’ve learned in providing recoverable production environments to help customers with their transition into digital businesses, and many of our large global customers like Menzies Aviation which needed a flexible, scalable IT infrastructure to support its ambitious growth plans trust us to run their full production systems.

So when such firms want to move their environments to the cloud, or simply to burst some of their environments to, for example, AWS, we can facilitate that.

Cloud economics have seen increasing numbers of large organisations shy away from traditional capex spend on IT. For any business with a large amount of legacy tech ‘debt’, allowing a company like Sungard AS to manage their complex IT environment – for both current and future needs – makes sense.


Carmel Owens is general manager of Sungard AS Ireland.

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