We can’t predict when and where disasters will strike, but we can prepare for them.
Maintaining the integrity of data during a disaster is one of the pillars of a successful disaster management plan, investing in a remote location without investing in the means to get the information there and back safely could well be an exercise in futility.
Colin MacDonald, head of Business Services with Digicel Cayman explains how Digicel is partnering with businesses in Cayman to offer solutions to this very issue through the delivery of private wide area networks.
Due to the susceptibility of the Cayman Islands to hurricanes, many businesses will have data replication going off island on a continual basis, often to another offshore location, with Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man being popular locations.
As the data warehousing industry has grown, the importance of interconnectivity between these centres has grown exponentially as well. “These are some of the main jurisdictions that our customers will look to pull back their data from after a man-made or natural disaster or to operate from during an emergency situation. Obviously, physically, these are a long way away, so what they do is to try to replicate that data over the common network, which is the Internet,” says MacDonald.
However, using the Internet as the conduit for data replication can present numerous challenges, especially when working with large amounts of data.
“By its nature, the Internet is a shared network, which means you have no control over the amount of traffic travelling over it or the route it will take, this can cause disruption to the integrity of the data. Our customers are increasingly dependent on information technology to run their operations so their disaster recovery plans are associated with the recovery of their data with the main objective to minimise downtime and data loss.”
One of the challenges businesses face is that under normal circumstances, a plan that relies on the Internet for data transfer might work within acceptable parameters, only to fail when critical data has to be moved off island in preparation for a hurricane. This becomes even more apparent when there is a hurricane warning in the Caribbean and multiple users all try to replicate their data in preparation for an incoming storm, explains Colin.
“If you think about the fact that the Caribbean essentially has one landing point, which is Miami and some routes up to New York, these routes will be absolutely flooded when there is a severe weather warning leading to congestion where these applications will absolutely fail,” says MacDonald.
The only way to exercise a greater level of control over the path your data follows to your backup location is to invest in a private wide area network, a service Digicel delivers across the region.
“With a private network there comes a guarantee of service, based on different metrics, that your information will arrive within a certain period of time, it will arrive in sequence, the packets aren’t broken off and arrive at different points, you are guaranteeing that the applications and the user experience will remain unchanged during or after a disaster,” says MacDonald.
The importance of a private network becomes especially apparent during the recovery phase when vast amounts of data will need to be brought back to the Cayman Islands as local operations are rebuilt.
“Attempting to do this over the Internet will be problematic if not entirely impossible” states Colin.
However, these problems are alleviated with Digicel’s private network services offering the additional ability to flex bandwidth.
“This has proved to be attractive for businesses when setting their disaster recovery plans if there is a sudden storm warning our private network customers can ramp up their bandwidth allowing them to back up information quickly. When their data needs to be retrieved, the bandwidth can be flexed again much faster than would be possible on a static network or over the Internet.”
With multiple routes off Island on MAYA1 and CJFS Digicel Business is confident it offers a truly resilient service, whether it be their High Speed Corporate Dedicated Internet Access or private wide area networking.
“If any of the subsea cable systems such as MAYA1 were to be affected by an earthquake or a hurricane event all your information would immediately, sub 25 milliseconds, be diverted over the Cayman Jamaica Fibre System, which is a cable route over Jamaica and then to New York where it will be picked up and reach its final destination as if nothing had happened. Our customers want to have control of their information and to ensure it arrives first time and in sequence no matter what the circumstances. For that reason, we find that Digicel Business is their provider of choice”.
Digicel Business is a full service business solutions partner that delivers value, innovation and partnership to businesses ensuring they operate at optimum efficiency. For more information on how Digicel Business can improve your business, visit contact Colin MacDonald on +1 345-327-6055 or email [email protected] .