Altonet has become the first South African service provider to offer a public HP Autonomy Connected Backup vault in South Africa.

The purpose-built vault will be used for HP’s Connected Backup service which Altonet delivers as software as a service (SaaS) solution, catering for the backup of PCs and Mac’s as well as mobile devices to the cloud.

A key advantage this vault offers is that Altonet is now able to offer local storage for cloud backups, with no data residing outside the country.

Altonet is a local supplier of backup and archiving solutions and a long standing partner that spans value-added reseller (VAR), managed service provider (MSP) and Hosting Service Provider (HSP) partnerships, is launching the first public HP Autonomy Connected Backup vault in South Africa.

Gareth Tudor, CEO of Altonet, says: “We have now reached critical mass in South Africa with the number of our Connected Backup users, and therefore it made sense for us to open our own local vaults. Our customers have been asking for greater flexibility with the package sizes we offer, from a few Gigabytes for small business, to a whole lot more for the large enterprise, and we are now able to comply with this request.

“The local private cloud offering also allows us to deliver significant cost savings to clients. Local management and stored data means that backups and restores can also be done much faster, using local bandwidth. Restores can also be prepared for local delivery on DVD’s or memory sticks which previously had to come from the US, and this shortens the time taken to recover after an incident.”

“We conducted stringent testing and system validation before going ‘live’ with the new offering, ensuring customers will benefit from improved performance, more efficient usage of bandwidth, flexible delivery capabilities and better maintenance of data sovereignty.”

Tebogo Morukhuladi, deputy CIO at Altonet, explains the importance of locally-hosted back-ups: “HP Connected Backup is designed to eliminate virtually all risk of data loss on local or remote enterprise desktops and laptops running both Windows and Mac Operating Systems (OS). The data centre will host the latest iteration of HP Connected Backup, Version 8.85, for enhanced data backup, protection and recovery.

“The latest version offers enhanced scalability, ease of use and support for mobile data accessibility.”

Connected Backup data storage was previously offered to Altonet’s customers using HP data centres located in the US. Packages were therefore only available in predetermined capacities.

The ability to offer solutions that are specifically designed and suited to local conditions, with costs that are that are more stable as local data centre and equipment pricing is not subject to the fluctuating rand-dollar exchange rate. With localisation of data storage, this solution can now be leveraged by government, banking and other businesses that are required by law to maintain their data within country.

To complement the HP Connected Backup solution, Altonet will also offer users a data encryption service known as SimplySecure from Beachhead Solutions, at a minimal additional cost. This solution provides more comprehensive end-point data protection, so that data on lost or stolen devices cannot be compromised, with resultant improved compliance with legislation such as the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI).

POPI is going to be a major challenge for business and IT people over the next 18 months, says Amit Parbhucharan, manager: southern Africa, HP Autonomy Information management and governance.

Among the issues raised by POPI compliance, he says, is that of data sovereignty, where it is important to keep data within the country’s borders – and the new Altonet service addresses this need.

Other challenges facing the CIO include data loss risks; the fact that mobile computing is now part of the IT ecosystem; the cost involved in protecting and securing mobile data; data accessibility; scalability; balancing security and productivity for users; and data sensitivity.