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Backup solution keeps municipalities running

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A specialist provider of enterprise resource planning solutions to local government has successfully incorporated Attix5 Backup Professional technology into its support solution to ensure that essential government information is always safely backed up. As a result, municipalities are better able to meet the requirements for record-keeping in line with standards of the Auditor General.

Sebata is an integrated technology solutions, enterprise management systems and multi disciplinary professional services provider, with a principal focus on municipalities, public entities and government. According to Sebata’s Divisional Manager: ICT Infrastructure and Managed Services, Michael van Zyl, the company provides support to various municipalities where its solutions are used with its SebataCONNECT offering.
“SebataCONNECT is the support product for the range of solutions we provide to our customers, which are typically municipalities. In designing the SebataCONNECT offering, we looked for means by which we could ensure optimal support remotely while also examining requirements which are imposed by the Auditor General in order to deliver a more effective service,” he says.
It emerged, says Van Zyl, that a significant number of queries from the Auditor General’s office were arising due to the challenges posed by a sound backup regime to protect essential information.  “We specifically examined areas of the municipal ICT environment where weaknesses might exist. Backups repeatedly were singled out as insufficient or ineffective in many municipalities.”
Sebata looked to its partner MWeb Business for an appropriate solution which would introduce automated, offsite backup to its SebataCONNECT support service.
Herman Jansen van Rensburg: Head of Products at MWeb Business, explains that the company offers a backup solution powered by Attix5 branded as MWEB Online Backup. “Given the success of this product, it was decided to incorporate it into SebataCONNECT to extend automated, offsite data protection to the municipalities using Sebata’s solutions,” he explains.
Explaining how it works, Attix5 managing director Michael Law says Attix5’sBackup Professional creates an image of selected files on a remote storage platform, in secure, mirrored data centres. “Using compression and encryption technologies, it securely and automatically backs up user files. Designed for bandwidth-constrained South African conditions, it uses very little capacity by only updating those files which have changed since the previous backup.”
Van Zyl says that, at present, the solution is in use at 13 municipalities in South Africa, and is rolled out to other Sebata clients in Namibia and Lesotho. The efficacy of the solution is probably best demonstrated by the fact that the municipalities don’t know that it is there.
“The fact that it is fully automated, with backups done in the background and completely managed by Sebata technicians, is a considerable advantage. Whereas in the past, problems resulted from tape systems as they required manual intervention, the Attix5-powered solution delivers complete peace of mind with no additional administration.”
Noting that a backup is only as good as its ability to restore data when required, Van Zyl adds that several successful file restores have taken place.
“From our perspective as the service provider to the municipalities, we have found the Attix5 technology very easy to set up and use. It doesn’t even require any particular IT expertise, even for a restore,” he says. “Furthermore, it provides all the filters necessary to ensure that only valuable, business-relevant data is backed up.”
As a result of applying the technology in municipal environments, Van Zyl says the previous issues encountered by auditors, such as backups which have not been performed, missing tapes or failed media, are a thing of the past. “With the reassurance of having a secure, offsite copy of data, governance is greatly improved. Even in the event of a catastrophic failure or a disaster, essential data is safe.”