As the country is subjected to yet more rolling blackouts due to load shedding, the critical importance for companies to have disaster recovery plans in place is highlighted, to ensure that this type of crisis has as little impact on business continuity as possible, writes Christo Briedenhann, local country manager at Riverbed.

The cornerstone of any disaster recovery plan must surround the protection of company data. Organisations must ensure that data is backed up remotely at safer, off site locations, where speedy and full backup transfers and retrievals can be ensured. Such a policy should ensure that this vital asset of the company is protected.
With efficient physical procedures in place, including pre-arranged backup office location and/or remote WAN capability, organisations should be able to minimise the effects of any disaster.
Linked to this, one of the greatest concerns of today’s IT manager is the need to secure and replicate the growing amount of data residing in remote offices, to one centralised location. At present, the most efficient way to do this is through a network-based backup process. However, as data volume grows, network capacity is being pushed to the limit causing network "latency" to stall the process.
To combat the stall and to fully utilise existing wide area network (WAN) links without upgrading the bandwidth, businesses need to consider the benefits of wide-area data services (WDS).
Unlike point products that improve one part of the wide area performance problem – like data compression, QoS, or TCP optimisation – WDS is a comprehensive solution that will optimise the transfer of data to and from the data centre and accelerate its transfer.
Riverbed WDS solutions address all of the issues that affect application performance over the WAN, improving the throughput of applications enterprises rely on every day – including file sharing, e-mail, backup, SSL, document management systems, and IT tools, as well as ERP and CRM solutions.
The WAN optimisation and application acceleration process in complete WDS solutions is designed to optimise the business function of data transfer, ensuring the complete and secure backup of data.
By considering a WDS-based solution, IT managers can be assured that their organisation’s files and sensitive data remain secure and retrievable in spite of any man-made or natural disaster.