The challenge of data safety and availability

Issue 6 2022 Editor's Choice, Cyber Security

Back in the good old days, backing up was not a complex task, as companies knew where their data was and could therefore ensure everything was backed up correctly and regularly. With the growth of technology over the years, this is no longer a simple task.

Today, one’s data may reside onsite, in the cloud (whether it is a cloud platform that the company controls or not – as with as-a-service applications and platforms), in virtual machines and containers. Moreover, each of these can include a variety of technologies and brands depending on how the company has structured its IT systems, which means making sure you backup everything can be complex. And then there is having the ability to restore everything to where it belongs in an emergency.

Chris Norton.

Ian Engelbrecht.

This dispersal of data across numerous platforms and technologies has only increased in complexity over the past two years. Chris Norton, regional director of Veeam Software, says that Covid-19 forced the IT industry to take a jump forward in terms of using remote and cloud services, side-stepping about 15 years of ‘normal’ evolution in one swipe. More companies moved to cloud applications and services (in a hurry), exacerbating the complexity of corporate backups.

As highlighted in this publication, backups and the ability to restore them form a key part of cyber resilience. Veeam is a software company launched in 2006 that provides a set of applications to backup any data from almost any platform, all managed via a single interface. This includes Office 365 data, which many users incorrectly assume is backed up by Microsoft (Microsoft is responsible for making data available, but not for backing it up.)

Last line of recovery

Veeam incorporates a number of cybersecurity features, but its strength lies in the reliable recoverability of data from various platforms. Norton says your backup is your last line of defence and therefore needs to be planned and managed accordingly. This is not only a cyber or ransomware defence, but also a defence against technology failures. In addition, it is a regulatory defence too; PoPIA forces companies to take responsibility for the data they collect and store, meaning they have to be in control of that data no matter what.

Norton says the traditional 3-2-1 approach to backups still applies, but in today’s environment he sees it as a 3-2-1-1-0 approach. Enterprises still need three backups on two different types of media, one being offfsite, but one must also be immutable (which is where the cybersecurity protections come in, as well as de-duplication and compression). The zero stands for being able to recover and restore your data with zero errors, including zero corruption from malware of any type.

He says Veeam software ensures this is possible, but its flexibility also drives the complexity out of managing your backups as well as restoring to a variety of platforms. The company does not provide hardware, but supports a range of hardware platforms, both on-premises and in the cloud.

Ian Engelbrecht, system engineering manager, technical sales for Veeam Software Africa, explains that this flexibility caters for any type of emergency. For example, backups from onsite servers can be restored to a cloud platform if the company’s hardware is destroyed or non-functional. The backups are stored in a hardware-agnostic format, allowing for easy restoration to the desired platform.

A single pane of glass

All this is done from the much vaunted ‘single pane of glass’, in other words, from a single interface. He also notes an interesting statistic: on average, organisations recover about 64% of their data from ransomware attacks, even when paying the criminals. The question is whether the other 36% is important or not. He adds that only about 10% of global corporates have ‘data certainty’, meaning they can recover all their data.

Veeam operates via a two-tier channel approach in South Africa, with distributors and resellers representing and supporting it, and Veeam acting as a technical advisor and providing guidance throughout the process. Norton adds that the company has taken a more hands-on approach in talking to and advising customers in the post-Covid world, although it still works in cooperation with channel partners.

For more information contact Veeam, +27 10 822 1120,


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