Internet Solutions (IS) Kenya’s Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Seminar
On 14th of July 2010 this week, I attended a Disaster Recovery (DR) and Business Continuity (BC) Seminar by converged communications provider Internet Solutions Kenya (IS Kenya). The seminar sought to educate the public on the importance of deploying strong and dependable ICT infrastructure and secure planning in order to protect businesses against losses brought on by natural disasters, catastrophic events or sabotage. The well-attended breakfast seminar was held at The Norfolk Hotel and officiated by Permanent Secretary in Ministry of Information and Communication Dr. Bitange Ndemo and Internet Solutions’ Director of Sales E.A, Mr. Loren Bosch. Below are some of the notes I picked up at the same:
- Loren of IS Kenya noted that their core focus is on client service for all its offerings. The pillars of the IS Kenya business are connectivity, communications, cloud computing and carriers. The trend in the market today is that initially customers had been keen on the new undersea cables going live and that what meant for the ICT aspects of their business. Going forward, customers needs are evolving so that their focus is gradually shifting towards reliability, redundancy, security and disaster recovery where their ICT infrastructure and services are concerned.
- Loren noted that IS Kenya currently has connectivity to both TEAMS and SEACOM which are high speed undersea cables connected to Kenya. IS Kenya will also have connectivity to the EASSy cable which will be going live this weekend. Therefore, their network and bandwidth is resilient and diverse at the same time. They offer last mile connectivity on a diverse range of services and technologies including fibre, kenstream, wimp, motorola canopy, 3G & 2G, Satellite. They also offer Service Level Agreements (SLAs) and have references for their offerings. Their network is national and they can deliver services wherever required in Kenya. Backhaul and last mile are all covered.
- The market needs in Kenya are shifting towards integrated Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as well as Large Enterprises. However, in the case of SMEs, they are asking for cloud computing based solutions whereby they do not need to acquire and manage their own ICT infrastructure. As a result, IS Kenya’s next seminar in a couple of month’s will be focussed on the growing need for cloud computing solutions in Kenya.
- Before TEAMS and SEACOM went live, satellite connectivity to Kenya was very slow with latencies of 600 Milliseconds. This has changed significantly and as a result its now possible to do so much more for businesses with high speed bandwidth available country-wide. Also, peering within Kenya means that bandwidth is now kept local and does not require international connections to move data locally. IS Kenya has set-up a data center in Kenya that has firewalls installed. Data is publicly accessible and applications can be hosted as is already the case for email, anti-spam, calendaring and collaboration.
- The key barrier to disaster recovery (DR) and business continuity (BC) solutions globally for
businesses is the large capital expenditure required to deploy them, not to mention the high level of planning needed. It tends to be a grudge purchase like is the case for insurance since the value of the investment is only realized when a problem occurs. Once deployed, DR and BC solutions need to have an ever evolving plan that follows the “crawl, walk and run” approach – its gradual.
- PS. Ndemo noted that where the Government of Kenya is concerned right now is data and systems areas of ICT services. He noted that EASSy was scheduled to go live on Friday the 16th July 2010. He also noted that the National Terrestrial Fibre Network is now in place for the last mile. The Government has also built a data center and plans to work with the private sector so as to realize its full potential, especially where DR and BC solutions are concerned. He noted that productivity in Kenya needs to improve using technology with low tolerance levels for inadequate ICT services in the marketplace – this is the only way that Kenya will catch up with other leading global economies.
- The Government in Kenya has digitized key services such as the land registry which makes it fast, simple and convenient to do unlike what was the case years ago. PS. Ndemo noted that other countries such as South Africa are now looking to Kenya as a possible location for their own BC and DR plans so as to create as much redundancy as possible for their data. PS. Ndemo noted that since the supply of bandwidth has grown then the demand should also grow. However, He noted that ISPs need to lower the cost of bandwidth if it is to affordable for all Kenyans.
- PS. Ndemo said that this would ensure new kinds of services and products being possible nationwide, such as e-learning in rural Kenya. he noted that is some countries bandwidth has become a basic human right in their legislation. He noted that EASSy for instance will have 1.2 Terabytes of bandwidth which would make telepresenceÂ services viable. In closing, PS Ndemo suggested that attitude and culture must change in Kneya by testing and mitigating risks in ICT services and especially BC and DR.
They seem to have focused on IT recovery as opposed to the full scope of disaster recovery. There are also other things to be considered for example critical suppliers, crisis communication etc