Technology
Cloud IT infrastructure in a land that shakes
Cloud IT infrastructure in a land that shakes

Igor Matich highlights the problem of office based servers in a country that experiences frequent earthquakes. 
 
The Kaikoura earthquakes are a destructive reminder of the heartache and trauma that can happen in this beautiful land we call home.
For all Kiwis after an event like this the immediate concern is for family, friends and neighbours. The longer term challenge is ensuring the affected areas are back up and running swiftly. We are a stoic nation, with a community spirit and it’s important that life carries on as normal.  
 
Central to our lives is the need to work and be part of a productive economy, whether we are in the public or private sector. And at the heart of this is information technology - so when IT is taken out there’s a problem.
 
The Christchurch earthquakes of 2010 and 2011 showed this all too well with Red Zones and security cordons cutting off thousands of businesses from owners and employees. 
 
For many city businesses with their IT and information physically on office based servers they may have lost everything. But those using cloud IT platforms could at least start again somewhere else and have access to their work information and systems. 
 
The cloud presents a vital IT solution to the inherent problem of doing business in New Zealand; by securing your information off-site so you can carry on even if your office is destroyed.
 
It’s likely this latest disaster will be a catalyst for more businesses to consider the cloud as a stable IT infrastructure platform - we aren’t nicknamed the Shaky Isles for nothing! 
 
Here are four key points to consider when thinking about your business, the need to secure your information from natural disaster, and the solution presented by cloud computing:

1. Information is one of your business’s most important assets
From personal information, to intellectual property or financial detail, this is the fuel that allows a business to function along with access to systems such email, documents and business applications. The impact of losing all this is enormous. This alone should give owners, managers and boards the impetus to work out ways of protecting it, even if it does mean investment and change.  

2. Choose global or public cloud services  
A common misunderstanding is the cloud system serving New Zealand is only based here. While there are locally hosted services, the cloud is worldwide.     
Global cloud platforms, or public cloud services, host data in different regions, to increase availability and reduce risk. A good example is the Amazon Web Services (AWS) infrastructure across 14 global geographic regions and consisting of discrete data centres each with capacity, networking and connectivity. The benefit is if New Zealand infrastructure is damaged your information and data remains safe and accessible. If your data is only New Zealand hosted the risk remains.

3. What about security?
There are two security issues – first is the most obvious current one of mitigating risk from natural disaster.  
The second is protecting your information’s integrity, confidentiality and availability. This second security issue is a common barrier to adopting the cloud, but it needn’t be. Processes like two-factor authentication (requiring a user to provide an additional piece of security information before gaining access) has made the cloud equally secure but a lot more convenient.
 
4. Consider moving all your systems to the cloud
There will be naysayers and reasons not to move but one thing is certain, it doesn’t require any change to the way people work; it just means your information is elsewhere and away from the many fault-lines beneath New Zealand.
And if you need a case study, in July this year, new measures were confirmed to accelerate the adoption of public cloud services by New Zealand’s government agencies.

The 14th November 2016 earthquake near Hanmer Springs has again put the spotlight on the financial impact of business interruption and the importance of commercial continuity. Cloud IT presents a very real, practical and cost effective solution.
 
To turn the tables on a common saying in New Zealand, if you are still using enterprise servers in a shaky country, “she may NOT be right.”
 
Igor Matich (pictured) is managing director of Dynamo6 - a Hamilton and Auckland-based specialist in cloud, mobile, web development and digital technology.  

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