Tag Archives: Europe

Controlling your Cloud Data in the Face of Outages

It’s hard to imagine that one quick lightning strike could disrupt the business of several companies across Europe, but this is exactly what happened in the summer of 2011 in Dublin.

After a lightning bolt struck a utility pole, causing an explosion and fire, power supply was cut to several businesses and data centres in the surrounding area. According to Amazon and Microsoft — the two companies whose data centres were worst affected — the bolt disrupted power supply to their massive data centres. While Microsoft was able to kick start its services after a few hours, Amazon’s services weren’t resumed until a good 48 hours later. Amazon’s customers spent several frustrating hours waiting for Amazon to report on the status, as the company struggled to set things right and quickly restore their services.

You might say, this is an old news that happened more than five years ago, but this very instance shows how unplanned disasters can strike at any time. With this in mind, Backup Technology Limited (BTL) believes there are several lessons to be learnt from this and many other data centre outages.

Complete dependency on the service provider’s ability to maintain uninterrupted service is foolhardy, to say the least. Customers signing up for cloud services must ensure that they maintain control over their data by making local backups of their data in addition to riding the cloud for all the benefits that accrue from it. BTL urges its customers to take advantage of its Asigra powered software, a hybrid cloud backup solution that ensures full-proof data availability.

BTL is equipped with local and remote management features, which allow users to seamlessly perform local backups to their private cloud infrastructure or offsite backups to a public cloud. Even more beneficial, they can do so even while they’re away from the office. A web-based management console allows one to control and manage all backups and restores via an Internet connection.

To ensure full business continuity, BTL stresses the importance of performing both local and offsite, cloud backup. If backing up data to the cloud, BTL recommends that customers add disaster recovery and business continuity to their list of services.

Unlike larger cloud customers such as Amazon’s public cloud users, BTL users who backup data locally to their private cloud infrastructure, in addition to a cloud service powered by BTL, will not have to wait endlessly for reports about the restoration of services in the event of an offsite data centre disaster. They can connect their network to the local copy of the data and resume their business activities almost instantaneously.

When handling business data backup plans, smart IT admins look at all their options and will not hesitate to implement local backup AND offsite cloud backup with an MSP to ensure security and business continuity at all times. BTL recognises the ground realities surrounding data management by large third parties. This is why BTL focuses its attention on customer needs and urge its customers to build in an extra resilience and maintain data redundancy.


Cybercrime Loots Compete with Global Drugs Trade

A new report has revealed that cybercrime costs £226 billion every year. To put this in perspective, this is nearly as much as global drugs trade.

Computer security software firm McAfee have claimed that cybercrime is now worth an estimated 0.8% of the global economy.

Raj Samani, chief technical officer of McAfee EMEA stated, “In the past, studies such as this have relied on surveys. We commissioned a think-tank to work with economists and intellectual property lawyers, as well as the security industry, to understand the true impact of cybercrime.”

The UK didn’t rank particularly favourably in the report as it was ranked 5th in the G20 countries that are most affected by cybercrime, with an annual loss of £6.8 billion.

It was also estimated that cybercrime leads to around 150,000 job losses in Europe each year.

Cybercriminals are developing more sophisticated attacks as each month passes due to the potential financial rewards. They have taken advantage of companies taking a very relaxed attitude towards data security who persist on using outdated and unsuitable security programs.

Mark Sparshott, EMEA director of security firm Proofpoint stated, “The volumes of attacks are increasing because it is a profitable business model for organised crime. With cybercrime there is no risky getaway because the attack is routed through hundreds or thousands of PCs in dozens of countries, making it almost impossible to trace. The internet makes most attacks anonymous and untraceable and that is really attractive to cybercriminals.”

Cybercrime has had an unprecedented impact on companies which has resulted in some companies ceasing to exist. It has also cost companies hundreds and thousands of pounds due to data loss and reputational damage.

In one case, a British company revealed that it had incurred revenue losses of £770 million because of one cyber-attack due to the loss of intellectual property.

It is now critical that all companies ensure that they have the best security plan in place and regularly test it to help protect themselves against the threat of cyber hackers and cyber thieves. This should be supported with a robust backup solution to ensure that data can always be recovered no matter what action a hacker or cyber thieves takes such as modifying or deleting the data.

Car Batteries to Help Power Data Centres

The demand for data centre space across Europe is increasing and has resulted in a huge amount of energy being used. At the moment, around 2.5% of all European energy is used by servers in data centres but this is expected to increase to around 7.5% by 2019.

In order to help cope with the ever increasing demand for energy, a research project, Green Data Net, has been started to investigate new ways to help both hardware and software do a better job of getting power from where it is generated to where it is needed at the data centres.

At the moment, the cost of the project is 4.3 million euros. The European Union has invested 2.9 million euros into the project whilst industrial partners have invested the other 1.4 million euros.

One of the main problems at the moment is that most of Europe has focused on utilising renewable energy sources such as wind and solar. This is fine but a problem with this is that the power from these sources isn’t always supplied at exactly the time when it is needed most such as at peak times.

One idea that will be researched is the potential to use old car batteries as a store in which the energy can be supplied to the data centres when needed.

At the moment, the batteries for electric and hybrid cars last around 14 years in which they are then needed to be replaced. However, these batteries could still be used for the purposes of an energy store. If proven to be successful, the idea still largely depends on how popular electric and hybrid cars become across Europe. If they become very popular, Europe would be left with a stockpile of old lithium ion batteries which would be no longer useful for cars but would be more than useful for other functions.

Redmer van der Meer who is Nissans director for corporate planning believes that the reuse of old car batteries is a very feasible idea and that it could all be operational by the year 2020.

Van der Meer stated, Affordable and reliable batteries could have a second life in data centres and in the home, starting around 2020.

Data Roaming Charges Make European Visitors Turn Their Phones Off

A study that was conducted by the European Commission suggests that the excessive charges incurred for data roaming results in European visitors turning their phones off when travelling abroad.

The study which was made up of 28,000 respondents from countries across the European Union (EU) shows that 47% of respondents dont use mobile internet when abroad. More than a quarter of respondents claimed that they turn their phone off to ensure any data roaming charges are not incurred.

Neelie Kroes who is the European Commission Vice-President has claimed that she is stunned by the results and that they have to finish the job of eliminating data roaming charges as it isnt beneficial for both consumer and company.

Kroes stated, It shows we have to finish the job and eliminate roaming charges. It’s not just a fight between holiday-makers and telecoms companies. Consumers are limiting their phone use in extreme ways, and this makes no sense for the companies, either.”

Kroes added, Millions of businesses face extra costs because of roaming, and companies like app makers lose revenue, too. Roaming makes no sense in a single market – it’s economic madness.

Matthew Howett who is a telecoms analyst believes that the results of the study arent that surprising as data roaming charges can result in a hugely inflated bill when using your phone abroad.

Howett stated, I don’t think the findings are that surprising. Customers can come back to nasty bill shocks when they use their phone abroad.”

In the past year, the European Commission have started a campaign to end data roaming charges altogether which they are hopeful of achieving by 2016. If they are to be successful, their final proposal must be accepted by all 28 EU members and passed by European lawmakers.

Their first step of achieving this is to get charges for receiving incoming calls abolished. The European Commission believe that they are on course with achieving this goal and it is believed that it could come into effect as soon as July this year.

Naturally many of the network providers are disgruntled by this news. Matthew Howett believes that this is because the proposals have been made whilst they are in the process of investing a huge amount of money in infrastructure upgrades.

Howett stated, They are having to make some fairly significant investments in 4G networks across Europe. By giving [the networks] this quite lethal kick at this time it is quite painful for them, as they’re trying to invest.”

Do you use your mobile when travelling abroad? Do you think that data roaming charges should be abolished?

100% Broadband Coverage across Europe

The European Commission (EC) has revealed that they have achieved their aim of ensuring that every household and business within Europe has access to at least a basic broadband connection.

The greater broadband coverage has been made possible through the availability of satellite broadband in all 28 member states. The availability of satellite broadband has resulted in the three million people who were not covered by the fixed and mobile broadband networks.

At the moment, 96.1% of people in Europe have access to fixed broadband networks and 99.4% of people have access via mobile coverage. Even though every household and business in Europe now has access to a broadband connection, the speeds may not be suitable for everyone with some only being able to receive a connection of 2Mbps.

Neelie Kroes, who is the Vice President of the European Commission, expressed her delight at achieving this aim.

Kroes stated, My motto is Every European Digital now every European genuinely has the opportunity. We have more to do to improve networks and equalise the opportunity, but the opportunity is there. Thanks to the extra coverage provided by satellite broadband, we have achieved our 2013 target of broadband for all. That’s a great result for European citizens.

Despite the EC achieving this aim, they plan not to rest on their laurels and to continue to push forward to improve the available broadband speeds across Europe.

Kroes declared, Europe needs lightning-speed connectivity. We cannot leave some companies and citizens behind. Now we have basic broadband achieved, we have to immediately focus on investing in new, fast networks.

Kroes added, Access to reliable and affordable higher broadband speeds of 30Mbps and 50Mbps is essential for Europe’s economic development and for the next generation of digital products and services like connected television, e-health, cloud computing and connected cars.

With everyone across Europe now having access to a broadband connection, there is no reason for anyone not utilise a robust cloud backup solution that meets their needs and requirements. The advantages of utilising a robust cloud backup solution can now be experienced by everyone who lives in Europe and have the peace of mind that they can recover their data regardless of any disasters at their home or office.

Do you utilise a cloud backup solution? Do you feel it is worthwhile to utilise a cloud backup solution?

Backup Technology Acquired by Publicly Listed Leading UK Cloud Company

Backup Technology, ‘BTL’, is delighted to announce that it is now part of publicly listed leading UK cloud company iomart Group plc.

This is a major opportunity for BTL and our customers, as we will now be able to expand and develop knowing that we have the support of one of the fastest growing cloud and managed service providers behind us.
Simon Chappell, one of the founders of BTL, is moving on to pastures new but other than that it is very much business as usual.

Ritchie Fiddes, Sales & Service Director of Backup Technology, said: “As the growth of cloud services continues to gain momentum, iomart Group provides a perfect fit for BTL to be able to offer its customers additional complimentary services. Being able to plug directly into iomart’s expertise and its enterprise level data centres and fibre network means we can work with even bigger customers who require the big infrastructure and strong balance sheet that iomart can provide.”

Angus MacSween, CEO of iomart Group plc, stated: “We are delighted to welcome BTL to the Group as they have achieved ground breaking progress in the delivery of cloud backup and disaster recovery. BTL gives iomart a solid and well-established platform to grow further from, with a very good enterprise customer base and little crossover from the existing Group base. It’s a very good strategic fit, complementing our portfolio of existing products.”

iomart Group plc is one of the UK and Europe’s largest providers of cloud computing and hosting services, serving over 300,000 customers each day. It is listed on the London Stock Exchange’s Alternative Investment Market (AIM) and is financially strong and profitable. It owns and manages 10 data centres across the UK connected via a high speed optical network with technical support provided 24x7x365. You can find out more about iomart Group at www.iomart.com

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