Yasser Zeineldin, the chief executive of eHosting DataFort in Dubai Internet City, helps companies to cope with disasters - natural or man-made. He talks about the data problems that firms can face and how they can be remedied.
What does eHosting DataFort do in terms of disaster recovery?
In case of disruptive scenarios such as corruption of data files and power cuts, or more severe situations such as earthquake, fire or civil unrest, companies need to have their data and IT services [protected]. Organisations want to have good customer experience, and for that [too] they need to have disaster-recovery services. They can do this through [remote] disaster-recovery sites at Dubai Internet City and Dubai Outsourcing Zone, through us. We provide hardware and data-replication services. Data [can then be stored] on a remote server. We provide software for that as well as maintenance. We also provide business continuity planning.
How much has the Arab Spring affected your business?
From January 2011, a number of organisations said due to riots and roadblocks they want to have an alternative and they looked at Dubai. The UAE and Dubai are politically stable and an economic haven. Also, access through roads and airports is good here. [Quite a few] companies have established such sites in Dubai since January last year. Companies from the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait, Azerbaijan and South Asia have established disaster-recovery sites here. We had 28 per cent growth in customers and 30 per cent increase in operating profits last year compared to 2010.
How much does it cost for a company to establish disaster-recovery services?
An organisation does not have to put in a lot of capital upfront. When it comes to size in terms of capacity, it does not have to be as large as the main site, as it can be slightly slower, or … back up only critical services. It can cost as low as Dh10,000 [US$2,722] a month for a company of 100 people. A disaster-recovery plan and cost of ongoing maintenance is 4 to 7 per cent of the IT budget.
How much of the business is generated by the UAE Government?
The UAE Government has been focused on e-services for long. So the necessity to have a disaster-recovery service and backup plan becomes imperative. Dubai e-Gov and Emirates e-Gov all have disaster-recovery plans and are working with us.
As computer viruses, such as Flame, become more sophisticated, how secure is data on a remote site?
We have 24/7 monitoring to detect potential hacking activities. But security is a matter of how much money you put in it.
* Sananda Sahoo