Following its investment in new data centres and disaster recovery strategies, BankservAfrica, the largest automated clearing house and payment system operator in Africa, has contracted Veeam Software to modernise its backup and data protection systems.
Processing billions of transactions annually for 23 banks and their 27 million customers while maintaining the safety and security of the South African National Payment System, BankservAfrica aims to provide real-time, continuous payment processing to ensure participating banks can service their customers around the clock.
Banks must now consistently deliver positive customer experiences across both digital and traditional channels, and add value in new ways, to increase customer retention and strengthen their customer relationships. Often, technology can help.
Data protection priority
As part of this, BankservAfrica decided to adapt its data protection approach to the requirements of the always-on environment. Making sure its services were always available was a key differentiator for the financial institution, and would transform the experiences of its customers.
“Payments and transactions are our lifeblood, so we understand the need for modernisation in the payment landscape. We are constantly striving to safeguard against disaster,” says Hamman Ferreira, Chief Technology Officer at BankservAfrica.
At the time, the backup and recovery processes on some of its legacy systems were slow, resulting in the organisation being unable to meet recovery point objectives (RPO) in service level agreements (SLAs) with customers. The backup technology therefore required updating to meet the ongoing demands of the evolving payments industry. It also had to align with new technologies to ensure that backup, recovery, and testing would be enhanced.
“Organisations the world over must contend with changing customer requirements that see an expectation of continuous availability. Institutions that resist digital transformation will ultimately be punished by customers, financial markets and to some degree regulators. This is even more so the case when it comes to the financial services industry that has embraced mobility and is offering users solutions that service their needs irrespective of location. That’s why we’re seeing financial institutions and banks move quickly to embrace digital,” says Claude Schuck, regional manager for Africa at Veeam.
A mobile continent
According to Moody’s Investor Service, sub-Saharan African countries (including South Africa) have recorded the largest growth of mobile bank accounts opened globally. Approximately 12 percent of adults had mobile bank accounts in 2015, compared to 2 percent globally.
“Up until recently, cash was king, but that has changed substantially as mobile devices and connectivity become more cost-effective. Mobile banking is more popular than ever and growing fast, making data backup and recovery even more important,” says Ferreira.
To this end, BankservAfrica decided on implementing the Veeam Backup & Replication solution in its data centres. One of the deciding factors was the fact that with Veeam, the organisation would be able to process payments continuously as the solution provides for 24.7.365 data availability.
“Veeam is the obvious choice for modern businesses as it makes our IT infrastructure more robust by protecting our data and guaranteeing availability,” says Ferreira.
Reaping the rewards
Since implementing Veeam, BankservAfrica has saved 50 percent in backup costs. And because Veeam backup is 60 percent faster compared to legacy backup and recovery 98 percent faster, it has easily been able to meet SLA requirements. In addition, Veeam provides BankservAfrica scalability as its solution is designed to back up thousands of virtual machines and petabytes of data.
“Veeam delivers a level of value that competing solutions were unable to meet; both monetarily and in terms of peace of mind. In December 2016, we processed 128 million transactions – unprecedented in our history. That number will become the norm eventually and we have complete confidence Veeam will continue to deliver 24.7.365 availability of data,” says Ferreira.
“This has been a wonderful project to be a part of and it showcases the cost-effectiveness and scalability of our solution. BankservAfrica’s data is growing by 30 percent each year and our solution enables it to meet stringent customer service requirements, and provides the business with scalability for future needs,” concludes Schuck.