The era of global connectivity is upon us. For multinational enterprises, advancements in network technologies, increases in data capacity, and developments in digitally delivered application services are enabling unprecedented expansion. But with increased scale comes increased risk. In order to ensure business continuity, companies must be prepared to address the challenges that come with wading into uncharted waters, such as natural disasters.

Natural disasters are an unavoidable aspect of life. From floods in the UK and blackouts in India, to earthquakes in California and typhoons in the Philippines, eventually every location on the planet finds itself at the mercy of extreme natural forces. These events, though rare, often result in huge losses of life and property. Data, network accessed software applications, and network hardware—the lifeblood of global businesses—are no less vulnerable. Natural disasters have the potential to disrupt network functionality and data hosting services, preventing business from proceeding as usual and stifling the flow of revenue.

By crippling everything from supply chain fulfillment, internal productivity, and e-commerce, unanticipated network downtimes cost companies an average of $5,600 per minute. These events, regardless of cause, are not uncommon. Over a 24-month period, 91% of IT decision makers reported experiencing network downtime. In a world where 71% of companies are dependent on the data center to generate revenue, organizations must recognize the eventuality of such downtimes and take steps to ensure business continuity planning and data center security, especially when moving into risk-prone regions.

In an ideal world, firms might hope to locate their data hosting centers in remote regions sheltered from the majority of natural risks. But in reality, when you are operating on a global scale, this approach is not always a viable option. Successful risk mitigation strategies must instead have strong foundations in both the physical and digital realms. Forward-looking telecoms like NTT Communications, also known as NTT Com, understand this need, and have positioned themselves as first-movers in the risk-mitigation space, developing security and data center infrastructure management practices that ensure network capacity and service delivery needs are met on all levels.

NTT Com’s “Nexcenter” data center service provides high-quality colocation and cloud platform offerings for data hosting and data management worldwide. These capabilities are regionally customized to best address the challenges of a given locality. At the Tokyo No. 6 Data Center, for example, the structure is base-isolated and contains force-dampening technologies, reducing the impact of an earthquake by up to 80%. To circumvent seismic threats in the Bay Area of the United States, NTT Com took a different approach, locating their facilities in the nearby, but less seismically active, Sacramento area.

To protect against water related events—a common and expensive threat to data center security—many NTT Com facilities are positioned on elevated terrain and some are surrounded by reinforced water barriers. And should the regional power grid fail in the aftermath of a natural event, multiple redundant power facilities and air conditioning systems are on standby, ready to ensure service continues uninterrupted.

But even with the best-laid plans, physical protection measures are sometimes not enough. In these instances, new advances in software-defined networking (SDN) technologies can ensure rapid adaptation and continued delivery of critical services, 24/7. SDN decentralizes systems over multiple geographically dispersed data centers and seamlessly connects them through virtualization. By decoupling the system intelligence from its underlying hardware, services and application loads can be shifted away from affected facilities in the event of an emergency and quickly provisioned from another site.

With its advanced software-defined networking solutions and extensive network of over 140 data hosting sites around the world, NTT Com is well positioned to flexibly minimize business impact and risk. NTT Com’s data center offerings allow companies to switch between network and backup services on-demand across multiple data centers. Additionally, NTT Com’s hybrid cloud solutions help companies to balance colocation and the cloud through software-defined networking.

As data and cloud-based applications become the foundations of future business operations, decision makers will need to come to terms with the inevitability of risk. But while things like storms and earthquakes may strike anytime, anywhere, proactive executives can choose data hosting and network solutions that ensure lapses in business continuity are a thing of the past.

Read more about how NTT Com can help to build a secure, scalable Global ICT platform for your company



This article was produced on behalf of NTT Com by the Quartz marketing team and not by the Quartz editorial staff.

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