Lyle Wraxall, CEO of Digital Isle of Man, talks about why operators should invest more time into disaster recovery and the risks of not getting it right.
CasinoBeats: What is disaster recovery and what does it mean for online gambling operators and suppliers?
Lyle Wraxall: Disaster recovery is a set of policies and procedures that online gambling operators and suppliers have in place to ensure the continuation of their product or service in the event a natural or human disaster strikes. A large part of that means having back-up infrastructures and systems in a secondary jurisdiction that can be switched over instantly, in the event of disruption to their primary set-up.
CB: Do online gambling businesses give enough attention to disaster recovery? Why?
LW: Most online gambling businesses will have some sort of disaster recovery plan in place, but how suitable that plan is to their businesses needs in the event of disaster striking is another question. Given the fast-pace of the online gambling industry, disaster recovery needs to be an on-going concern with plans constantly updated and fine-tuned.
“The biggest risk is that the operator or supplier will suffer a complete loss of service”
In terms of why they do not pay enough attention to disaster recovery, it is usually because operators and suppliers have so many other things to manage on a daily basis that it simply falls down the order of priority. Of course, those that do not stay on top of disaster recovery often wish they had when disaster does strike and their operation is impacted.
CB: What do online gambling businesses need to consider when it comes to disaster recovery?
LW: There is actually quite a lot to consider when it comes to disaster recovery and the jurisdiction chosen to deploy the recovery plan. This includes network capacity and whether the jurisdiction has a resilient power and communications infrastructure.
They should also research the data centres available and whether they have the capacity for their needs and requirements. It’s also advised that online gambling businesses consider how geographically safe the jurisdiction is, where the natural disaster risk level sits and how crime stats compare to other jurisdictions.
Other things to take into account are the stability of the government and the support it provides to businesses, particularly those in the online gambling sector. One final factor to look into is whether the jurisdiction holds accreditation for things like data privacy and GDPR, as this will allow for a seamless flow of data between jurisdictions in the event disaster strikes.
CB: What does good disaster recovery look like?
LW: The key to disaster recovery is in the planning. Online gambling operators and suppliers should invest time in considering exactly what processes, procedures and tools they will need in place should they be subject to a natural or human outage.
“Those that do not stay on top of disaster recovery often wish they had when disaster does strike”
They should work with a trusted jurisdiction to help deploy the disaster recovery plan quickly and effectively. As an extension of this, it is important to educate and train key members of the team who will be responsible for putting the disaster recovery plan into action.
CB: What are the risks of getting disaster recovery wrong?
LW: The biggest risk is that the operator or supplier will suffer a complete loss of service or an intermittent loss of service. This immediately impacts revenues and can have a longer reputational impact with players or customers using another brand or provider. Other issues around loss of sensitive data and being at greater risk of a cyber security attack can also occur.
CB: Why is the Isle of Man considered one of the best jurisdictions for disaster recovery?
LW: We have a world-class power network and telecoms infrastructure as well as six top-tier data centres. The Island is geographically safe, free from natural disasters and well away from fault lines.
It is physically safe, far from conflict zones and with some of the lowest crime rates in Europe. We are a stable, self-governing jurisdiction with a strong economy and supportive government. We are an egaming island with a community of professional service providers experienced in online gambling, blockchain and emerging technologies.
We also have legislation in place that allows temporary operation under the terms of your home jurisdiction for up to 90 days, so organisations do not incur any additional licensing fees by invoking their disaster recovery servers here. All of this makes the Isle of Man a leading disaster recovery jurisdiction.