Today’s businesses run on more than just data, they utilize operating systems, networks, hardware, software, email, communications platforms, teleconferencing, etc.
When an entire organization stalls because of a lapse in the internet, the potential loss is exponential. And it’s not just power outages and equipment failures that IT teams have to contend with; there are also hackers, malware, deliberate and accidental data breaches, data loss through human error.
The successful weathering of a data disaster is all about planning. That’s why businesses have turned to various disaster recovery (DR) solutions.
Both Cloud and traditional disaster recovery have the same goals: to get a business back to normal operations (or at least functional operations) in the event of a major interruption. IT disasters can include losing access to data or critical software applications, natural disasters, problems with service providers, and cyberattacks. In all cases, a disaster recovery plan should:
– Minimize the risk of interruptions, data loss, etc. by implementing effective safeguards.
– Reduce or eliminate system downtime.
– Enable the business to carry on essential activities.
– Ensure data security and accessibility.
– Minimize or avoid any impact on customer-facing areas (like corporate websites).
In a Cloud-based disaster recovery system, a company doesn’t have a DR system onsite; they use a service provider to manage their backup systems. Essentially, some or all of the organization’s data, software, and infrastructure is replicated on a remote server (or servers) that the company can connect to as needed.
It’s important to note there are several types of Cloud DR:
– Self-Service. The company does its own planning, testing, and maintenance; the Cloud service provider simply hosts the offsite machines and agrees to a service level (e.g. guaranteed uptime).
– Assisted. The company and Cloud service provider work together to plan the DR response and collaborate on testing, maintenance, recovery implementation. This may be ideal for companies that have expertise in some (but not all) DR areas or who have certain applications that are not ready to migrate to the Cloud.
– Managed. The Cloud service provider handles all the maintenance, testing, and implementation. However, the company IT still has to keep the service provider current with all infrastructure and application changes.
Cloud disaster recovery is effective when creating, testing and updating of the strategy is done so regularly and thoroughly.
An established plan should consider your organization’s infrastructure, potential threats or vulnerabilities, critical assets and order of recovery and disaster recovery solutions that are automated and tailored to your organizational requirements.
The primary difference between Cloud disaster recovery and traditional disaster recovery is simple: Traditional disaster recovery relies on on-premises equipment, personnel, and management. Cloud disaster recovery utilizes offsite Cloud providers and automates some of the disaster recovery response.
Traditional DR is expensive and labor-intensive. It also has two major weaknesses:
– It’s vulnerable to natural disasters like floods and fires, especially if it is in the same geographic location as the main system.
– Unless a high degree of redundancy is maintained, it can be a single point of failure.
Until fairly recently, this was the only realistic option for most companies. Then Cloud computing emerged. With Cloud disaster recovery, a company doesn’t have to maintain additional onsite equipment; they can rent infrastructure, data storage, Software as a Service (SaaS) solutions, and even app development platforms. This comes with some major advantages.
If you’re familiar with the benefits of Cloud computing, you’ll also be able to quickly spot the upsides to Cloud disaster recovery:Save space and costs. the organization will save a considerable amount because they won’t have to purchase, run or maintain their own infrastructure. They will also save on the physical space taken up by the servers and other backup equipment.
– Flexibility and Scalability. Cloud service providers can add or remove storage space as required. This means that the organization has complete control over their demand within an instant.
– Reliability. Most Cloud providers, especially the larger ones, use geographically-distributed redundancy (i.e. storing duplicate information in another data center) to guarantee data availability and infrastructure access. This way, even if one data center is hit by a natural disaster, the other center can pick up the workload and operations will be better protected.
– A more efficient IT team. Many Cloud service providers offer 24/7 monitoring. Depending on your service level agreement, they may also handle testing, maintenance, automatic data backups, and other services. This frees up your IT team from a lot of tedious manual work.
Both Cloud and traditional DR require the following:
1. Conducting a Business Impact Analysis (BIA) that identifies all key components (e.g. computers, servers, software, data, etc.) and groups them by criticality (e.g. essential, important, good to have). The BIA should also identify any time- or business-critical functions supported by the IT infrastructure and indicate which resources support them.
2. Determining acceptable service levels for all key components, including how much functionality is required to facilitate critical business activities and the acceptable levels of downtime and response time.
3. Defining threats and instituting appropriate control/prevention measures.
4. Assigning one or more people to ensure all measures are properly followed.
5. Continuously testing the disaster response system and backing up data.
Cloud disaster recovery – like IT disaster recovery in general – is a broad and complicated topic. But it’s something all businesses must tackle if they want to safeguard their data. NETdepot are experts in disaster recovery and can offer tailored solutions for your organization, learn more about reliable cloud disaster recovery.