In the past, many companies wrote off disaster recovery (DR) as unnecessary or too difficult to implement. Others decided not to pursue it because they believed that the benefits were largely intangible, unless they lost their data. However, given the rising prevalence and cost of natural disasters and human error, can your organization afford to have a less-than-agile DR plan—or none at all?
The cloud is quickly becoming the favorite platform among organizations looking to facilitate effective DR. Using this strategy, your company can create and store copies of its most important files and applications in a cloud environment. This will mean that you will have a reliable source of data recovery in the event of a catastrophe.
As you jump in with cloud-based DR, you will need to make a few important considerations to ensure that you are developing the most effective solution possible.
Assess your options
DR is not a one-size-fits all approach for your business. You have several options when it comes to the solution that you choose. For example, you could use managed applications to safeguard your app data and their backups. In this case, you will need to move the aforementioned information to the cloud, thus eliminating your reliance on in-house backups.
With DR, you also have the option to pursue managed recovery solutions. In this setup, you will host your data and apps in on-premises data centers. However, you will only create backups of the data within the cloud. This method is typically more affordable than other DR options, but app restoration can sometimes take longer to complete.
Look at the benefits
Before deploying DR solutions at your company, you should consider the various benefits that it can bring to your firm. Assessing these can help to alleviate any qualms that you may have about pursuing a new method of DR. There are a few ways in which the cloud can make DR easier for your organization.
In the cloud, you only need to pay for the DR services that you require at any given time. This “pay-as-you-go” model makes it easy to minimize the total cost of ownership because you do not need to pay for expensive in-house backup systems.
Cloud DR also enables your organization to save money by reducing the cost of downtime. It could cost your company thousands or even millions of dollars per hour of downtime. You will save money if you can minimize its impact—and cloud DR can help you to achieve it.
According to the report “Data Backup in 2014” from TwinStrata, 37 percent of organizations take between one and three days to recover after a disaster if they don’t use the cloud for backup purposes, and 27 percent need at least four days for disaster recovery. In comparison, the majority of cloud DR users are able to fully restore their data within 24 hours of a disaster. Approximately 20 percent are able to do so in only a few hours, whereas only 9 percent of non-cloud users can achieve the same feat. Thus, Cloud DR is crucial to businesses’ continuity, allowing them to recover their most essential information in as short a time period as possible.
Address potential issues before they occur
As with any business solution, cloud DR is not without its issues. However, there are workarounds for some of the biggest challenges that a company may face. A lack of bandwidth is one such issue that you could encounter while using cloud DR services. Not only do you need to have adequate bandwidth to move your data to the cloud, but you also must have enough to access this information after a disaster. You will need to plan ahead and ensure that you have sufficient bandwidth to support your organization’s DR needs.
Moreover, it can be challenging for cloud users to recover entire backups all at once. Restoring a smaller amount of data is easy, whereas a full recovery could be a more onerous task. However, the cloud allows you to virtualize entire operating systems and applications into individual virtual servers. By moving these backups to an off-site location, you can use a virtual host to restore your lost information in as little as a few minutes.
Pose questions to your DR provider
As you determine which cloud DR provider is the best fit for your company, you should ask them several questions to gauge their services and level of expertise. To begin, you should determine who will serve as the manager of your firm’s account and how much they know about the applications that you will store in the cloud. It is also crucial to ask questions about the wider organization and its DR capabilities. Do they have sufficient power to run your applications at the same time as their other clients? Exactly how many clients can they accommodate during widespread catastrophes?
In addition, you should pose questions that allow you to gauge potential DR vendors’ abilities in the realm of security. If your company works in an industry that has specific compliance requirements, then you should ask your vendor about their own ability to meet these regulations. You should also ask them about the various tactics, such as encryption, that they will use to protect your data in the cloud.