Every organization wishes they had a crystal ball to predict the future. But as you well know, foreseeing what happens tomorrow or the next day is an elusive pipe dream.
In reality, to keep your business secure and prosperous in the face of uncertainty, you need smart planning, continuous adaptation, and as the final layer of defense, disaster preparedness.
|“In the digital age, robust cloud disaster recovery is not just an option—it’s an imperative for business resilience.” ~Jeremy Wanamaker, CEO of Complete Network
This guide was written to assist you in gaining a solid familiarity with the key concepts of cloud disaster recovery. Our aim is to help you decide whether or not such solutions might be of benefit to your company.
Modern business operations are completely entwined with technology. We count on our IT systems, software, and services to handle everything from mission-critical business functions to internal communications. Given that organizations are so reliant on IT, should something go wrong, it could potentially bring the entire business to a screeching halt.
This is where cloud disaster recovery (DR) comes into the picture. Cloud DR falls under the umbrella of business continuity. The main objective is the swift recovery of critical data and IT systems in the aftermath of a disaster event.
Network failures, power outages, earthquakes, wildfires, pandemics, cyber attacks, and terrorism are just a few of the major disasters businesses face daily. Cloud disaster recovery planning focuses on developing robust recovery strategies that limit the fallout of such incidents. Those businesses that make a concerted effort to develop sound and sturdy cloud DR strategies are better positioned to restore and continue operations quickly should something go awry.
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The underlying goal of disaster recovery is to avoid being in a position where a single point of failure knocks your organization offline. Cloud DR helps in this regard because service providers make it trivial to securely replicate your IT across a dispersed number of locations around the globe.
Before the age of cloud computing, this was a luxury reserved only for large enterprises.
If IT operations at the primary location are interrupted, DR in the cloud delivers the most critical day-to-day business functionality until the situation is corrected. But like most strategies in IT, this is easier said than done.
Typically, the well-prepared organizations break it down something like the following :
Backups – Backups are spare copies of your data stored on offline systems or offsite locations. Remember that backups and backup-as-a-service (BaaS) solutions are just one component of a complete DR strategy since only data, not IT infrastructure, is backed up.
Snapshots – Whereas backups are complete copies of your data that provide full redundancy, snapshots capture specific points in time. In practice, snapshots are ideal for creating quick, space-efficient copies of your most important data for recovery within a shorter time frame as opposed to full-scale restoration.
Cybersecurity Monitoring – Continuously monitoring networks and systems to detect anomalies or spikes in usage that might indicate a network-related issue or cyberattack.
Weather Tracking – Keep a vigilant eye on forecasts and real-time weather data to anticipate weather-related disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, wildfires, or power outages.
|Depends on bandwidth
|Varies with provider
|Easier to control
|Higher over time
|Decreases after setup
|Dependent on provider
|Extensive (with big providers)
|Depends on company size
|Less (with big providers)
DRaaS – Disaster-recovery-as-a-service is a comprehensive cloud DR solution that allows organizations to safeguard their critical data, applications, and IT infrastructure by reproducing core functions in a cloud environment. DRaaS simplifies disaster recovery planning and execution by leveraging the capabilities of cloud technology and third-party expertise.
Virtual DR – Virtual DR is a system for replicating data and IT infrastructure using virtual machines hosted in the cloud. In the event of a disaster, these cloned environments can be rapidly activated, delivering smooth business continuity and minimizing downtime.
To provide readers with a complete view of the different disaster recovery models, we’ll compare the disadvantages of cloud-based DR versus the advantages of onsite solutions.
For organizations that require exceptionally high-speed recovery times, onsite DR may offer faster access to critical systems and data since cloud data recovery times are determined by network bandwidth and your company’s proximity to the provider’s nearest data center.
Onsite DR requires a significant upfront investment in hardware infrastructure and licensing. In contrast, cloud DR has the benefit of low upfront costs to get set up. Over the long term, however, onsite solutions tend to offer better ROI as operational costs decrease with time.
Depending on your industry, regulations may mandate your organization to keep backups of certain data onsite. In such cases, an onsite-first DR solution is necessary to meet compliance requirements.
Unfettered administration over onsite DR means companies maintain data sovereignty and have full authority over security measures and infrastructure choices, which enhances data protection, especially when handling sensitive information.
Let’s put all the pieces together to show you what implementing a real-world cloud DR strategy looks like.
To create an auspicious cloud disaster recovery strategy, start by assessing your complete IT infrastructure, including all workloads, applications, hardware, and data. Evaluate their location and value, then identify likely risks.
For example, at an auto repair shop, systems that store customer credit card information are more valuable to hackers than those that store vehicle repair history. Likewise, businesses in California are more susceptible to disruption by wildfires or earthquakes, whereas those in Florida are more likely to see hurricanes or floods.
The next objective is to perform an in-depth business influence analysis to help decision-makers better understand the financial, operational, and reputational consequences should critical business activities come to a standstill.
This information is used to determine your ideal recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO) and design a cloud DR strategy that enables the organization to achieve recovery within an acceptable time frame.
Now that you’ve established your RTO and RPO, the next phase involves choosing a qualified partner to supply cloud DR solutions. Essentially it boils down to a decision between two types of providers.
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Big Cloud Providers
Advantages: Extensive resources, global data center presence, high scalability, robust security, and established track record.
Downsides: Potentially higher costs, less personalized support, and limited flexibility in contractual terms.
Small or Mid-Sized Cloud Providers
Advantages: Lower costs, personalized service, more flexibility in tailoring solutions, and stronger relationships.
Downsides: Limited global footprint, fewer resources, and possibly less redundancy and security measures.
Once you’ve engaged with a partner, it’s time to put your cloud DR strategy into actionable procedures. Namely, this involves translating your target RPO and RTO into practical solutions that deliver your critical data, applications, and IT infrastructure according to those pre-established metrics.
Your DR service provider plays a pivotal role in guiding and facilitating this process. They’ll help your organization set up the necessary automation, virtual machines, storage solutions, and network configurations to meet your goals.
Testing serves to trial-run the effectiveness and readiness of your efforts.
Testing your plan on a routine basis allows your organization to remain agile and adaptive in the face of evolving threats and changing business needs. Whether it’s through simulated disaster scenarios or real-time drills, consistent testing helps to identify potential pitfalls and mitigate risks before disaster strikes.
Complete Network has been a trusted cloud computing partner to small and midsized businesses for over 20 years.
Our cloud consultants will create a tailor-made, secure cloud disaster recovery strategy that suit your individual goals and requirements. Contact the friendly Complete Network team any time for more information.
In an ideal world, technology would be a consistent source of competitive advantage and benefit for small and midsized businesses. The reality is that many fail to realize that confidence.
Without the right resources and support, even a highly skilled technology team can become overwhelmed by the growing list of technology management duties. When important tasks get neglected, it creates ripple effects throughout an organization that damage productivity and efficiency.
The co-managed IT services model solves these problems by providing your existing IT team with all the support and resources they need to successfully plan, manage, and defend your network technology.
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