Are you ready for an unexpected disaster?
The cloud has become a popular solution for disaster recovery purposes, largely due to cost-effectiveness and the possibility of speedy data retrieval.
Some companies choose to backup all their data and applications directly to the cloud using it as a substitute for traditional offsite tape storage. Other businesses will choose to backup locally and then send their data to the cloud, using it as a secondary off-site backup.
Creating An Effective Disaster Recovery Plan
It’s all very well sending everything up into the cloud, but businesses need to have a restoration blueprint in place to deal with an unexpected disaster. Each company is unique and will need to concentrate on their own business model, prioritising which applications and services are vital to their ongoing operations. At the same time, data that is less important to an organisation should be eliminated or given a reduced priority in the recovery plan, so as not to waste time and money on restoring the unnecessary. It is vital that senior management creates recovery time objectives and has a realistic idea of how long each section of the recovery plan will take.
Once your disaster recovery plan is in place, it is imperative that both backup and recovery from the cloud are tested in invocation scenario conditions. This will give some idea of the likely duration before a return to normal business operations.
Cloud Services Provider
There are many different cloud services packages and providers to choose from, depending on your organisation's specific requirements. Businesses need to choose a cloud services provider very carefully, based on the amount of data they wish to hold in the cloud and the recuperation objectives that they wish to meet. Some cloud services providers will be unable to do more than simply store data, whilst others will offer a fully managed service which could include carrying out a restore plan in the aftermath of a disaster. If you wish to pay for a managed service, then be sure that you understand the small print in the Service Level Agreement and that you’re confident that an operational restore will take place within the agreed time-frame.
It is worth knowing that even though a cloud services provider is responsible for safeguarding your data, your business is still liable for it in accordance with the new EU General Data Protection Regulation framework, which we explained in detail in a previous article - "Under current legislation, the cloud provider is merely a 'processor' of that data, while you remain 'controller'."
Restoring a large amount of data from the cloud in a disaster recovery scenario is unfortunately not as simple as it sounds. Available bandwidth for the transfer of data as well as redirecting users to the cloud needs to be taken into consideration, and it may be necessary to schedule parts of the restore to take place during off-peak hours. If this is not possible, then don't be surprised if Internet-dependent are slow or unavailable during the restore. One way to cope with this issue is to create a bandwidth management strategy – speak to your cloud services provider and find out how much bandwidth allocation you have in your plan, ensure that you have data duplication set up and take advantage of any inbuilt bandwidth management features that your cloud services gateway appliances may have.
Of course the biggest concern with cloud-based disaster recovery is cyber security. A malicious security attack may well be the reason that you need to restore your systems, so reputable cloud service providers must be able to authenticate users securely as well as ensuring the safe restore of data back to your systems. We prefer the use of sophisticated analytics and data-centric security as an advanced alternative to the basic security measures that many providers use. Feel free to ask your providers of proof that their services are current and regularly maintained with the latest fixes.
If you're a cloud services provider in need of a disaster recovery specialist with advanced skills in data security and compliance, then call us today and select one of the high-calibre IT cloud candidates from our books.