Disaster recovery isn’t a new concept for IT. We’ve been backing up data for years to offsite locations, and used in-house data duplication in order to prevent the risks of losing data stores. But now that cloud adoption has increased, there have been some shifts in how traditional disaster recovery is being handled.
First, we’re seeing increased adoption of cloud-based backup and disaster recovery. Gartner stated that between 2012 and 2016, one third of organisations are going to be looking at new solutions to replace current ones particularly because of cost, complexity or capability. These new solutions not just address data, but the applications themselves, and are paving way for Disaster recovery as a services (DRaaS).
Unfortunately, there is still some confusion as to when cloud services may suffice for disaster recovery, or if looking at fully-fledged DRaaS makes more sense for organisations. Let’s explore four of the key considerations when it comes to DRaaS and cloud backup services.
DRaaS isn’t just for emergency situations
A lot of organisations still view Disaster Recovery as a reactive solution, and forget that sometimes just by having cloud based services in the first place, especially with a provider who utilises business continuity best practices in their services, there might be inherent DR/failover protection in place.
This means less downtime risks overall, and a more proactive approach to ensuring that your organization is up and running at all times. This helps organisations ensure that they can react to their customers 24/7/365.
Cloud services might help boost a small IT department’s overall security profile
While you should absolutely do your homework before signing up for cloud services, the real fact is that often these services are more secure than many organisations, and come with enterprise security-grade solutions that are specifically configured to address the unique characteristics of the individual services.
This means if you are a smaller organisation who might not have a ton of security resources to do all the legwork for an in-house build, looking at a cloud solution might give you more bang for your buck in terms of reducing your onsite data protection costs, personnel costs and the day to day management of ensuring security controls are in place.
Consider the skillsets required for disaster recovery
There are a lot of solutions that you can leverage for in-house builds that can deliver not just lower costs, but also provide better control and the ability to work with multiple different platforms and projects. But the reality is that Disaster Recovery needs to be at the forefront of these projects (in addition to security and functionality) and if you don’t have the right skillsets to ensure it is not just built in, but constantly reviewed and updated it might be best to look at a service provider who does. The last thing your organization can afford should something happen, is not having the right resources to ensure business continuity during the outage and scrambling to figure out how to fix it.
Cloud storage isn’t a way to get around disaster recovery
While it’s important to be able to access your files no matter what happens, if you can’t run the front ends to get to the data, it’s going to be a nightmare. By looking at a DRaaS versus a Cloud storage solution, having multiple failover sites for applications as well, you will still be able to run your systems themselves should there be an outage This is why we will continue to see large enterprises start to look at IT services failover across multiple data centres as a disaster recovery strategy, making cloud more of an data centre on demand type of service.
No matter what service you ultimately decide to go with, the real thing is to make sure that you do your research. You need to really take a good inventory of what systems are involved, from application and data servers (physical and virtual), and endpoints, along with the usual SQL, Exchange and CRM systems. You should also be aware of what the disaster recovery process would look like, to ensure that if the vendor needs to be involved, you know ahead of time.
Most importantly, be realistic with the skill sets available on your IT team, and if there is a gap, this could be a good indicator that it makes sense to look at hosted or managed solutions. The last thing you want to do in the case of an outage is to go back through SLAs to figure out whom you need to contact for help, or who is ultimately responsible for different functions. The more control you have over the DR environment, the easier it will be for you to get back up and running.
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