What Does ‘Disaster Recovery In The Cloud’ Actually Mean?

October 31st, 2014

Even if you have a solid backup of your data, how long would it take your business to recover it and move forward in a data loss scenario?  Have you given much thought to what a disaster recovery plan should encompass for your company?  Here at Fulcrum Group, we've come too close for comfort with a potential disastrous scenario and know, firsthand, the benefits that come with working out a plan BEFORE disaster strikes.

Here's 7 things to consider when thinking about your own plan for business continuity:

1. Disaster recovery means more than backup.

Disaster recovery sounds a lot like data backup at first, but true recovery also encapsulates business continuity: data must be restored, and it must be restored quickly. Strong DRaaS needs to minimize the amount of data unavailable during any downtime, and it needs to maximize fast recovery time. Rather than simply ensuring that your data will be recovered, DRaaS should ensure that your data is available as much and as soon as possible throughout small hiccups and large disasters.

2. Disaster recovery is not necessarily included in cloud services.

The complexity of disaster recovery solutions places the service outside the realm of most cloud service plans, despite common assumptions. Many plans can assist with data backup and related services, but the majority of cloud service plans do not include complete DRaaS coverage.

3. Cloud makes DRaaS possible for SMBs.

Scale and innovation in the cloud are making disaster recovery available and inexpensive enough for small and medium businesses. Larger enterprises may have the in-house capabilities for on-site disaster recovery solutions, which essentially means doubling of infrastructure. Smaller organizations are finding comparable DRaaS possible in the cloud.

4. Most businesses need managed service providers to meet up-time demands.

Web and tech companies that are intrinsically dependent on the cloud will have the staff and resources to engineer their own disaster recovery solutions within the cloud. For the rest, using a managed service provider makes the most sense. When up-time and data availability are the chief concerns, it’s more important to have disaster recovery and business continuity handled by a third party than to devote such significant resources on-site.

5. Geo-redundancy is becoming the standard method.

Not only does the cloud go down more frequently than you might expect, but when it does, the outage can affect entire geographical regions. For this reason, redundancy across a second region helps ensure faster uptime—the outage affecting your primary region may well be affecting locations nearby. Businesses are used to having data backup sites within miles, but the cloud creates the need for both close backup and cross-region recovery sites. Be aware of choosing providers who utilize a truly redundant, geo-diverse approach. This means that the provider should have at least two identical, live environments that are running in diverse locations and on diverse networks. This will be especially important when true disaster strikes.

6. Diverse efforts help truly minimize downtime.

In reality, it takes more than just perfect DRaaS to keep your data safe and available at all times. For the fastest systems, most businesses need to employ load balancing and data migration solutions. These minimize the frequency and length of downtime due to difficulties during usage while disaster recovery services are there to protect against outages.

7. Overcoming latency places major strain on IT.

Understanding the hurdles facing IT departments helps shed light on why disaster recovery is an intensive, complex issue for IT departments. Most notably, engineers must deal with the fact that data can only be replicated in the cloud asynchronously because synchronous replication would slow down applications immensely while waiting for constant confirmation between sites. The cloud has the potential to answer the challenge of asynchronous replication, but it’s a new challenge to overcome.

A couple of weeks ago, we shared an invitation to a webinar on this very topic - "Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery In The Cloud" . In case you missed it, use the direct link to playback of webinar here.  As always, let us know if you have any questions - we're happy to help!