Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery in the Cloud

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A business’s data and applications are susceptible to many types of disaster, including hardware failures, natural catastrophes, human error or malicious hacking. These events can cripple productivity or, in the worst-case scenario, put a company out of business. Fortunately, with the right technology in place, businesses can protect their critical information and remain operational through even the most severe emergencies. The best way to ensure the safety and availability of your business’s IT infrastructure is with an effective business continuity and disaster recovery (BC/DR) plan and program.

While traditional DR methods are still valid, cloud computing offers a more cost-effective and simpler alternative to investing in secondary sites and redundant hardware. In addition, a business can save on upfront capital costs by moving to a pay-as-you-go model for some types of cloud technology.

disaster recovery in the cloud focuses on ensuring reliable and immediate access to business-critical data and applications following an emergency event, whether it be natural, man-made or internal. This approach enables organizations to reduce costs, increase speed and scale, and avoid long downtime periods.

A business can implement cloud DR by storing backup data and application images in a public or private cloud. This can be done using backup as a service, disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS), and infrastructure as a service (IaaS).

These solutions enable organizations to recover workloads to the cloud after a disaster and then move them back on-premises when normal operations resume. They also provide 24×7/365 provider managed automation and orchestration tactics that can switch over from a primary site to a secondary in minutes. This provides a seamless, user-friendly and automated process that helps to significantly reduce IT resources required for failover and recovery.

Despite the benefits of cloud disaster recovery, many companies are not sure how to integrate it into their business continuity and DR plans. This is especially true for small and midsize businesses that may have been relying on their provider to provide an integrated DR solution.

The first step in an effective BC/DR plan is a thorough analysis of the business’s IT infrastructure and data. This should include a risk assessment, impact analysis and a look at what would happen if the organization lost critical data or applications. Once this analysis is complete, a detailed implementation can be planned that addresses prevention, preparedness and response.

To prevent downtime, it is important to have a plan in place that includes backups of the entire server image. This will allow a quick recovery of a virtual server image that is delta-synced with the original server during steady state. Adding encryption to the data at rest and in transit also helps protect the organization from viruses and cyberattacks. In addition to this, the business should consider its RTO and RPO — the amount of time the organization can afford to lose data in the event of a disaster. This can help determine what level of DR protection is necessary. Then, a business can begin to evaluate the cloud DR options that best fit its needs.

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