In today’s digital world, the threat to digital assets is very real and should be taken seriously. There are malicious actors out there working day and night, strategizing their next attack. Natural disasters are events that need to be considered and planned for, like hurricanes or floods. Technology has become a core function of business and it needs to be safeguarded at all costs.
This is why a sound disaster recovery strategy is paramount for every business. A good plan will consider hardware, software and data recovery should the unthinkable happen. The global intelligence firm IDC estimates that the total cost of unplanned application downtime per hour is $100,000 per hour for a non-critical application for a Fortune 1000 company. A critical application can cost between $500,000 and $1 million per hour. That’s a lot of money and a big blow to business and brand and consumer confidence.
In order to establish air-tight disaster recovery plans, businesses need to assess, as part of their business impact analysis, how much data they can afford to lose as well as how quickly they need recovery of infrastructure to happen in relation to their business operations.
This is otherwise known as the RTO and RPO. Recovery Time Objective and Recovery Point Objective markers should be included in business continuity planning for disaster recovery. These are the optimum resumption points of business processes within a set timeframe should the unthinkable happen. In order to calculate these, factors such as the sensitivity and urgency of the information stored by the company needs to be considered. Other factors also include compliance, as well as the costs associated with the loss of operations.
The pandemic and the emergence of the cloud
If there is one thing we can learn from the pandemic, it is that businesses need to plan and be ready if disaster strikes. When the pandemic hit, businesses scrambled. There was no way to foresee what happened. Almost two years in and virtual desktops and cloud solutions have become the backbone of this new digital workforce. Working from home is now very much the norm.
Cloud technology and cloud storage supports the phasing out of hardware and physical office spaces from business by outsourcing technology services. This is what cloud technology is, it an on-demand technology service catered to your business. Businesses then only need to pay for the resources they require on a monthly basis.
Working from home is now business as usual. But just because the pandemic and a new way of working has been established, that doesn’t mean businesses can sit back and relax. Disaster recovery must be taken on with a proactive rather than a reactive approach.
The cloud has revolutionized disaster recovery
In the old days, businesses would have to back up on physical tape. Then if something went wrong with an on-premises server, recovery of digital or physical infrastructure was a manual, resource-intensive process. Not to mention the staff required to implement and support it. But those days are now gone with cloud technology. Cloud disaster recovery is a fast, reliable, and cost-effective recovery solution.
This is because cloud technology is built in a way that it can be accessed from anywhere around the world. Cloud services are accessed through cloud service providers like Microsoft and Amazon, and these companies have fields of servers located all over the world. If one of those servers fails, resources are just reallocated to other servers because these providers keep multiple backups of your cloud infrastructure. This is something to consider since power outages are still one of the major causes of business system downtime.
One of the strengths of cloud technology is its scalability. If one day a business wants to try something new, they can easily add new resources with a few clicks, like a database for example. This isn’t a problem for cloud disaster recovery because it backs up the business’s entire infrastructure which can be mostly virtual, like a virtual server or network for example.
The headache of disaster recovery has become simpler, so businesses don’t have to waste precious resources managing it. This is because cloud technology is flexible and provides access to many powerful disaster recovery tools and solutions, sometimes referred to as Disaster Recovery as a Service (DaaS). According to analyst firm IDC, the market for cloud-based DR is expected to be worth US$4.9bn in 2021, with a 16.7% growth rate through to 2024.
The benefits of cloud disaster recovery
Compared to having an on-premises server and backup solution, which requires staff to manage, cloud solutions and backup storage have very minimal outlay. Cloud providers like Microsoft and Amazon are responsible for keeping their servers safe and secure so businesses don’t have to worry about those costs. Their data centers create multiple backups including off-site replication in locations all over the world with backups stored for up to ninety years. With cloud technology the risk of downtime compared to an on-premises solution is greatly reduced if not eliminated altogether. This increases the reliability of the business and business brand.
Cloud options also provide solutions for public clouds, which are managed by companies like Amazon or Microsoft, or private on-premises solutions. Or a hybrid approach can be used, with both private and public options. This way businesses who want to retain more control but still want the benefits of cloud technology can do so. These can be created, managed and configured with products such as Microsoft Azure which can act as both Infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-service (PaaS).
Cloud recovery is cheaper than physically duplicating an environment, which is what is needed for on-premises servers. Recovery is faster than recovering from tape, which is what was traditionally required. The virtualization environments provided by cloud technologies means that virtual servers can be restored instantly as opposed to physical on-premises servers that need to be built one building block at a time.
Cloud recovery and Managed Service Providers (MSPs)
The managing of cloud services can also be done through Managed Service Providers (MSPs) who are experts in not only cloud technology but cyber security and disaster recovery. These experts can assess each unique business as they have seen it all and can provide advice on the best cloud technology and disaster recovery strategy for your business. They can also produce a cloud disaster recovery plan and manage it, further alleviating the headache for businesses to have to employ in-house staff. There will be very minimal on-site maintenance required.
MSPs employee certified staff with specialized skills. They can not only provide a plan and configure your cloud service to ensure maximum security, but they can also monitor cloud environments and look out for anything unexplainable. They can sometimes catch problems before they happen. To add to this, they can offer 24×7 support. You know you are in good hands when you have staff working for you who have had experience managing all sorts of disaster and recovery situations which would be expensive to hire in-house. If a business opts for a hybrid or private cloud options, these can also be physically located with the MSP.
Cloud environments are great, but they are not perfect, so it pays to have experts that know what they are doing support the business and keep any potential problems at bay.
Cloud technology is the way of the future and increases the flexibility of a business, making it cost-effective, adaptable, and resilient to whatever may get thrown at it. Experts in disaster recovery and cloud technologies can help businesses plan to avoid data loss and promote business continuity. Talk to the experts at Technology Solutions to find out how they can help.