Best Practices for Creating a Cloud Disaster Recovery Plan
Any company can fall victim to a disaster that could spell the end of business. Power outages, hardware problems, human error, viruses and malware attacks all compromise companies and cause IT downtime. And let’s not forget natural disasters and other on-site disasters. The cost of this downtime is huge. It can permanently impact your business with lost productivity, delayed delivery of services and products, and an overall loss of customers and company reputation. Some businesses never recover.
Why Choose Cloud Disaster Recovery
When you implement a well-crafted cloud disaster recovery plan, you can mitigate the problems many businesses face when experiencing an outage. Cloud disaster recovery is beneficial, whether as a complete system or as part of an on-premise backup system. This type of disaster recovery ensures that mission-critical data can be kept off-site, so a localised disaster will not affect your most important information, allowing you to access and restore that data as soon as possible. This redundancy can very well save your business in the event of a major outage.
Cloud-based disaster recovery is scalable, which is also very advantageous for growing companies. Whether you are scaling up, or scaling down, a cloud-based system adjusts with your business, so you don’t have to invest in expensive backup equipment every time your service requirements increase.
This scalability is cost effective and efficient. You can rely on your cloud service provider’s equipment, saving your budget dollars for other IT needs.
Gartner predicts that by 2020, 90 per cent of disaster recovery operations will run in the cloud. Clearly, this is a solution that works for many businesses. By choosing a cloud disaster recovery plan, you are giving your company the best chance of coming through a disaster or outage as unscathed as possible.
Completing an Analysis and Developing a Plan
To know what you need in a cloud disaster recovery plan, you need to analyse your company, its data and what disasters you might face. Take inventory of all your important data and conduct a risk assessment: what risks might your company face, what will be the business impact if these risks come to life and what are you willing to tolerate?
Your plan also needs to cover what exactly will happen in the event of a disaster, with clear policies and procedures that individuals can follow.
A disaster recovery team, put in place in advance, can help implement this plan as quickly as possible, and ensure that your company’s staff has adequate training and regular assessments of the plan in place, before something bad happens.
The key is to have all of the considerations and decisions made before there is an actual disaster, so your company and its staff know exactly what to do to jump into disaster recovery mode, lessening the impact of an incident.
Testing your plan greatly increases confidence that it will work, but it is not done often enough. In our experience, fewer than half of companies test their plans, including disaster recovery tools, once a year. Many never test their plans at all. Be sure to regularly test your plan and tools at least twice a year!
Understanding What You Need from a Cloud Disaster Recovery Plan
All enterprises have different data protection requirements. Each cloud disaster recovery plan should be customized to your business needs. If you do not use a lot of digital data, for instance, you won’t need a company that only deals with large amounts of highly confidential and sensitive information.
Part of determining your cloud disaster recovery plan needs involves deciding if you are going to have a fully cloud-based system or whether you will use on-site machines that are duplicated to the cloud. This depends on your privacy and security needs, how much you have to spend and what type of services your preferred cloud computing provider offers.
For a robust cloud disaster recovery plan, you will need more than just storage.
Use Systems That Can Handle Your Data
A cloud disaster recovery plan is useless if your cloud service provider cannot handle your data, or if using that provider means your bandwidth costs are outrageous. If you can’t afford the cost of data backup, or all of your data is not backed up, recovery will be impaired. You will lose valuable time and money in the event of a disaster. A pay-as-you-go model can be beneficial for cloud disaster recovery planning, as you will only use the necessary bandwidth and only pay for what you are using.
There are also ways to keep an eye on your data consumption, whether you have your cloud provider alert you when you are reaching a higher rate than normal, or set your service to only back up data during off-peak hours, for example. When you have defined your disaster recovery needs, remember that this is not an area to try to skimp on. Your company needs effective and affordable data storage for disaster recovery. Be sure that your DR partner can provide exactly that.
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