Disaster Recovery in the Cloud
The cloud is no longer a mere curiosity. Businesses, working professionals and average web users rely on cloud services to access and share data on a daily basis. But what happens if your cloud data is no longer secure, or if a server crashes on all of your data is lost? Can you recover lost data? Can you eliminate and repair damage caused by a massive security breach?
While these are the kinds of questions cloud computing critics are asking, you’d be surprised how many businesses haven’t even considered the implications of potential disasters. In fact, Gartner – the IT research firm – claims that only 35 percent of all businesses have a disaster recovery plan in place, and even fewer have a plan that will actually be effective in the event of a data crisis. Additionally, Gartner estimates that downtime can cost most companies upwards of $84,000 per hour. Most companies that experience regular downtime will not recover lost business. In short, your company cannot afford to ignore the importance of effective disaster recovery solutions.
What is Disaster Recovery?
Before you define disaster recovery, you must define what constitutes a disaster. In the IT world, a disaster is anything and everything that disrupts the continuity of your service. This could be anything from a natural disaster to a denial of service attack on your dedicated server. Disaster recovery refers to the use of collective resources to minimize downtime, and get your cloud services and applications up and running in the shortest time possible.
Four Steps to Better Disaster Recover Plan (DRP) Execution
1. Test Your Plan – Even the best companies who have the best DRP in place have no real metrics for determining the plan’s effectiveness. It’s not enough to simply have a plan, but you must test the plan to ensure that it will get your cloud service up and running quickly. A poorly executed DRP is just as useless as no plan at all.
2. Backup Everything – Most cloud disasters result in the loss of massive data sets that are seemingly unrecoverable. Your DRP will be useless if you don’t have solid backups of everything. Migrate all of your backups to an off-site cloud backup system, and then commit to stop using tape drives for all eternity.
3. Set Realistic Goals – One major problem with any DRP is setting unrealistic objectives. If you don’t have the resources or IT staff to handle a major cloud disaster, don’t lie to yourself and your IT department by employing disaster recovery objectives that completely unattainable. It’s OK to start small.
4. Keep Your DRP Current – As with anything in your IT environment, your DRP is not a set-it-and-forget-it solution. Revisit your DRP regularly. Check it to see if there is anything that is completely outdated and useless. Keeping your DRP up to date prevents another disaster: the complete failure of your disaster recovery efforts.
The cloud’s security will likely be under scrutiny for as long as the technology is considered “emerging,” but it will ultimately result in a more secure, future-proof system.