Disaster Recovery in the Cloud: Planning for a Rainy Day

8/5/15 3:40 PM iCorps Technologies

Rainy-Day-Cloud

It’s nice to have options. And for organizations struggling with the very necessary but challenging process of disaster recovery (DR) planning, cloud technology offers important alternatives to address even the most persistent barriers posed by limited bandwidth in budget, physical space, and/or technical skills.

In its 2014 annual benchmark study, the Disaster Recovery Preparedness (DRP) Council reported that 73% of respondent organizations worldwide are not taking adequate steps to protect their data and IT systems.1

Among these “adequate steps” are proper planning – with crucial input from both business and IT leaders – to identify and prioritize critical business services and their dependencies such as people, systems, applications, data, and processes; setting appropriate recovery objectives for each; and testing to make sure that recovery is feasible.

Cloud-based disaster recovery services are making it easier than ever before for companies of all sizes to implement a DR strategy that will enable business to continue in the event of a disruption.

Here are three important ways the cloud is shifting the trend and enabling companies to raise the bar on their disaster preparedness:

Resources

Cloud DR services come pre-staffed with the technology expertise required to maintain the infrastructure for the provided services – as well as manage your assets as necessary. Depending on your own expertise and resource bandwidth, you can choose from cloud recovery services that offer full management of your assets (DR as a Service), or that share those management responsibilities to varying degrees (Infrastructure as a Service and Backup as a Service).

Many IT Companies and Managed Service Providers offer Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaas) which can bring total peace of mind for a small and mid-sized business. The approach does not always have to be all-cloud or all on-premise. For example, iCorps partners with Datto, a leading provider of data backup, recovery and business continuity solutions, to offer a hybrid cloud DR program – ensuring that local backups and recovery are done onsite through image-based backups and business continuity is achieved through backup and DR in the cloud.

Budget

Until recently, the investment in the hardware, software, time, and expertise required to implement a traditional DR strategy was something that only larger organizations could afford. But the cloud and virtualization are making enterprise-level protection available and affordable for companies of all sizes.

Cloud DR services eliminate much of the costs of traditional DR since the backup storage and computing infrastructure is provided, housed, and maintained by the cloud provider. With no need to invest in costly equipment or physical space, the majority of your costs are for asset storage – until you need them, at which point you pay compute fees based on actual usage.

Best Practices

In addition to comprehensive DR planning, testing is cited by the DRP Council as a best practice of companies with effective DR strategies, as determined by its research. “If you can’t test and verify your DR plans, you won’t have any clue as to whether you can fully recover your systems in the event of a disaster or an extended outage,” says founding member Steve Kahan in his DRP Council blog entry.2 Still, nearly one in four respondents to the DRP benchmark survey had never tested their DR plans.3

Hesitancy to test – or not testing at all – usually is a result of the impact this activity has on resources, machine time, and planned system downtime while the testing occurs. Testing in the cloud, though, is easier since the assets reside on a dedicated infrastructure and can be scheduled without impacting users or the business. Datto technology takes testing a step further through mock recovery by spinning up a virtual machine to verify that the backup can be booted in a disaster. 

Why Aren’t More Companies Moving to the Cloud?

According to an older, 2013 Spiceworks report4, IT pros were concerned about a lack of control and security when putting company information in the cloud.

A current, 2015 Spiceworks survey indicates that these concerns may be waning. Of the average budget allocated for cloud services, the report states that 13% is earmarked specifically for investment in online backup and recovery services. As for new purchases for cloud-based projects, online backup and recovery services are out ahead.5

The cloud-based DR services landscape is evolving, and provides companies with a variety of viable options for implementing a DR plan successfully and cost-effectively. Slowly and steadily, companies are recognizing that cloud DR services just may hold the key to their survival when that rainy day comes around.

disaster preparedness tips

 

1[Source: Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council. Disaster Recovery Preparedness Benchmark Survey 2014 Annual Report, http://drbenchmark.org/benchmark-survey/drp-annual-report/ 2014.]

2[Source: Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council Blog. The Good News: Best Practices Emerging from DR Preparedness Research, http://drbenchmark.org/the-good-news-best-practices-emerging-from-dr-preparedness-research/ Steve Kahan, February 24, 2014.]

3[Source: Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council. Disaster Recovery Preparedness Benchmark Survey 2014 Annual Report, http://drbenchmark.org/benchmark-survey/drp-annual-report/ 2014.]

4[Source: Spiceworks. Voice of IT Report. How SMBs Are Backing Up: Solutions, Trends & Challenges, http://itreports.spiceworks.com/reports/spiceworks_voice_of_it_backingupsmb_031112.pdf Deni Connor, March 2013]

5[Source: Spiceworks. The 2015 IT Budget Report, http://www.spiceworks.com/marketing/it-budget/report/ 2015]

With more than two decades of experience, the iCorps IT consulting team is dedicated to delivering excellence to our customers by staying ahead of market trends and understanding new technologies that could impact their business. iCorps delivers superior IT outsourcing, IT support and technology solutions implemented by the best consultants in the BostonPhiladelphia and New York (NY) areas.