Disaster recovery in the cloud

More and more businesses that would never go a second without disaster recovery for legacy systems are now finding themselves unprotected in the cloud. Here’s how to change that. Making the switch from traditional systems to the cloud is a major step, and many that are making the move believe that DR should be built into the cloud. Unfortunately, it is not.

Disasters can happen everywhere. Even in the cloud. Thankfully, a solid disaster preparedness plan can relieve most of the risk. According to the recent TechNavio Global Disaster Recovery Services Market 2015-2019 report, the global disaster recovery services market is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12.47 percent during the next four years. The biggest drivers for this growth are the increase in natural disasters, the significant effect of data loss on businesses, and the adoption of cloud-based disaster recovery solutions.

Virtualization technology in disaster recovery solutions and increased adoption of hybrid cloud has allowed for implementation at a rapid rate. Although most cloud service providers do a fair job of making data recovery easy, you could be missing out on capabilities that truly define disaster recovery plan.

In this blog, I will cover the 3 steps to solving the disaster recovery problem in the cloud and go over steps to ensure security throughout the whole process.

3 Steps to Solving Disaster Recovery in the Cloud

There is a new array of cloud-ready and cloud-delivered disaster recovery systems that can replace existing traditional disaster recovery systems. Features can help to improve recovery times with an automated failover/failback process that mitigates costly downtime, while enabling business continuity.

These new options that have become available have given disaster recovery a much-needed facelift. These disaster recovery options provide new capabilities to match how we are doing computing these days, including cloud and mobile. Here are three steps that you should complete to design an effective disaster recovery system:

#1 Understand Your Backup Needs

The first step to creating an effective disaster recovery system is to understand:

  • What information needs to be backed up
  • Why that information needs to be backed up
  • How that information will be backed up

Many people tasked with disaster recovery do not fully understand what they are dealing with, and often get into hot water unless the data is copied with purpose and content in mind. Your organization cannot afford to neglect backup or disaster recovery.

If it takes hours to retrieve lost data after an accidental deletion or disaster, your employees and/or customers will sit idle, unable to complete sales or business-critical processes that rely on your technology. This could result in major financial and reputational losses.

If it takes days to bring your business back online, then you may have permanently lost customers. Given the amount of time and money you could lose in both cases, investments in backup and disaster recovery are completely justified.

Understanding these few essential terms can help to transform your strategic decisions and result in a better backup and disaster recovery system:

  • Recovery Time Objective (RTO)is the amount of time it takes to recover normal business operations after an outage. As you look to set your RTO, you’ll need to consider how much time you’re willing to lose—and the impact that time will have on your bottom line.
  • Recovery Point Objective (RPO) refers to the amount of data you can afford to lose in a disaster. You might need to copy data to a remote data center continuously so that an outage will not result in any data loss. Or you might decide that losing five minutes or one hour of data would be acceptable.
  • Failoveris the disaster recovery process of automatically offloading tasks to backup systems in a way that is seamless to users.
  • Failback is the disaster recovery process of switching back to the original systems. Once the disaster has passed and your primary data center is back up and running, you should be able to fail back seamlessly as well.
  • Restore is the process of transferring backup data to your primary system or data center. The restore process is generally considered part of backup rather than disaster recovery.
  • Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)is a managed approach to disaster recovery. A third-party hosts and manages the infrastructure used for disaster recovery.

#2 Document Disaster Recovery Activities

Disaster recovery requires documentation. Keep a playbook that defines the disaster recovery activities that need to occur each day, week, month, and year. Determine what needs to be saved and why. Also determine what is no longer necessary to keep, like past customer or employee information. Consider compliance while reviewing this documentation.

With this in mind, here are a couple of items that your disaster recovery playbook should include:

Roles During a Disaster

Roles change and employees come and go. This is something that should be reviewed constantly. In the event of a disaster, you must act swiftly. There should be a detailed outline of everyone’s responsibilities for specific disasters (power failures, natural disasters, malicious attacks, or other data incidents).

If you still have a former employee listed here and have yet to update the document with your new hire’s information, this delays your organization by that much more time.

A managed disaster recovery provider can help you build the perfect system for your company. These professionals can limit the damage that occurs during a disaster that is unique to your industry and organization.

Create a Communication Plan

Create a communication plan that will allow you and your team to stay connected, even if you are physically separated. Consider implementing an online collaboration tool to keep your people connected, wherever they may be, using any device. Apps like Slack, Skype, Facebook Messenger, and even Google Drive can help with that.

While a communication plan does not require as much consistent review like roles of employees do, it is still important to ensure the plan is relevant and current. Does a meeting need to take place immediately to evaluate the facts?

Whatever the situation might be, outline a communication pattern, so the right people are notified in time. Leaving employees and customers in the dark for too long can have lasting negative effects.

Create Recovery Strategies for IT

Important components like the network, servers, desktops, laptops and other wireless devices should have separate recovery strategies. The ability to return both the office productivity and enterprise software back to normal is critical. You cannot have one without the other. Recovery strategies for IT should be developed so technology can be restored with little to no downtime.

Partnering with a business continuity and disaster recovery specialist is recommended. Colocation providers can help your business maintain continuous operations with disaster recovery solutions deployed in their world-class, redundant data centers.

#3 Pick Disaster Recovery Solutions that Support What You’ve Determined Thus Far

Pick a disaster recovery solution that is both proactive to potential events and progressive when dealing with emerging technology, such as the growing movement of the cloud.

For most organizations, backup and disaster recovery strategies are absolutely critical to maintain the health of the business. Just because you have made the move to the cloud, does not mean you are automatically protected against disasters.

As you evaluate providers and their solutions, consider exploring managed and cloud-based services, which can help you control complexity and cost.

Choose the Right Cloud Provider

Your choice of cloud provider is especially important. An MSP provider who limits you or insists on a single cloud provider, usually AWS or Azure, does so because they get kick backs with that specific cloud. This is not necessarily in the customer’s best interest because none of the hyperscaled public clouds, AWS, Azure, or Google Cloud, makes their money from customizing SLAs for millions of customers. Again, understandable for them. Not the best choice for you.

You need an MSP and cloud provider who will work with your specific priorities for your applications. From a dedicated physical infrastructure to a virtual delivery model, LightEdge has got the compliant cloud and hosting solution for your organization. Retain the level of control you want, and the amount of data isolation you require.

By selecting a cloud-based backup or disaster recovery offering, you can avoid the large capital investment for infrastructure as well as the costs of managing the environment. In addition, you gain rapid scalability plus the geographic distance necessary to keep data safe in the event of a regional disaster.

Prioritize Reliability

When considering disaster recovery solutions, look for a service and a provider that is reliable. The last thing you want is your failover to not kick in, or never receive an alert for a manual failover.

With LightEdge, when you need us, you get a live tech at all times—no exceptions. The facilities have 24/7/365 access to our Network Operations Center (NOC) technicians that provide onsite support with the highest levels of security and reliability. Our disaster recovery and colocation services are available when you need it most.

Regulatory Compliance

After disaster recovery events, most industries have regulatory obligations regarding reporting, documentation, and future protection against further instances. Whether HIPAA and HITRUST or PCI DSS, if your business is subject to regulations which require reporting after an outage or breach, this is a must-include item.

Improve your risk mitigation and compliance story with LightEdge’s technology, people, and processes to expand your IT security team’s capabilities.

Disaster Recovery Security

Through disaster recovery, security can reduce downtime and provide 24/7 access to business-critical data. During a recovery, is your organization’s storage secure?  Hackers and cybercriminals know to attack when enterprise systems are the most vulnerable.

Aim for a multilayer security approach to secure disaster recovery. “A prime directive for a secure disaster recovery operation should be to maintain the same security standards in place for normal business operations,” said Greg Arnette, director of data protection platform strategy at Barracuda Networks.

Let us Help Solve Disaster Recovery in the Cloud for You

What would happen to your mission critical infrastructure and data if a disaster were to hit this very second? Are you prepared? If not, or if you’re in need of a better disaster recovery solution. Thankfully, LightEdge can help. Now that modern IT practices have started to blend physical with virtual, and cloud with on-premises, safeguarding your applications and data requires several tools and methods.

LightEdge is committed to keeping our customers’ IT operations, critical applications, and data protected. We provide the technology and resources our customers require to get back to a production state that meets their RTO and RPO requirements.

LightEdge offers a comprehensive set of disaster recovery solutions to ensure uninterrupted performance of IT operations and mission-critical systems in the event of a disaster.

The reliable availability of business IT is essential to the management and livelihood of every company, large or small. All elements hinge on the dependability of your technology to deliver vital information right when you need it.

Redundancy is built into each of our data centers located in Des MoinesKansas CityOmaha, Austin and Raleigh  facilities. Each of our LightEdge facilities strive to deliver more than traditional data centers. We have created true Hybrid Solution Centers designed to offer a complete portfolio of high speed, secure, redundant, local cloud services and managed gateways to public clouds through our hardened facilities.

Want to learn more about LightEdge’s disaster recovery and business continuity services? Contact one of our disaster recovery experts to get started or to schedule your private tour of any of our data center facilities. We have disaster recovery, colocation, and business continuity experts standing by to answer any of your questions.


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