Business continuity is important for every company that greatly relies on its online resources, and IT infrastructure. In fact, for a number of companies, every single hour of downtime directly translates into a revenue loss. Therefore, companies should devise a plan to avoid downtime by making use of cloud backup and disaster recovery services.
However, organisations are encouraged to do some due diligence before signing up for cloud backups and disaster recovery services. Some factors they may want to consider include: SLA details, data centre location, software features, data compliance considerations, data security, and the history of the company that is providing the cloud services.
Rarely Used Data
Data is growing at an exponential rate. Some organisations have reported that their data is doubling every year, while admittedly, they had no idea how much of this growing data was being used by their employees. A quick look into their data may reveal that most of the data is sitting in hard drives and/or tape drives and is rarely accessed. IT department is not willing to permanently remove this data from their systems for fear that the data might be needed in the future for any reason (for instance: for trends, analysis, legal discoveries, etc.). When huge amounts of data is rarely-used, cloud-based archiving is the best solution, because the cost of in-house data centre facilities and storage is more costly than storing it on the cloud.
With the average cost of downtime running into thousands of Euros, data availability and operational uptime has become mission-critical. While businesses realise the value of setting up disaster recovery, they also understand that the high cost and complexity associated with traditional disaster recovery. Fortunately, new cloud based backup and disaster recovery solutions are being broadly offered to satisfy business continuity strategy needs.
Therefore, SMBs should consider the cloud as their primary solution for disaster recovery. Unlike large corporations, SMBs are financially restricted to implement a full-fledged cloud backup and recovery solution in their own data centres; instead, they usually opt out for a cloud based backup and disaster recovery solutions.
Backup Vs Disaster Recovery
A backup is a simple process in which you create a “backup” of your mission-critical data either on a secondary on-site computer system or at a cloud server, which is known as Cloud backup. It’s widely used, not just by the big and small businesses, but even by individuals across the world.
Disaster recovery, on the other hand, is a comprehensive strategy that takes into account all the aspects of a business that can be affected during a disaster and how recovery can be achieved while meeting the recovery time objectives (RTO). Here, disaster doesn’t mean just a natural disaster such as a flood, earthquake, etc., but rather, any event that causes company downtime and prevent business continuity. Examples include: cyber-attacks, human error, UPS failure, data corruption, etc.
One of the biggest advantages of upgrading from a basic cloud backup and online storage system to a full-fledged disaster recovery service is that you can set a really short RTO. In a backup system, the data from your servers is copied to another location. So, in an event of downtime, the entire data is restored which can easily take hours or even days! However, in a quality disaster recovery service, your primary servers are mirrored. So, if or when an unfortunate situation arises, you don’t have to recover the data from scratch. You can simply start using the mirror servers. These virtual servers can be made operational within minutes.
A backup system, especially, one that’s on-site, is never 100% reliable. On premise backed up data is not a real backup. Disaster recovery is a comprehensive and robust management tool that has provisions for all kinds of disasters. It also makes use of frequent “mock disasters”, which allow you to test your system in advance and patch any anomalies and security vulnerabilities that you come across.
Needless to say, if you truly care about your company data and customers, and don’t want to take chances with the IT compliance standards, the violation of which could attract heavy fines, then moving from a basic cloud based backup system to a well planned and executed cloud backup and disaster recovery is extremely important.
Cloud backup and disaster recovery brings data visibility to the forefront, as such data could be better leveraged for additional business, making it easier to manage and understand risks and challenges around storage growth, data classification, and dormant data.
Disaster recovery can help you eliminate the need to replicate your environment to a secondary data centre. Replicated virtual machines can be pushed efficiently. With virtual machines replicated off-site to any geographic storage regions, downtime can be minimised.
Business continuity is very important for a company’s cash flow and survival. You need to make sure that disaster recovery testing is performed periodically, and making sure that such testing provision is captured in the SLA.
It is clear that downtime costs for the most data centre-dependent businesses are rising faster than average. Although some organisations are content with having cloud backup services, studies show that cloud backups in tandem with disaster recovery services is what makes an organisation’s data reliable and secure. It is worth noting that if proper disaster recovery is implemented, companies could quickly recover from a disaster, with a guaranteed RTO and RPO.
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