Operating within a data-driven world means that the majority, if not all, of your important business resources are stored digitally in the cloud via physical servers. Cloud data storage makes this information easy to access, update and transfer with the touch of a button.
However, with the convenience of digitization comes the threat of losing that data when disaster occurs. The top reasons for data loss include human error, power disruption, hardware failure, software corruption and cyber theft.
Thanks to cloud backup solutions, you can ensure that your data is retrievable and restored without interrupting your business operations. Read on to learn more about cloud disaster recovery (DR) and the many benefits it can provide for your organization.
Cloud Disaster Recovery vs. Traditional Disaster Recovery
Cloud disaster recovery refers to a cloud-based managed service that enables the rapid recovery of your crucial systems when data loss occurs. With cloud DR, you can remotely access your data via your cloud network. A traditional disaster recovery approach, on the other hand, requires physical infrastructure, which is more costly and complex and requires more downtime when disaster strikes.
When comparing these two disaster recovery methods, cloud DR is often the more straightforward and accessible solution. Unlike traditional DR, cloud DR capabilities can be rapidly scaled up or down without purchasing new equipment. With cloud DR, there’s also no one point of failure, since you can store backup data in various geographical locations. Traditional DR carries higher capital expenditure costs since it requires physical hardware to be maintained, managed and monitored, and expanding your on-site servers can become very expensive over time.
Approaches to Cloud Disaster Recovery
Once you settle on pursuing a cloud disaster recovery solution, there are several different approaches you can take to implement your plan.
There are three key approaches to cloud disaster recovery:
- Cloud disaster recovery through a managed service provider (MSP)
- Cloud-based backup and restore
- Replication in the cloud
With cloud DR through a managed service provider, your business works with a third-party company that takes on the responsibility of your disaster recovery. This approach allows you to focus on day-to-day business operations and objectives while leaving the complex technicalities to the experts.
The cloud-based backup and restore method takes a hybrid approach to cloud DR, with original data and applications remaining on-premises while backup data is stored in the cloud. When data loss occurs, the backup data from the cloud is restored to the on-premises hardware. This recovery method can be more daunting, particularly if large amounts of data need to be restored on-site within a short period of time.
If you require an approach that has the best recovery time objectives (RTO) and recovery point objectives (RPO), then replication in the cloud may be the best method for your business. RTO concerns how fast recovery takes, while RPO refers to the point from which you want to recover. This approach enables replicating cloud virtual machines to produce a data backup, as well as a second copy of the data in the event of a data disaster. While effective, replication in the cloud is one of the more complex ways to manage cloud DR.
Benefits of Cloud Disaster Recovery
The benefits of using cloud disaster recovery solutions are wide-ranging. Not only can having a cloud DR plan in place help you restore critical data when a loss occurs, but it can also deliver the following advantages:
Whereas traditional recovery approaches often require you to repair or replace hardware and other on-site equipment to address data loss, cloud disaster recovery software enables you to get your systems back online quickly following an IT disruption.
With cloud disaster recovery solutions, you can frequently test your networks without disrupting your systems. As a result, you can depend on your optimized recovery plan to work how and when you need it.
Flexible pricing options
Cloud backup solutions offer much more flexibility when it comes to costs than traditional methods of data recovery. Particularly when using the MSP approach, your company can pay for services and resources as you go via recurring monthly charges. As your needs change, so do your monthly fees.
Quick and easy setup and deployment
Once you decide to implement the disaster recovery component of your business continuity plan, you can get started quickly without needing time or capital to invest in hardware, software or physical on-site server locations. If you team up with an MSP, they will provide disaster recovery testing and help you with your business continuity planning.
Creating a Cloud Disaster Recovery Plan
You can create the cloud disaster recovery plan that’s best for your company in just a few simple steps.
Step 1: Analyze your risks
First, conduct an all-encompassing risk assessment and impact analysis of your current IT infrastructure. Identify any vulnerabilities that could lead to or be affected by an IT disaster. Part of your analysis should include determining your workload recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO). This information will help you select the cloud disaster recovery software that is most appropriate.
Step 2: Select an approach
Next, choose the method of recovery you wish to implement, whether that includes teaming up with an MSP, utilizing disaster restoration to or from the cloud or data recovery via cloud-to-cloud virtual machines.
Step 3: Choose a cloud provider and MSP
If you choose to go the route of cloud data recovery via MSP, this is the point where you would select the provider that fits your needs. Look for MSPs that prioritize helping you configure your processes, assist with recovery in the event of an outage, strategically plan for the future and account for growth.
Step 4: Implement your plan
Work with your MSP and/or cloud backup software to put your recovery plan in place. Every plan requires four critical components accounted for during implementation: prevention, preparation, response and recovery.
Step 5: Test regularly
Before disaster strikes, test your systems annually for pitfalls and vulnerabilities. Even if you find problems during testing, this will enable you to make the changes needed to prevent critical data loss in the event of a cyber security attack.
Are you interested in creating a custom cloud disaster plan to keep your company’s data and IT resources protected? Learn about Scantron’s cloud disaster recovery solutions by contacting a member of our team today.