By JP BlahoLet’s face it. We are always online in one form or another. If I am not watching television, checking mail, or using one of the 44 apps I have on my smartphone, then I am probably sleeping. Because of these use patterns, the demands on application availability are on the rise, and data is exploding. So let’s think about these two forces and how they impact disaster recovery (DR) planning for your businesses. These forces increase the DR workload for IT staff. As a result, your IT staff may be spending more time on DR instead of supporting strategic and revenue-generating projects. In other words, IT is only helping to maintain the business, not grow the business.
Cloud disaster recovery may be the answer
How do you overcome tight budgets and leaner IT staff when you are constantly being asked to do more with less? Well, you might consider “out-tasking” DR management by using cloud-based disaster recovery services.
Cloud disaster recovery services are being recognized for their ability to overcome limitations that affect some of the more traditional DR approaches. In recent years, for example, large-scale natural disasters such as Hurricanes Irene and Sandy in the US exposed flaws in infrastructure availability for many companies, as well as gaps in their DR plans. However, cloud DR services helped many companies recover during these disasters by providing off-site data storage, replication, and mirrored facilities.
Benefits of cloud disaster recovery
One benefit of using the technological capabilities of cloud DR services is that the cloud DR provider is responsible for the management of all backup equipment and storage systems. Since companies are constantly adding more devices (secondary site hot spares and storage devices) due to the increasing need for data, IT resources are being disproportionately impacted. Using a cloud DR service, however, the administration, management, and maintenance of the equipment in your recovery site is handled by the provider, not your IT staff. This eliminates the burden and overhead to your business.
A qualified cloud disaster recovery provider can reduce the time and drive down the costs of carrying out such management chores compared to doing the same work internally. What’s more, service providers will utilize documented best practices, dedicated and trained professionals, and invest in recovery automation tools. Unless you’re in the business of disaster recovery, there’s almost zero chance that you would invest in any of these tools yourself.
Don’t forget about change management
Another area where a provider could free up IT staff time involves change management. With today’s highly virtualized environments, and constant stream of patches, updates, and OS upgrades, keeping a backup site in sync with a production environment adds to an IT staff’s workload. Here again, a suitably chosen cloud DR service provider would be able to help. For example, a provider might institute change management procedures to ensure all modifications in a production environment are carried over to the backup environment.
One theme that I keep noticing after both major disasters and everyday outages is that many companies simply do not have the time or the staffing power to update DR plans and conduct tests on a regular basis. The results of one recent study found that 90 percent of IT decision makers believe their data is vulnerable in a disaster.
Consider a cloud disaster recovery provider
A suitable cloud disaster recovery provider could provide the workers and expertise to help evaluate risks, conduct a business impact analysis, and develop a DR plan. The provider’s staff could then help with putting recovery processes into place, testing the plans, and ensuring services can be restored in the timeframes needed. Out-tasking these items to a cloud DR provider frees up your IT staff for other work.
Considering these factors, cloud-based DR services offer an alternative to legacy DR approaches and are ideal for some organizations that could not previously afford to implement disaster recovery or found it to be too time-consuming a task.
To make sure your company can ride out the next disaster or outage, download a free Business Continuity Toolkit now.