Disaster recovery (DR) is the process of restoring affected data and systems after a technical disaster. Technical disasters may include hacks, accidents, server meltdowns, or natural disasters like fires or floods. Cloud disaster recovery is this process for cloud environments.
The good news is that cloud servers are less prone to disasters. Online data is less likely to be affected by physical problems and cloud data generally has more backups. Still, cloud computing requires specific disaster recovery strategies to address its specific challenges.
For this reason, your standard disaster recovery plan may or may not suit the cloud. So, you may want to revise your DR plan to address cloud-based disaster recovery. If you aren’t sure how, this article serves as your starting point for creating your cloud DR strategies.
Why is Disaster Recovery in Cloud Computing Different?
With cloud computing, your network infrastructure may span across multiple locations. This is especially true if you’re working with a public or hybrid cloud. Therefore, you need a recovery plan that encompasses every location where your data is stored. Traditional DR may not have this capacity.
On the other hand, cloud-based DR is easier to automate. All data is stored online, so you’re more likely to find software applications that can help if disaster strikes. Still, this wouldn’t help in the event of a major server failure, which is why it’s important to backup your data in a secondary data center.
What Should You Include in a Cloud Disaster Recovery Plan?
Many aspects of a cloud disaster recovery plan would also apply to a traditional one. The main difference is what needs to be considered within each aspect.
The main aspects of any disaster recovery plan are as follows:
Business Impact Analysis (BIA)
This involves identifying which aspects of your cloud environment are critical to business operations. It also considers how much server downtime would affect your productivity.
Your risk assessment considers your server’s potential vulnerabilities. This depends on what type of cloud server you’re using and the data you hold. For example, if you transmit data to a public cloud, interception during transmission may be a risk.
Recovery Time Objective (RTO)
RTO is the amount of time you can lose before it causes a severe impact on your business. This helps you determine how much time your DR team can spend fixing a down cloud environment.
Recovery Point Objective (RPO)
RPO is the amount of data you can lose before it impacts your business. Of course, the goal should always be to minimize data loss as much as possible. However, having this window can help you maximize time and productivity if some data is irrecoverable.
Roles and Responsibilities
It’s important to clearly define who is responsible for what. This helps prevent miscommunication and ensure that there is always someone available for any aspect of your DR process.
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This includes step-by-step guidelines on how to recover data, restore systems, and bring operations back online. Your experts should have a good idea on how to do this, but it always helps to have clear instructions laid out.
Data Backup Strategy
Clearly define how often you need to back up your data and where to back it up. You should have multiple copies stored in multiple locations. Be sure to establish an update schedule so that your backup data stays current.
Failover and Failback Procedures
These procedures describe how you can switch operations over to secondary systems in the event of a failure. It should also state how to switch back to your primary system once it has recovered.
Like most technology, DR is an evolving process. As updates happen, you will need to adjust your plan as required. Be prepared to re-evaluate your plan on a regular basis and set a schedule to do so.
Now, here are some additional considerations that matter specifically for cloud computing.
|Business Impact Analysis (BIA)||Consider the impact of a disaster in a virtual environment and your business’s dependency on cloud-based applications.|
|Risk Assessment||Remember to also evaluate risks and vulnerabilities unique to cloud computing.|
|Recovery Time Objective (RTO)||RTO might change based on your cloud provider’s recovery capabilities and Service Level Agreement (SLA).|
|Recovery Point Objective (RPO)||With cloud-based systems, it’s possible to have more frequent data backups that can reduce RPO.|
|Roles and Responsibilities||Clear definition of the shared responsibilities between the organization and the cloud service provider.|
|Recovery Procedures||Consider virtual resources and multi-region failover capabilities.|
|Data Backup Strategy||Consider including multi-region redundancy and automated backup procedures as needed.|
|Failover and Failback Procedures||You may be able to failover and failback across multiple geographic locations.|
|Testing||The ability to conduct disaster recovery testing without disrupting the live environment is more flexible in a cloud environment.|
Need Help With Your Disaster Recovery Solution?
If you’re new to the cloud, planning a cloud-specific disaster recovery plan can be overwhelming. Yet, it’s a crucial aspect of your migration process, especially if you need to abide by compliance standards.
Outsource Solutions Group employs an expert team of cloud consultants. We are happy to guide you through disaster recovery planning, cloud migrations, and cloud management. If you don’t have the time or resources to do any of it yourself, you can trust our managed services to take full responsibility.
Reach out to OSG to get started today.