Updating your disaster recovery strategy for the cloud era

Cloud DR provides numerous advantages over conventional approaches.

"Better safe than sorry" is a cliche, but one that holds an important grain of truth about corporate disaster recovery (DR) strategies. Even a relatively short period of downtime, when critical resources are unavailable, can be enormously expensive. Gartner has estimated that one hour of downtime will cost an organization $300,000 on average, or $5,600 per minute. Accordingly, it pays to invest in reliable DR solutions that get your services back up and running as quickly as possible.

Disaster recovery solutions in the era of cloud computing

At the same time, many DR options are beyond the means of small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), resulting in many of them not having any strategies at all; 451 Research found that two-thirds of companies lacked concrete DR plans. DR is often one of the first expenses on the chopping block whenever an SMB needs to trim its budget. The logic for cutting is easy to follow, even if it doesn't make sense – why spend so much on something that will only rarely, if ever, be used?

Disasters are still widely perceived as something that happens to others, despite abundant evidence that they affect everyone eventually. First, we should clarify what "disaster" means. It doesn't refer exclusively to high-profile incidents triggered by fires, floods and tornadoes, but also encompasses less spectacular outages related to debilitating ransomware or minor technical glitches that spiral out of control.

Just last year, in 2017, ransomware reached new heights through threats such as WannaCry and NotPetya, showing a remarkable capacity to move between devices and render them inoperable if a steep ransom weren't paid (and maybe not even then). Dimension Research estimated ransomware attacks increased 350 percent year-over-year in 2017 and accounted for 7 percent of all malware, up from 1 percent in 2016.

In the context of a broadening threat surface, a lot of organizations aren't prepared, and it's not entirely their fault, either. Existing DR solutions and workflows are frequently pricey and complex. Teams need to set up remote sites and then manage them by making sure backups are current and that enough personnel will be available if and when disaster strikes. The overall difficulty of traditional DR is at odds with the growing convenience afforded by cloud computing – so why not combine DR and cloud?

Why cloud DR is the best option for most SMBs

Cloud-based DR is more flexible, reliable and cost-effective than all but the most sophisticated and well-rehearsed local recovery solutions. Here are just a few of the critical advantages it provides:

  • No need for a self-managed duplicate data center: Conventional DR entails setting up a second data center that will remain idle most of the time. With cloud, the provider manages this facility instead.
  • More manageable expenses: Cloud DR is usually packaged as an operating expense, meaning it's a subscription and customers only pay for what they actually use. In contrast, non-cloud DR requires significant upfront capital expenditures.
  • Superior performance: Cloud recovery solutions typically have numerous failsafe mechanisms that work in tandem with state-of-the-art data centers to enable service restoration in a matter of minutes, not hours or days.
  • Peace of mind: With cloud DR, it's much easier to ensure redundancy and not encounter situations such as having a recovery facility in the path of the same storm affecting a primary site, such as happened to many organizations during Hurricane Sandy in 2012.
  • Flexibility: Even if a company doesn't want to go all-in on cloud DR, it has options to set up hybrid deployments that combine cloud resources with local recovery so that, regardless of the disaster, infrastructure and operations teams can recover data and get critical systems back online.

There are many pieces to the DR puzzle, and it pays to have an experienced IT partner when navigating the possibilities. Paramount will provide the guidance you need to select and implement the solutions that fit your requirements, from DR to data center monitoring – contact our team today!