The future of Disaster Recovery, the pros and cons of cloud-based recovery, best practices and predictions for 2018
Organisations of all sizes struggle with making their Disaster Recovery strategy a top priority, whether because of time, effort, cost or skills involved. But that is exactly what they should be doing to protect their business.
Predictions for 2018 are that many businesses will make Disaster Recovery one of their top priorities, particularly in the C-Suite.
1. What are your Disaster Recovery predictions for 2018?
Our Disaster Recovery predictions for 2018 are that DR plans and strategies will become an even more important focus in the C-Suite. As incidents occur that gain major media attention and the impact is seen, the attention on DR will continue to increase. No one wants to spend time and money on insurance, but we all do because we understand the impact of not having it – and DR is the same.
GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is already driving significant change in how organisations manage and protect their data and supporting systems and infrastructure. In our opinion, this will cause organisations and businesses of every type, shape and size, be it enterprise, government or not-for-profit, small, medium or large to bring an entirely more formal focus to Disaster Recovery.
In 2018, more companies with on-premises workloads will start looking to the cloud for Disaster Recovery solutions. This is part of the overall trend of increased cloud adoption by enterprises. Moreover, the standards for Disaster Recovery – including Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs) – will continue to rise.
2. What are the advantages and disadvantages of using the cloud for Disaster Recovery?
In the coming year, more companies that have migrated to the cloud, or are panning to migrate to the cloud, will realise that the cloud does not remove the need for disaster recovery. Many people mistakenly assume that the cloud means you don’t need disaster recovery because the cloud is a very stable infrastructure with fewer disasters than on-premise IT environments. There is also a false assumption that the public cloud has built-in disaster recovery solutions, which is not the case. In reality, although the cloud is indeed very stable, outages still happen. That is why more companies that have already moved to the cloud will ensure they have a strong disaster recovery strategy in place in 2018.
One of the greatest advantages of using cloud platforms for disaster recovery is the flexibility which comes with “pay-as-you-go” as a Service (-aaS) offerings. You can scale up as you grow and your environments can be built as required.
In addition; ease of use, it’s all point and click. You don’t have to procure hardware or install, configure and test it because it’s all virtual and in the cloud.
Another key advantage of using cloud platforms for disaster recovery is the ability to quickly replicate an environment in the cloud for testing, development, training or any number of requirements where a full or partial copy of your production environment might be used. Examples include upgrades and testing, new feature updates, and stress testing/load testing. The copy of the environment can be “burned down” instantly and you only pay for what you used while the copy of the environment was running.
In addition, you can generally get better results for RPO and RTO when using the cloud. Getting good results for RPO and RTO is theoretically possible but it’s expensive and complicated. With the cloud you can get the best results at a fraction of the cost. For those who are scared by the idea of conversion to the cloud, we think its many advantages make it very worthwhile to check out.
In terms of disadvantages, if you are in a highly regulated business, like banking or health care, you probably will require compliance certification. In addition, if you just purchased new hardware for your DR site why throw it away? Such companies should wait a couple of years before looking at something different.
3. What are the biggest disaster recovery challenges for companies?
In our opinion, the biggest challenge is making DR a priority. Organisations have many projects and new initiatives. It is easy to put a comprehensive disaster recovery plan on the “back burner” or not keep it updated and tested. DR needs to be a priority. Hopefully an organisation will never face a catastrophic disaster that takes the full data center off line, and thankfully these events are rare. However, ransomware attacks, a disgruntled employee or even a human error can cause major damage to IT systems that will greatly impact the company. A comprehensive, fully tested DR plan is essential for companies of all sizes.
4. What would you include in a disaster recovery plan checklist?
In any disaster recovery plan checklist we always ensure the following three key components;
- A clear understanding of the uptime and availability required to ensure the business can continue operations, usually measured in the form of a Service Level Agreement (SLA) between the IT department and the business or client.
- Regular monitoring, measures, review tools and processes by which the disaster recovery solution is maintained and managed. A disaster recovery solution which is not managed is likely to quickly fall out of sync with the business requirements and fail to meet the SLA.
- Scheduled ongoing failover from production to disaster recovery to prove that the disaster recovery solution works. Ideally, at least once, if not 2 or 3 times a year, the production environments should be failed over in a managed process to the disaster recovery environment. It should be left to run for a period of time after which it is clear that all systems are still functioning as required, should the business need to remain on the disaster recovery environment for any period of time. Any business which cannot regularly execute a full failover from production to disaster recovery and run for a sustained period of time, and then restore back to production, cannot truly say that it has a fully functional and effective disaster recovery solution.
To learn more about how your company can achieve affordable, enterprise-grade disaster recovery please contact us today.