Today’s mobile-focused and cloud-based business apps are impacting the IT department’s efforts to create sound disaster recovery (DR) practices. Learn how to provide access to cloud-based to more people in more locations via more devices, while managing a robust DR framework. In the second of our two part review, we look at cloud services and their place in DR. Read part one here.
The easy availability of a myriad cloud applications for collaboration and other business tasks means that IT departments are often not being consulted about the deployment of new software applications. This makes it difficult to plan for even the most minor disruption to business continuity.
Further complicating the IT’s ability to plan effectively for disaster is the proliferation of non-approved applications – Cisco Systems reported the average organisation has 15-22 times more applications running than have been vetted by IT.
Hence, it’s important to include managing third-party tools in the event of disaster.
Cloud application seems to make the concept of DR redundant, by making it easier to get data offsite. But what happens when the Internet isn’t there?
The increased use of cloud applications means reliance on Internet access is more important than ever – yet most organisations usually have a single point of failure.
The solution? You need to implement redundancy for connectivity, cloud services, and applications.
It’s important to have an option for connectivity that is completely independent of terrestrial infrastructure. For example, this could include fixed wireless, wireless LAN, or satellite connections. These options have various considerations of cost and complexity, but your recovery strategy should take your local service provider out of the equation for full redundancy.
The other thing to consider is power. While most outages typically only last a few minutes or hours, you will need to determine whether this is considered a tolerable amount of downtime for your business. Setting a DR plan includes understanding what threshold you will need to implement recovery strategies to avoid substantial damage and losses to your business.
While the cloud gives a level playing field to SMEs with DR, many larger companies will have a secondary data centre for data backup and recovery.
Now smaller companies can have the option to consider data backup. You can now back up data or replicate your servers to a remote facility. This gives you fail-over capability at the remote site in the event that disaster strikes.
So the cloud gives companies access to data backup, fail-over of servers, and the ability to have a secondary centre far enough away to allow for regional disaster recovery.
Business continuity plans
Cloud gives you the ability to also store business continuity plans offsite – while this seems extreme, it’s surprising how often these can go astray in the middle of a disaster.
Those plans are critical to recover quickly during an emergency. Storing them at your business’ main facility will render them pointless during an actual event.
Having cloud-based access to these plans from a laptop or mobile phone is crucial, and means you can view them from anywhere, like your local café or a home office.
Testing the weak spots
Whether your business relies on cloud-based applications, mobile devices or on-premise tools, it’s vital to understand your own business pain threshold is in the event of a disaster.
You could be a 100-employee business that can operate for days without the Internet, or a 10-employee operation that would be dead in the water after 15 minutes of Internet blackout.
You need to test your DR plans with a “fire drill” to learn how your team reacts and which departments or applications are most affected. Document which of your services is cloud dependent or cloud optional.
Mobile devices and the cloud don’t need a reinvention of the business continuity plan. While most processes will map to a cloud-based model, it’s still important to focus on the human and infrastructure element in the event of business downtime.
Read part one here.
You may also enjoy Lessons from a Cyclone: how fixed wireless networks can save your business in a natural disaster and Disaster Recovery in the cloud: which model best supports digital transformation?