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Technology isn't enough — your DR process must be sound.
In a recent blog article, I discussed the difference between cloud backup and cloud disaster recovery (or "DR"). In a nutshell, with cloud backup, you basically pay a third-party service provider a monthly fee to have them back up your firm's data and store it in the cloud, so it can be restored on-demand at a later date. With cloud DR, you gain the option to restore your data/server images to an always-on offsite virtual cloud environment capable of running live production servers. Your recovery time dramatically shrinks with this option.
So, is the reduced recovery time with cloud disaster recovery achieved solely through superior technology, or does this recovery advantage also depend on human processes? Although the right technology definitely enables a recovery, a flawed process can both delay the system recovery and even sabotage it altogether.
Here's what I mean.
At a minimum, a cloud disaster recovery solution must have the appropriate technology That is, it must be able to successfully restore entire servers to an alternate location with minimal disruption and data loss. That might sound straightforward, but pulling it off successfully is like rocket science, and there are literally dozens of opportunities for things to go wrong.
After all, we're not talking about simply restoring data. To successfully recover an IT environment, you need data to be restored, operating systems and software applications installed and functional, a secure network established to ensure safe integration between users and the new IT environment, and competent personnel to pull it all together.
The only way to mitigate all of these risks inherent in any DR solution is with a sound recovery process, which includes:
• Documented step-by-step recovery procedures
• Clearly defined roles and responsibilities for all parties involved
• Published contact information and communication protocols
• A “return home” process so the IT environment can be “synched back” when the crisis has been resolved
• A testing and exercising schedule so the system recovery can be practiced
When selecting a cloud disaster recovery vendor, ask for a sample of their documented process and procedures. Also ask them to provide you with examples of recent successful recoveries that were performed during real-life disasters. Finally, ask for references so you can speak to customers who have navigated successfully through a crisis with this vendor's assistance. If the vendor is unable to provide any of the above, you should continue investigating your options.
KeepItSafe is one cloud backup and disaster recovery service provider that can demonstrate successful experience with these scenarios, but there are others. Be thorough in your research.
Regional Sales Manager - KeepItSafe
“Disaster Recovery Planning: Getting from Good to Great”