Disasters can hit a company in more ways than one. Whether it’s natural or manmade — flood, fire, major power outage, or cyber attacks — a disaster can mean lost data, which has caused companies to shut down. A company’s financial and customer data, as well as its proprietary intellectual property, is its lifeblood. If you lose that, you lose everything.
That’s why it’s so important that you not only have a backup of all your data and IP, but that it’s an offsite backup not kept in the same building that was just hit by the disaster. If you hosted your own servers and kept your own backups in the same building, the best backup software in the world can’t help you if your building is a pile of ashes or under six feet of water.
A good disaster recovery plan should have the following elements
- Servers and backups should be located in other areas.
- Servers should constantly and consistently back up data.
- Your cloud provider should have disaster recovery baked into the servers.
- Able to resume operations in minutes, not days.
- Specific support services including security, scalability, fast recovery time, testing, and security compliance
- An uptime guarantee.
Let’s look at these points a little more closely in turn.First, a good disaster recovery plan calls for servers and backups to be located in other areas, preferably out of state. For example, if your company is based in Houston, you could have one server in Seattle and another in New York City. The two servers are far enough apart, and far enough from Houston, that they won’t be wiped out by the same natural or manmade disaster.
Next, a disaster recovery plan also needs servers that are constantly and consistently backing up, keeping up with new changes, and syncing new information. They need to be protected with infrastructure support like networks, firewalls, and redundancies offered by service providers like Amazon. This is much more efficient and cost-effective than managing and investing in all the redundancies and support to maintain everything in-house.
It’s even better if your Cloud provider has disaster recovery baked into their servers. This way, if one server goes down because of, say, a tornado or wildfire in their own area, the secondary server is automatically brought online. And with the cloud company managing this, you don’t have to deal with it. In fact, you may not even notice a disruption in the service.
In case of a true disaster, you will need a process outlined through disaster recovery testing where different teams within your organization will need to execute the disaster recovery plan to bring up the remote site and ensure it’s working properly. (This is one of the support services Value Global can provide to our customers.)
And because the servers are remote already, you should be able to resume operations quickly if you ever have to evacuate your office or home. You can get to a safe location and log into the server, with minimal disruption to the operations. We’ve known some companies that were able to continue operations, working from home or in evacuation destinations, without their customers and clients knowing there was a problem to begin with.
In addition to managing your disaster recovery, you’ll also need specific support services, like security, scalability, faster recovery time after a disaster, the ability to test your disaster recovery, and data security compliance. You’ll want “Amazon-level security,” and setting that up in-house is going to be very expensive. You still might not really get the level you’re looking for, no matter how much money you put into it.
Finally, your cloud-computing setup should have an uptime guarantee that specifies how quickly interruptions will be fixed. Larger enterprises already have this built into their infrastructure, but it can be very expensive to operate this in-house for smaller companies. Cloud computing providers can provide that kind of functionality at a price that is easy to afford.
Value Global can help you migrate your applications and data to the cloud and help you implement a disaster recovery strategy, as well as assist you with the testing to ensure it’s all working properly. If you would like to learn more about using cloud computing with disaster mitigation and post-disaster recovery, please contact us.