Disaster Recovery in the Cloud – What You Need to Know

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When CIOs plan for next year’s budget, it’s a safe bet that disaster recovery (DR) in the cloud will be on their lists. In today’s mobile, data-centric business environment, savvy CIOs realize that cyber security and availability go hand-in-hand. While disaster recovery  in the cloud is a relatively new concept, many companies, particularly small and midsized busiensses (SMBs) with limited IT resources, are attracted to the resource savings and usage-based cost structure it offers. But what exactly is disaster recovery in the cloud, and how can organizations benefit from it? HOSTING defines DR in the cloud and explains why it can be an essential component of an organization’s overall security plan.

What is disaster recovery in the cloud?

Simply put, disaster recovery in the cloud is part of an organization’s overall DR plan. It involves maintaining copies of enterprise data in a cloud storage environment. Having DR sites in the cloud reduces the need for data center space, IT infrastructure and IT resources, enabling companies to realize significant cost benefits. Since most CSPs such as HOSTING, offer disaster recovery as a service in a pay-as-you go model, SMBs can comfortably include it in their DR budgets.

Key considerations of DR in the cloud

Companies shouldn’t rely on DR in the cloud as a standalone offering. It should be incorporated into an overall cyber security and DR plan.

Cloud security is essential

Before investing in DR in the cloud, organizations should have a thorough understanding of the CSPs security measures. Key questions to ask include the following:

  • How is my data securely transferred and stored in the cloud?
  • How are users authenticated? Do you offer multi-factor authentication?
  • Is my data encrypted in transit and at rest?
  • Are passwords the only option or does the cloud provider offer some type of two-factor authentication?
  • Do your security and DR solutions meet compliance mandates, such as those for HIPAA/HITECH and PCI DSS?

Bandwidth also matters

An easy mistake for companies to make is to only plan for bandwidth requirements necessary to move data into the cloud. A CSP with deep DR experience should also plan out the amount of bandwidth needed to make data accessible in the event of a natural or manmade disaster. It behooves organizations to ask CSPs the following questions:

  • Do you have the bandwidth and network capacity to redirect all users to the cloud?
  • If you plan to restore from the cloud to on-premises infrastructure, how long will that restore take?

Options for DR in the cloud

Organizations interested in planning for DR in the cloud have many options from which to choose.

Managed applications and DR

In this case, an organization’s primary production site and its replication site are located in the cloud that is handled by a managed service provider. This option provides companies with all the benefits of cloud computing, including usage-based pricing and eliminating in-house infrastructure. The key for this to be successful is to engage with a MSP that offers the appropriate service level agreement to meet an company’s specific business requirements.

Cloud-based backup and restoration 

In this option, an organization’s data and applications remain on-premises. However, it is backed up int the cloud and restored onto on-premises servers when a disaster occurs. In this case, organization’s need to understand how the CSP encrypts data, what security measures they have in place and who ultimately has custodianship of the data encryption keys and access policies.

Replication in the cloud

For companies with applications that require aggressive recovery time and recovery point objectives (RPO and RTO), replicating data from on-premises to the cloud or cloud to cloud is a viable option. In this case, replication to cloud virtual machines (VMs) can be used to protect both cloud and on-premises production instances.

HOSTING Disaster Recovery Services

Using a combination of replication, managed backup services and cloud hosting across a selection of our six strategically-located data centers, HOSTING architects create custom solutions to meet our customers’ specific cloud disaster recovery requirements. We provide continuous protection by seamlessly integrating either a customer’s on-premise environment with a HOSTING disaster recovery site, or a HOSTING data center with a HOSTING disaster recovery site.

If disaster recovery in the cloud is in your game plan, HOSTING can help you create the right solution for your business. Contact the HOSTING cloud experts anytime with your specific questions. And view our on-demand webinar, Think You’ve Tested Your DR Plan? Think Again!, for more insights.

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