Cloud-based disaster recovery

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Most businesses today need to have disaster recovery plans for their data. A few types of companies do not consider data their most valuable asset, but the vast majority store confidential client information, proprietary knowledge, financial account breakdowns and scores of other files that, if lost, would be devastating for them. Earthquakes, floods and power outages present a looming threat to your data. Having an effective disaster recovery plan is essential – but it does not have to break the bank. Cloud technology offers you a more affordable option in the short term. Maintaining your own secondary data storage site has its advantages, but requires much more upfront capital investment. You should thoroughly assess your needs, but remember: Having no disaster recovery plan is the worst and most expensive plan of all. 

Safeguard your data because you never know…
It’s not always easy to know when disaster will strike. That’s why small business owners embrace private cloud-based disaster recovery solutions, because they can rest assured that they will be able to access their data and work remotely in the event of a sudden disruption to their systems. Artur Matzka, director of infrastructure development at Integrated Solutions, told ComputerWeekly what a brief interruption of a technology network can do to a business.

“The cost of data loss or lack of access to information can be dangerous, and not only in financial terms. For companies operating in a really competitive market, even 10 days without access to key data could cause an outflow of customers and the death of the business,” Matzka said.

Disaster recovery doesn’t have to be ridiculously expensive
Forbes explained that in the beginning, disaster recovery solutions were inaccessible to small- and medium-sized enterprises because the costs of setting up a secondary data center was too expensive. The process involved finding a backup location far enough away from the initial site, investing in hardware and ensuring that all the main data was backed up. Charles King, principal analyst for Pund-IT explained that, in the beginning, secondary storage was simply too costly for midsize enterprises.

“For many years, that separation was a leading cause in disaster recovery costs being so high, especially if synchronous replication was required,” said King, according to Forbes.

SearchDisasterRecovery noted that many companies maintaining secondary sites, often have facilities that are not suitable to their needs. Those assets may require more IT staffing, better equipment and extensive upgrades to network, storage and server infrastructures. 

However, now with private cloud-based solutions, disaster recovery is a viable option for many companies – not just large enterprises. The cloud enables small business to ensure the same degree of functionality, while keeping capital investments in check. Using the cloud, companies can back up their customer records and other vital data, should the worst happen.

“By engaging a cloud service provider, companies can avoid the substantial costs of building, outfitting, managing and maintaining data centers, including employing information technology staff,” King added. “As business-computing usage continues to grow and IT becomes increasingly complex, cloud and other hosted services look more and more attractive.”

The cloud turns capital expense into operating expense
Before the cloud, setting up a secondary data storage facility meant a company had to invest in a place, new hardware and hire highly skilled IT professionals to administer the site. Now, companies can simply outsource their data storage needs to private cloud and colocation providers – achieving the same ends for a fraction of the price. It is important to point out that the cost of rebuilding data, should disaster strike, is significantly more than the cost of backing up information with a cloud provider.

“Rebuilding transactions and files if disaster recovery fails is hugely expensive and time consuming,” King said. “But over time, replication solutions have generally become cheaper, faster and more dependable to the point that a number of cloud-computing players can now offer various disaster recovery solutions.”

Ultimately, some companies will choose to maintain their own secondary sites over cloud-based solutions because, if they can afford it, there are certain benefits. However, colocation services let organizations get the best of both worlds – off-site backup and cloud technology. Colocation providers can host private clouds in their facility, letting customers lease the data center space instead of paying to build a dedicated facility.