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Disaster Wake-up Call: Can Moving DR to the Cloud Really Safeguard Your Business? Part 2

May 31, 2013 / Joseph Pedano

Last week I covered some very compelling information about why a business needs a comprehensive DR plan. Remember the statistic of “9

3% of companies that lost their data center for 10 days or more due to a disaster filed for bankruptcy; 43% never reopen”?

Today we will discuss  three ways moving to the cloud with the right cloud provider helps to sure-up your business:

  • Environmental Protection: If a company’s on-site data center loses power or employees cannot access the physical building for any reason, the business may stop or significantly slow down. Applications that are run in the cloud and off-site, and properly backed-up in various locations, on the other hand…enable an “always-on” environment. In other words, your business applications are always accessible from anywhere, any time so if your company’s power goes out or your employees can’t get there because of road conditions, then they can simply work from home or other safe location.
  • Network Protection – If power is out, network is generally out. But networks can still be down when power is restored. (Just ask any Verizon customer located in Hurricane Sandy’s path about service interruption…even today, seven months after it hit!) Aging infrastructure or poorly architected network hubs can wreak havoc on your networks, and consequently, your customer service levels. In contrast, networks in the cloud – if architected properly – provide companies with various pathways to access their network data and applications.
  • Business Applications & Data Protection – Your business operating plan for all of your applications and systems including your CRM, databases, email, computing infrastructure, phone systems, call centers, and others should follow three key guidelines that translate into Service Level Agreements to internal and external customers. These are Recovery Time Objective (RTO) or the maximum duration of time allowable for complete restoral after a disruption to an acceptable level of business continuity; Recovery Point Objective (RPO) or the maximum tolerable period in which data can be lost (from its last update);  and Network Uptime Objective or the percentage of time a system, network or application should be available or ‘up.’ In each case, industry standards provide a benchmark for what’s acceptable.

For example, the minimum goal for Network Uptime should be 99.9% on core applications which translates to less than 45 minutes of downtime per month. Lifesaving businesses such as hospitals and those that are heavily dependent on their systems may need to target 99.99% or perhaps even “5 nines,” which is 99.999% uptime or less than 5 minutes of downtime per year.

Meeting basic Uptime, RTO, RPO objectives is difficult enough, while meeting even more stringent objectives is practically impossible using traditional on-premise systems. However, leveraging a cloud architecture in whole or in part substantially increases the ease, efficiency and probability of meeting these objectives regardless of the type of business or how critical the applications.

In next week’s concluding post I will review some tips on evaluating potential cloud service providers. In the meantime, please feel free to download our Disaster Recovery Checklist here.

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