5 Areas You NEED to Master to Ensure Disaster Recovery in the Cloud

August 3 2017, by Pierre Lintzer | Category: Cloud Services

With disasters, appearances may be deceptive.

Picture this: your organisation is humming along, sales are rolling in when disaster strikes. Your system goes down for hours. Your employees can’t work and your customers can’t buy products or services from you. IT is scrambling to get the system back up, but it’s going to take hours or even days (maybe weeks!).

What disaster did you picture? Was it a hurricane or a flood? Maybe a tornado? If you’re one of those people that pictured a massive natural disaster being the reason why your organisation’s system could come crashing down around your ears, I’ve got some bad news for you.

Chances are, your system will go down for much less spectacularly visible causes. It could be something as simple as a power outage or even a mistake by one of your employees that could stop your system dead in its tracks. A new, frequent and much more deadly cause is something called ransomware (e.g. Petya, NotPetya, WannaCry, Cryptolocker) where many organisations globally have been seriously compromised and are forced to pay cyber criminals who have virtually hijacked critical data.

And if you haven’t done your due diligence and prepared for this event, you could lose data, sales, resources, time, and all of that adds up to one thing – lost profits.

Disasters strike at the heart of the organisation and at the heart of the organisation’s wallet. Let’s be real: in business, everything comes back down to cold hard cash, and leaving your system vulnerable to any type of data loss can do some serious damage to the bottom line (even if you made the choice with your bottom line in mind).


Italian pizza


What’s the benefit of having a disaster recovery plan?

Glad you asked!

Before we begin, there are a lot of words that get thrown out together when talking about this concept. Often they’re used interchangeably, but they’re actually distinct pieces that form the whole picture so let’s nail down the definitions.

Business continuity is the ability for an organisation to still offer services or products even after disruption of some kind.

backup is when a copy of data is saved in a separate location.

Disaster recovery is the entire plan of policies and procedures that tells the IT teams how to respond when a system goes down. Disaster recovery encompasses both business continuity and backups, as well as other areas like data recovery.

If you think about this whole idea as a pizza, disaster recovery is the crust, that holds the whole thing together while business continuity, backups, and data recovery are the toppings that come together to form the whole delicious fallback plan.

Disaster recovery plans minimise disruption, heighten security, ensure reliable backup systems, speed up the recovery process in the event of data loss, and minimise delays which means that everyone can get back to eating the pizza as soon as possible (too far?)

  1. Be realistic about what your organisation can handle. It’s time to have some hard talks about how much tolerance your organisation has for downtime and disruption. Some organisations have more wiggle room than others, but it’s important to know where that tolerance zone lays for you because it will inform every decision you need to make to ensure you have a workable disaster recovery plan. 
  1. Look to the future. What is the business cost of your system downtime? Try to avoid making choices that benefit the organisation in the short term when it comes to having long-term costs. A cheaper tape backup system might seem like a good choice now, but just because data is backed up doesn’t mean it’s accessible (which can drastically increase downtime). 
  1. Leverage the resources you already have. Think creatively about the resources that are already available to you and be contentious about what resources you add to ensure a complete disaster recovery plan. If your organisation has not migrated to a 100% cloud environment, a cloud can be incredibly helpful when it comes to creating a fully-fledged DR plan. 
  1. Communication is key. Having the hardware, backups, failovers, and more in place is not enough if no one knows the procedure and what to do when disaster finally strikes. The most important part of your disaster recovery plan is communication – starting with a comprehensive plan and discussions before a disaster so everyone knows what their role is. 
  1. Test it and test it again. The absolute last time you want to test a disaster recovery plan is in the middle of a disaster. Test your plan at regular intervals to ensure that everything is running smoothly. Something as simple as adding an application or an update could mean there’s a hole in your plan that you won’t find unless you test. 

Disaster Recovery in the Cloud.

Macquarie Cloud Services can build you an easy disaster recovery plan that offers testing with a simple push of a button that doesn’t disrupt business continuity and doesn’t take hours to complete. If you don’t have a disaster recovery plan or you’re realising yours could use some beefing up, talk to us today about your needs. We can set something up that works for you.