The need for cloud disaster recovery solutions is more prevalent than ever before, with modern enterprises facing a host of internal and external threats, including:
- Ransomware attacks.
- Malfunctioning hardware or software.
- Stolen or lost data.
- Natural disasters.
While the terms “backup” and “disaster recovery” (DR) are often conflated, it is essential to know the difference. Backup is a method of creating redundant copies of critical data. Disaster recovery is the process by which backups are reinstituted after data is lost, destroyed, or corrupted.
Creating and maintaining a cohesive disaster recovery plan is a powerful way to maintain business continuity for customers and employees during a crisis. But managing disaster recovery can be a challenging endeavor for many companies. How do you ensure that your organization is devoting the appropriate resources to DR? And how do you maintain data protection over time and across new iterations of applications and hardware upgrades? How can you design and implement disaster recovery policies to best suit the unique needs of your organization?
This post will review the best practices for implementing and reviewing DR policies at your company.
Learn more: Revolutionize your cloud disaster recovery capabilities with Disaster Recovery as a Service
Managing cloud disaster recovery solutions
- Proactive planning
A critical mindset of disaster recovery is to assume failure. In other words, assume that data loss will occur at some point. To ensure the longevity of essential systems, plan to regularly assess data management policies, internal operations, equipment, and cloud providers. Thinking through worst-case scenarios secures business continuity after experiencing catastrophic data loss.
- Identify threats
Creating a list of potential threats to your company’s data is a proven method of organizing and prioritizing DR efforts. Try to map out all possible threats and the likelihood of data loss from each event. For example, ransomware attacks are increasingly common for businesses of all sizes and types; a Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) provider should have versioning options readily available to help recover from this type of crisis.
Additionally, companies located where natural disasters are common (e.g., tornado alley, the San Andreas fault line, hurricane zones) should confirm that their disaster recovery cloud solutions include redundant locations where they can easily transfer data.
- Prioritize systems and operations
Once likely threats are identified, determine which systems and data sets are most vital to maintain operations. If implementing DRaaS for the first time, these are the areas you will want to back up first. Because of mission-critical data’s importance, multiple redundancies may be necessary to protect it. Additionally, this prioritization will guide the recovery team in restoration efforts after an event.
- Define RTO and RPO
Two vital concepts factor into every recovery plan: recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO).
- RTO is the system downtime a business can tolerate before incurring severe losses and continuity disruptions.
- RPO is the age of data that must be recovered to reinstate operations.
Each business will have a slightly different RTO and RPO. An online retailer, for example, will have a relatively short RTO because it will lose money for as long as the website is down. Another organization could have any RTO of days or weeks. Similarly, some businesses need a near up-to-the-minute RPO to recover fully, while others can fall back on data from previous weeks or months.
Understanding your company’s RTO and RPO will help you select the appropriate DRaaS features to meet each crucial metric.
Learn more: Disaster recovery solutions that work
- Create a data protection team and implement disaster policies
Each team member should know their role in the recovery effort in a disaster. Further, defining a dedicated disaster recovery team can speed up and guide the process. Assign a point person to interact with your cloud solutions provider to ensure efficient communication and exceptional disaster recovery efforts between your team and the DRaaS company.
- Establish emergency protocols to maintain business continuity
How will you maintain service during a crisis such as a data breach or ransomware lockout? How will you continue critical internal functions during a natural disaster or similar emergency? Emergency protocols steer these processes and establish accountability in a crisis. Additionally, they guide the restoration of mission-critical data to execute these vital functions for both customers and employees.
- Implement testing and training
After working through the many steps of building an effective disaster recovery plan, establishing a DR team, and implementing emergency protocols, the last thing your organization needs is for the DRaaS system to fail because of a glitch. Be proactive. Routinely test DR systems, especially after upgrades. Schedule quarterly testing to confirm that your mission-critical data can be easily recovered.
Additionally, disaster recovery training must be part of onboarding, and any updates must be reflected in employee training to keep business continuity steady.
Choosing a provider for your cloud disaster recovery solutions
Most business models hinge on rapid access to data, so backing up mission-critical data is no longer optional for enterprises. Planning and implementing a well-thought-out disaster recovery plan can reduce downtime and safeguard business continuity through various crisis-level events.
Choosing an appropriate DRaaS provider is critical to an effective recovery plan. The right provider not only serves as insurance for your most important data but also offloads the burden of DR from your IT team. DRaaS requires specific expertise that only some IT teams can readily supply in-house. The experts at CBTS have developed an efficient DRaaS onboarding process that includes the following:
- Assessment. Our DR team determines the data protection needs of your company, defines RTO and RPO, and identifies system dependencies. Then, we play out common DR scenarios and identify gaps in recovery systems.
- Design. Next, our team builds a custom solution that meets the unique data needs of your organization and reviews the plan with key stakeholders.
- Implementation. We test and launch the DRaaS system.
- Validation and documentation. Finally, we document the system and guarantee that primary and secondary backup systems sync correctly.
Contact us to protect your mission-critical data through managed DRaaS.
To learn more about DRaaS, download our info sheet: Managed Disaster Recovery