Now more than ever, a disaster recovery (DR) plan is a must for businesses. There’s no telling when a disaster — be it natural or man-made — will hit your organization, and having a well-thought-out DR plan is integral to getting back up and running in no time.
One of the strategies that businesses of all sizes are looking into to cope with calamities is cloud-based DR. This backup and restore strategy involves storing and maintaining copies of data in a private, public, or hybrid cloud environment, providing an organization with a means of recovering its data in case disaster strikes.
Below are the steps to successfully implementing a cloud-based DR strategy.
Step 1: Evaluate your infrastructure and the risks it faces
Having clear insights into your IT infrastructure and its vulnerabilities enables you to come up with a cloud DR solution that will help you mitigate the threats to your business.
Take stock of all your business’s hardware and software, and find out where these are located. You should also find out where your organization’s data is stored, who accesses it and how frequently, and which files or applications are mission-critical.
Next, find out the risks that might threaten your IT assets. These may include cyberattacks, power outages, fires, and floods. Moreover, you must determine the acceptable amount of downtime and how much data loss your business can tolerate before you start experiencing significant business impacts.
Step 2: Choose a cloud provider
Your choice of a cloud provider might come down to cost. However, there are other important considerations to make when assessing cloud providers, including the reliability, scalability, speed, simplicity, usability, and security of their cloud DR solutions.
Note that cloud providers are not created equal, and some of them might not offer the exact services you need. Some may offer just storage-only plans, while others may not secure and maintain virtual machines (VMs). Before settling with any one provider, evaluate several and ascertain that they meet your needs, as well as offer a comprehensive service level agreement (SLA). An SLA must outline the services you can expect and how the effectiveness of these will be measured and, if needed, improved upon.
Step 3: Make sure your backups are secure
Security is one of the top reasons why many business owners are reluctant to make the move to the cloud. But this should not be a concern if your partner MSP meets regulatory requirements and uses a firewall, antimalware software, and intrusion detection and prevention systems to safeguard your data. And to prevent unauthorized access and data loss and/or confidentiality issues, make sure your MSP offers some type of multifactor authentication.
Finally, your cloud services provider must provide adequate protection for your data while it is in storage in the cloud and in transit. Encrypting your data in either state using 256-bit standards is a must for ensuring privacy and compliance with industry regulations.
Step 4: Develop a bandwidth management strategy
Since cloud platforms are accessed via the internet, you need to understand the bandwidth requirements of your cloud DR solution. Making sure you have enough bandwidth to back up, recover, and access your data efficiently without consuming too much is a balancing act, one that you can pull off by putting a bandwidth management strategy in place.
Your strategy can include bandwidth scheduling, wherein you limit the bandwidth that data backup programs use during office hours, so that the other internet services your staff makes use of during the day do not suffer. Another method to consider is URL filtering, which blocks access to bandwidth hogs such as YouTube and Netflix.
Step 5: Test your plan regularly
Finally, no plan is effective without regular testing. Ideally, you should have your cloud provider conduct testing at least twice a year, but if your plan is more complex, it’s best to do it more often. This will let you assess the overall effectiveness of your cloud DR solution, particularly your backups and VMs. It will also give you insights into your strategy’s weak points, give you an idea of how to best address them, and make you better prepared for an actual disaster.
Conducting regular training will help your staff understand what to do before, during, and after a catastrophe. This, in turn, will ensure your cloud DR solution’s effectiveness and that your operations return to normal immediately, even after the worst of calamities.
Not sure if cloud-based disaster recovery is the best for your small- or medium-sized business in Pennsylvania? Have questions about the cloud and virtual machines? Contact Nye Technical Services today. You can count on our team of professionals to develop and implement solutions to keep your business’s data safe and recover it quickly in the event of a disaster.
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