Why Cloud Based Disaster Recovery

Last month I shared with readers a few horror stories caused by poorly functioning data backup and disaster recovery solutions commonly used by small and mid-sized businesses.  This month I’m sharing the story of clients who, in the face of disaster, kept business moving.


You may recall the historic flood that occurred in Nashville in May of 2010. The storm crippled the city. Over 2,700 businesses were critically impacted. Many failed to recover largely due to the lack of disaster preparedness planning and the inability to recover vital records and restore their business systems in a timely fashion.  Those businesses saw their entire business data history wiped out as flood waters rose and they were unable to gain access to their computers and servers to protect their critical data.


Use of cloud based disaster recovery systems played a critical role in recovery for some of the clients who survived this disaster. When flood waters destroyed the server hardware and on premise data stored in their flooded businesses, these clients had the ability to have their entire server environments restored virtually in a data center hundreds of miles away. Their employees connected to their business network from their homes and temporary offices where power and internet connections were available.  It was certainly not business as usual, but they were immediately making strides toward recovery while those who were not prepared watched helplessly as their critical data literally washed away.


We never know when disaster is going to strike our businesses, and we have no excuse not to prepare. The time and cost associated to proper planning in no way compares to the time and cost you will incur when a disaster strikes. How are you protecting your company?


What is Cloud Based Disaster Recovery?

Cloud based disaster recovery systems are one of the best advancements in recent years in cloud technology. Traditional tape-based backup systems are plagued with challenges.  They are unreliable, prone to error, subject to theft and loss, and nearly impossible to test from a disaster recovery standpoint without considerable investment of time and expense.  Most significantly, they typically back up only the data contained in your organization which means they are only part of a disaster recovery solution.


Most businesses are unaware of this limitation or their need for additional disaster planning. When disaster strikes, these businesses are caught by surprise by the devastation caused by the outage. Cloud based disaster recovery systems provide remedy to these challenges. Because they are cloud based, these systems are affordable and they provide so much more than just data backup.


Benefits of Cloud Based Disaster Recovery

A complete disaster recovery plan includes a backup of your entire system including operating systems, security configurations, and software applications in addition to your business data.  Cloud based recovery systems create an image of your entire server to a backup device of your choice housed inside your office.   A copy of your server’s image is uploaded regularly to the cloud.  Think of it as replicating your entire server somewhere else. Should the server fail, your server image is spun up in the cloud providing you with remote access to the server and all its applications within minutes, not days, after the failure.


In addition to fast and easy restoration in the event of a disaster, this approach also provides businesses with the ability to test to make sure their backups are working properly. You need to be able to trust your backups, and you can only trust them if you can test them.  Traditional data only based solutions do not provide the opportunity to do this without a considerable investment of time and expense. With cloud based disaster recovery systems, tests can be performed at any time and are completed in just minutes providing complete peace of mind that your systems and data are properly protected.


Cloud based disaster recovery systems have a bonus benefit as well.  They provide the ability to test changes and upgrades in the server environment without negative consequences or additional cost.  For example, let’s say an important new upgrade is released for your primary line of business software. The upgrade provides new features that would bring great benefit to your business, but you have heard from others that the upgrade was painful to install leading to significant downtime. You want to know ahead of time if you are going to experience the same problem. This is a possibility with cloud based disaster recovery systems. You simply spin up your current image in the cloud, perform the software upgrade in the virtual environment, and see how it works. Document your process and learn from your experience. This sort of staging allows you to catch issues before you change your production environment leading to a more efficient, less disruptive upgrade.


Watch How Cloud Based Disaster Recovery Works:



I’ll leave you with one last bit of advice.  If you are still using a tape system as your only backup system, it’s time to have a serious talk with your IT department or current IT vendor.  The way in which offsite backups happen and the ability to easily perform backups as a result has fundamentally changed the way backups should be done. If you are a company whose operations depend on your computer data, you owe it to yourself to investigate cloud based disaster recovery solutions.

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