7 STEPS TO DEVELOP AN EFFECTIVE CLOUD DISASTER RECOVERY PLAN
It is not easy to forget the efforts that were taken years ago to carry out the basic necessary functions that we are using today. Even though initially, the cloud was considered insecure and unreliable, businesses later saw how secure, scalable and easy-to-use it is. From undertaking complex operational workloads to executing large scale disaster and recovery plans, the cloud has made our day-to-day operations nearly effortless. When it comes to managing complex tasks like database disaster recovery, the cloud makes us wonder how we did it before. If we were to go through the traditional disaster recovery (DR) process step by step exactly, it will include-
- Finding a location to house IT infrastructure
- Arranging contact persons and security personnel for the setup
- Enhancing server capacity to store your application and its data
- Provisioning support staff for maintaining DR infrastructure
- Facilitating internet connectivity with enough bandwidth to run applications
- Setting up network infrastructure including firewalls, load balancers, routers and switches
As you can see, traditional disaster recovery will cost a lot. Nonetheless, data recovery in traditional DR is sophisticated and not easy. With the arrival of cloud computing, Disaster Recovery has become another task that takes only a couple of hours to complete. It has also made small business disaster recovery cheap because of which it is more common and most of the businesses who could not afford disaster recovery before are secure now.
Cloud based Disaster Recovery offers organizations several benefits including:
- Saves Time/Capital
- More Data Backup Location Options
- Easy to Implement with High Reliability
There are numerous ways disaster recovery can be implemented in the cloud. If you are in doubt about how to develop business disaster recovery plan with cloud, we have an example just below that will surely help you come up with a plan yourself.
Step 1: Comprehend Your Infrastructure & Predict Any Risks
Before developing a DR plan, you need to completely be aware of the assets, equipment, and the data available with you. You need to find out where it is stored and also how much it is worth. With this information, it will be easier for you to recognize what all might be a threat to you. Natural disasters, data theft, and power outages are few of the common risks seen everywhere. With the knowledge of all your IT infrastructure and their vulnerability, you can easily come up with an effective DR plan.
Step 2: Conduct a Business Impact Analysis for clearer picture
A business impact analysis is next on the list. This will give you an understanding of the limitations of your business operations once disaster strikes.
Following two parameters help you assess this factor:
- a) Recovery Time Objective (RTO)
b) Recovery Point Objective (RPO)
- a) Recovery Time Objective (RTO)
RTO is the maximum time that your application can stay offline before beginning to affect your business operations.
Scenario 1: Some companies offer fast delivery of services that have to be maintained even during downtime. If you have a company which promises fast delivery, you have to invest heavily in a DR plan to resume business operations with minimum delay.
Scenario 2: There are companies that deliver their services in a medium pace without hurry. When faced with a threat, such firms can resort to other alternatives to carry out business operations preventing the need to invest more resources into DR recovery saving you time to acquire ample backup assets after disaster strikes.
The amount of resources invested in your DR plan can highly impact your RTO as the more the investment, the lesser the RTO and the lesser the investment, the more the RTO.
- b) Recovery Point Objective (RPO)
RPO is the maximum amount of time for which you can bear data loss from your application due to a major crisis.
There are two factors that have to be considered before determining RPO:
- How much data can you afford to lose when disaster strikes?
- How much time can you lose before your data is compromised?
For a company, like in scenario 1, RPO should be very less probably as less as 5 minutes as it is a critical business and cannot afford a lapse for more than the specified amount of time.
Unlike, in scenario 2, the data is not time sensitive. Thus, you do not have to invest heavily in DR.
Just like RTO, RPO is also beneficial.
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Step 3: Creating a suitable DR plan
With your RPO and RTO in your hands, you can begin designing a system that will meet your DR expectations.
You have a lot of options to choose from. Given below are the DR approaches to implement your DR plan:
- Backup and Restore
- Pilot Light Approach
- Warm Standby
- Full replication in the Cloud
- Multi-Cloud Option
You can use a combination of these approaches or one of these approaches as per your business DR requirements.
Step 4: Select Your Right Cloud Service Provider
The next step following is the selection of a suitable cloud service provider that can help you deploy your approach or a group of your approaches.
If you are planning to use the full replication in the Cloud, then you would like to consider the following factors to find an ideal cloud provider:
- Speed of Recovery
- Simplicity in Setup and Recovery
- Security Compliance
Just like before, your choices are not limited. You can choose to acquire DR services from big companies like AWS, Microsoft Azure, and IBM.
If you want, you can also approach small firms that offer quality disaster recovery-as-a-service (DRaas).
Step 5: Build Your Cloud DR Infrastructure
Along with your DR partner, now you can work with the provider to implement your design and set up DR infrastructure.
Based on the DR approach you select, there are several logistical aspects to consider:
- What is the quantity of infrastructure components you will require?
- How will you copy the data to the cloud?
- What are the best ways to approach user authentication and access management?
- What security and compliance practices will suit you?
- What security measures will you take up to reduce the probability of disasters occurring?
Make sure that your DR strategy is in alignment with your RTO and RPO specifications for smooth business operations and DR.
Step 6: Develop a Process Flow Chart for your DR Plan
Having a standard guideline or process flowchart with specific instructions for each person working in a DR plan is crucial. At the event of a disaster, everyone should be aware of their responsibilities and duties as stated on paper and should be able to start it without delay.
Moreover, you can take an additional step to ensure effective DR process by making sure that every instruction mentioned is clearly stated on paper, with the finest details.
These steps ensure the effectiveness of the DR plan.
Step 7: Test Your DR Plan Regularly
The final step is testing your DR plan. This helps to ensure that your DR plan will reach your expectations and goals without any loopholes.
Testing will let you know how reliable and credible your plan is.
Your first test might not fulfil your requirements but your DR plan will be upgraded and further developed to better brace your infrastructure against potential disasters.
It is advisable to run your DR test quarterly to make certain everything is safe and reliable. You can simultaneously monitor and analyse your backup infrastructure’s performance on a daily or weekly basis.
Your organization will keep facing changes in terms of growth, workforce, and allies, so it is better to continue testing regularly to ensure that DR is functional and your business is secure.
All businesses are vulnerable to IT disasters. Having the best knowledge about your business, assets, requirements, goals, and your industry, will help your organization stand strong against risks with an efficient DR plan. Cloud makes the implementation of your DR seem easy, less expensive and more effectual.
Redington Cloud Solutions can be your trusted partner in your cloud disaster recovery journey. We ensure shorter RTO and no break in business continuity. With our multi-cloud managed service and skilled as well as experienced team, we together can build, manage and monitor your IT infrastructure impeccably.
Talk to our cloud experts now to revitalize your business with the amazing benefits cloud has to offer.