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How the Cloud Is Changing IT Disaster Recovery

The United States government estimates that a quarter of all businesses will not be able to survive a disaster. This means that having an IT disaster recovery plan is undoubtedly an invaluable investment that a firm can make. Only a couple of decades ago we were accustomed to retrieving paper records from a dusty filing cabinet when electronic data was lost. Today, however, businesses are highly dependent on IT systems without the ability to reference physical printed files due to their inefficient nature. When paper trails of client data are essentially obsolete, how do you efficiently and effectively keep track of critical information? Enter: cloud disaster recovery solutions. These solutions are designed to circumvent many of the existing issues with traditional disaster recovery while still keeping your sensitive information safe. Read on as we delve into the problems associated with conventional disaster recovery methods and how cloud-based disaster recovery solutions fix them.

The Challenges of Traditional Disaster Recovery

Conventional disaster recovery has always been expensive, time consuming, and error prone. Usually, the process includes offsite backup, often to tape that was shipped and stored offsite. Businesses would typically need to contract for access to similar hardware servers from a cold site disaster recovery vendor on a first-declared, first-served basis. The challenges of this approach include the following:

  • Recovery Delays: Significant delays in the recovery process can be attributed to the retrieval and delivery of offsite backup tapes to the disaster recovery data center.
  • Tedious Work: Each cold site server has to be loaded with the appropriate operating systems and patched to the last configuration used in production. Furthermore, the application software must also be installed onto the servers and properly configured.
  • Time Consuming Process: If patch management records are not up to date or available when a disaster hits, the patches need to be aligned and debugged to match the last production configuration, which can be a very long process.
  • Error Prone Results: The backup tapes that hold the data have failure rates of up to 40 percent when read from different drives than they were written on. It is also required that your network is configured at the cold site to match the network configuration of the production site (this includes things like VPNs, DNS, and firewall rules).

How the Cloud Addresses These Challenges

With cloud disaster recovery solutions, specifically virtualization, a very different approach to disaster recovery is taken. Virtualization enables the operating system, applications, patches, and data to be encapsulated into a single virtual server. This virtual server can be easily copied or backed up to an offsite data center and presented at a moment’s notice.

Since the virtual server is not dependent on any hardware, your data and other business critical applications can be safely and accurately transferred from one data center to a second data center without the hassle of reloading each component of the server. With cloud computing, disaster recovery becomes much more cost-effective with significantly faster recovery times.

Once businesses began to realize the value that the cloud has to offer, tape backup no longer made sense. In scenarios where multi-year data archiving is required for regulatory purposes, tape storage may be helpful. However, in most cases, the cost-effectiveness and recovery speed of online, offsite backup makes it difficult to justify the traditional disaster recovery method.

Another added benefit of cloud disaster recovery solutions is the ability to fine tune the costs and performance for the disaster recovery platform. For example, applications and servers that are considered less critical in the event of a disaster can be tuned down with less resources, while the most critical applications can receive all the resources they require to remain up and running.

There are many benefits with cloud computing: cost-effective resources use, rapid provisioning, scalability, and more. Perhaps one of the most game-changing advantages the cloud has to offer is its ability to completely change the face of disaster recovery. Because disaster recovery via the cloud is much less expensive than conventional methods, comprehensive disaster recovery solutions become far more accessible to smaller businesses.

If you are seeking an experienced third-party IT team to help you build a cloud-based disaster recovery plan for your organization, you have come to the right place. With Contigo’s disaster recovery solutions, you will be able to store your critical data in multiple secure locations with daily audits that serve as proof of successful backup jobs. We also offer custom retention policies so that you can custom-build a model that matches a timeline that works for your business. Our ultimate goal is to keep downtime at a minimum – or even totally eliminated – so that you can have peace of mind knowing that your systems and data are secure. Contigo’s today to get started.

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