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Disaster recovery in the cloud: Critical questions

Working with a third-party provider as part of your DR plan can bring benefits but also many changes to existing process and roles within an organization. Think through these issues before making the move


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As organizations increase their adoption of cloud services, disaster recovery (DR) is becoming more critical. A DR plan that leverages the cloud offers flexibility to organizations of all sizes, since it offers an usage-based model that comes with a small price tag (the goal of DR is that you don’t want to use it except in emergencies).

This type of service is attractive because it reduces the need for data centre space, infrastructure and IT resources. This allows both small and large organizations to save capital expenses and gain access to leading-edge technologies that might normally get pushed down on their list of priorities.

But like any cloud service, you must ask both your provider and internal team a number of questions to get the most value from your investment.

What to Look for in a Disaster Recovery Provider

Reliability, availability and the ability to keep users up and running during a disaster are the most important benchmarks to measure a provider against. The wrong decision can cripple your organization, cause significant damage to your reputation and leave your key stakeholders in hot water.

You must feel comfortable that if something happens to reduce access to your infrastructure, your provider will help you get up and running before significant damage is done. That’s why you should ask potential providers if they can prove that they meet regulatory requirements. Also ask how they control access to resources (e.g. passwords) and ensure that your data is accessed and transmitted securely.

Internal Considerations When Developing a Disaster Recovery Plan

Here are some key questions you should ask when creating a DR plan:

  • Do you have the right bandwidth and network resources to enable all users to access key systems during a disaster? Can you also give enough system resources to allow your teams to access the data and get internal systems up and running again?
  • If you have employees in branch locations or mobile workers, how will network latency be addressed? Do you have solutions such as WAN optimization to assist in such network challenges?
  • How will your in-house team assist during an emergency? Does your plan include provisions such as having the right in-house expertise to manage the restoration of systems and estimate the time that it would take until everything is fully recovered?
  • Does your DR plan include key processes that address and prioritize applications, data and services, as well as give each a time window in which to bring them online? By prioritizing these resources, you and your DR provider can create recovery time objectives for each resource.

Remember, it’s your responsibility to ensure that all key applications and resources are covered under this plan to reduce your operational impact in the event of an emergency. You should also perform regular testing and provide updates as new systems are introduced or others are removed.

Additionally, you should establish recovery time objectives for each resource so you have a good idea of View Post what DR services should be leveraged. Don’t assume that only one type of DR method will be used for all of your resources, as it is likely that – depending on how critical each resource is to ensuring business continuity – every resource will be grouped and assigned its own DR method.

Next step: Try our Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Preparedness Assessment Tool.

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