November 9, 2017
Keith Summers

Cloud backup and disaster recovery – How to nail your implementation

Imagine an ordinary day: You show up to work, you pour yourself a cup of coffee, and you have a quick water cooler chat with Anna from Sales. Then, suddenly, someone sounds the alarm—a critical Point-of-Sale application has been lost or an aging on-prem server has gasped its last breath.

Are you truly prepared to respond?

In this age of 24/7/365 availability expectations, you simply can’t afford to be down. That’s where the successful implementation of a cloud backup and disaster recovery solution comes in.

So, is a cloud solution right for you? And, if so, how do you choose and successfully implement that solution?

Like most things in life, the devil’s in the details.

Let’s take a look.

Is a cloud solution right for your organization?

To get to that answer, you first need to thoroughly map your organization’s environment—and document the availability requirements for each of your servers, applications, and data.

Too often, people don’t fully understand what systems they have in-house and what operating system versions they’re running—not to mention whether they’re physical or virtual.

It’s critical that you take this time to ensure your documentation is thorough.

Web-based applications are often served to you by three different servers, for example: A database server, a web server, and an application server. So, be sure to look under the hood and identify all of the components that need to be backed up.

Then consider these questions carefully:

  • Do you need an agent—or can you go agentless?
  • Do you have enough bandwidth to ensure you can successfully complete backups to the cloud?
  • Where do you intend to keep your backups?

We, of course, recommend organizations maintain backups both on-prem and offsite—whether that’s at a secondary data center or in the cloud. (It’s this redundancy that will help ensure you’re able to recover should you fall victim to a local disaster or hardware failure.)

And, if you’re looking to move your data offsite without the added expense of the staff, offsite location, and infrastructure required by a secondary data center, a cloud solution may be the right choice for you.

Choosing the cloud backup and disaster recovery solution that’s your best fit

So, you’ve determined that you want to deploy a direct-to-cloud or cloud hybrid solution and you’ve done some initial research.

Next up: Reaching out to cloud backup and disaster recovery vendors and assessing potential solutions.

To ensure you find a solution that both meets your needs and doesn’t hit you with surprise added costs, we encourage you to ask these questions:

  • What platforms do you support—virtual, physical, or both?
  • What operating systems do you protect—Windows-only or Linux and Mac, as well?
  • What level of backup granularity do you offer—can I backup individual files and folders or do I have to backup the whole system?
  • How is my data secured in flight and in the cloud?
  • Where are your data centers located?
  • What is your licensing model?
  • Do you charge for bandwidth or storage capacity only?
  • What level of support can I expect—is it US-based? Is it delivered by phone, chat, or email?
  • How scalable is your solution—can I easily expand my capacity to accommodate mergers, acquisitions, or significant data growth?
  • Does this solution comply with mandates that are relevant to my business, like HIPAA, FINRA, SOX, or ABA model rules?

With this information at hand, you can better assess your prospective solutions to determine which is the right fit for your business.

Of course, before you sign on the dotted line, we highly recommend that you take the time to run a trial version of your prospective solution. Only then will you gain a full understanding of how it will work and whether or not it truly meets your needs.

Ensuring a successful cloud implementation with DR testing

So, you’ve found a cloud backup and disaster recovery solution that delivers against your business requirements without breaking the bank. Now, it’s time to implement your solution.

This is where we urge you to give yourself time to thoroughly test and validate your disaster recovery process.

Unfortunately, too many organizations focus purely on backup—and don’t test the recoverability of their data. They assume that, since they’re paying their bills on time, their data will be easily recoverable when disaster strikes.

Please don’t make that assumption.

Run those DR tests and ask yourself:

  • Can I spin up a virtual instance of a server in the cloud—and connect to it?
  • Can I restore to my on-prem server quickly and efficiently?
  • Can I easily failback?

Of course, what constitutes as adequate DR testing varies from business to business, but we recommend you consider:

  • A partial DR test at least every six months
  • A full DR test every year

Your cloud solution can be a lifesaver

A cloud-based backup and disaster recovery solution can deliver affordable, easy-to-implement backup redundancy. What’s more, it can empower you to spin up virtual servers and restore on-prem, as needed—helping you ensure business continuity and mitigate data loss.

After all, hardware will fail. Storms will happen. Ransomware will pay you an unwelcome visit.

It pays to be prepared.