Business Continuity & Disaster Recovery made possible on Cloud

May 4th, 2021 by Karthik V

In a world where customers keep growing in numbers and data keeps mounting, there is enough room for compliance risks, data duplication issues, and security challenges. If left unaddressed, this can result in significant damages, not just in costs but even in the survival of the business. Speaking of security specifically, businesses in 2020 spent about $144 million to respond to ransomware attacks. Ransomware is a type of malware that encrypts data and threatens to publish it or block access to it unless a ransom is paid to the attackers.

CEOs responding to a recent survey said that, while they are optimistic about a global-economic comeback with the pandemic-induced digital acceleration, they are still wary of the threat from increased cyberattacks. Other incidents that compromise your normal functioning include man-made and natural disasters. Preparing to minimize the impact of any such service-threatening events is part of Business Continuity (BC) and Disaster Recovery (DR) planning.

In this blog, we speak about how disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) providers like CCS can help your growing business recover from such security incidents by leveraging Cloud based services.

What is Disaster Recovery (DR)?

Disaster recovery is the process of regaining access to your IT infrastructure, which may have been disrupted by a variety of factors such as a natural disaster, a cyber-attack, and more. A Disaster Recovery plan is an aspect of business continuity and involves a set of recovery or continuation policies, procedures, and tools.

Cloud Disaster Recovery Services

Cloud Service Providers help organizations outsource their disaster recovery plans and solutions - also known as disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS). It aids business continuity within a stipulated period in case of an outage. The business continuity plan must help the recovery of your operations in the quickest possible time.

DR solves the disarrayed business processes for data-sensitive businesses like IT organizations, super-specialty hospitals, or government offices holding information about the nation and public.

So, how can systems damage-proof data in the face of cyber threats? You can do it by (a) planning your Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery (BCDR) strategy well in advance and (b) Consulting an established DRaaS provider.

Cloud BC & DR Terms You Should Know

RTO

The Recovery Time Objective (RTO) is the maximum time required to recover lost data and get back up and running after a disaster / disruption. The Recovery Point Objective (RPO) is the acceptable business downtime during a disaster. The RTO & RPO are two of the most cardinal parameters of a disaster recovery plan. Understanding RPO and RTO will help build the system requirements and infrastructure to recover data as efficiently as possible.

Region

Cloud service providers are divided physically and logically into units called regions. A region consists of one or more datacentres. It is possible that facilities in an entire region can become inaccessible, or facilities can be lost entirely due to network failures under rare circumstances, such as a natural disaster.

Hardware

Cloud consists of hardware components that handle mission-critical capabilities. A cloud network consists of physical hardware located in multiple geo-locations. The hardware constitutes networking equipment like - routers, switches, firewalls, load balancers, storage arrays, servers, backup devices, etc. The infrastructure is the foundation of the cloud.

Network

Virtual networks consist of physical wires, switches, routers, and other equipment. The cloud network configuration is composed of multiple sub-networks. Each of the sub-network has varying levels of visibility. The cloud permits the creation of virtual local area networks (VLANs) and assigns static and/or dynamic addresses to each of these VLANs as needed. The cloud resources are delivered to users over these networks, such as the internet or an intranet, that enables them to access cloud services or apps remotely on demand.

BCDR Services from AWS & Azure

AWS CloudEndure

AWS CloudEndure is a set of solutions that simplify the migration process, aid in business continuity and protect AWS cloud users. CloudEndure Disaster Recovery Solution prevents business downtime and data loss given unforeseen events like server corruption or ransomware attacks. This solution enables organizations to quickly shift their systems to AWS from the cloud data center or private/public clouds.

Azure Site Recovery

Once struck with a disastrous event, Azure Site Recovery – DRaaS from Azure - ensures business continuity by keeping business applications and other workloads running. If you wonder how this works - Azure Site Recovery makes a near constant-data replication from a primary site running on physical and virtual machines (VMs) to a secondary location. When the primary site fails, you failover to a secondary site and access your business applications from there until the primary site is up again.

Fail Over & Fail Back Guidelines for DR on Cloud
  1. Ensure compliance with regulations: Organizations operating with sensitive and confidential data must comply with regulations such as HIPAA or PCI DSS. If this applies to your organization, ensure DR strategies for failover and failback meet the applicable security standards.
  2. Check the license: Review software documentation for licensing limitations in application stacks. If so, the organization must address any issues beforehand and meet all the requirements.
  3. Define the scope of the DR plan: The scope of a Virtual Machine DR plan should determine which systems must be protected and identify the expected results and any possible limitations. Ensure that your organization’s virtual environment has the adequate technical capacity to cover all aspects of the DR plan.
  4. Choose a reliable data protection solution: It is crucial to install a properly licensed data protection solution in the virtual environment for efficient performance and seamless integration. For DR planning, measure how long it takes to recover the virtual infrastructure and restore all operations.
  5. Train IT-Support Staff in failover and failback operations: Ensure your IT staff have enough knowledge and qualifications to conduct failover and failback operations. They must be ready to deal with worst-case scenarios and have a solid understanding of the entire operation.
  6. Review Service Level Agreements (SLAs): It is a contract between a service provider and you on the service standards that the provider must deliver. Thus, ensure that your SLAs are up to date and it covers the DR environment.
  7. Consider the possibility of turning your DR site into a permanent site: If it is impossible to retrieve your primary datacentre after a massive disaster, consider turning your DR site into a permanent one. This is an expensive solution that requires significant amounts of resources and entails equipment, software, and facility costs but can be beneficial if something similar happens.
  8. Test failover and failback operations: Testing ensures pre-installed applications are running smoothly and checks the recovery rate of your DR site. Testing failback operations can ensure the successful restoration of your company’s operations from the DR site to the original site.
  9. Test your DR plan in full: Testing the entire DR plan is also worthwhile; it measures the success rate by simulating a DR event. It helps to improve and adapt the DR plan and strategies. A flawed and outdated DR plan can put your organization at stake.
Starting with BC&DR on the cloud

The impact of unplanned downtime or business outages is very high and hence it is advisable to plan your BCDR strategy well in advance! It prevents the loss of your sensitive business data and cloud environment in case of security threats.

Managing your cloud environment and IT infrastructure is in itself an intricate and time-consuming process. Outsource your cloud management to a leader in managed cloud services like CCS Technologies. With 35+ certified cloud consultants, we have over 1500 person-years of experience in cloud and infrastructure services. If you want to bolster your cloud security or need expert consultation, email us right away!

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