The global pandemic has highlighted the importance why the cloud is a natural fit for business continuity as businesses can be up and running quickly from anywhere.
While most firms are used to handling disasters, the coronavirus has turned the world upside down. Instead of a few remote workers, companies are now forced into the world’s largest work from home experiment. While till date, disasters were confined to regions (earthquakes, fires), the coronavirus incident has challenged the way business disasters were used to be perceived.
Typical DR plans have assumed scenarios where if one physical asset is affected, the other physical asset in another location takes over. But, the same is not true for manpower. While formulation of a DR policy also involves manpower planning, this has not been fully tested.
This is where DR in the cloud or Disaster Recovery as a Service is a far more compelling option than any other time in history. Let us look at some key reasons to justify this opinion:
#1 Dependability: With a clear emphasis on reliability, scalability and time tested distribution zones across continents and regions, DR in the cloud offers companies assured access to critical IT assets from anywhere, in case a particular site is down. DR in the cloud also gives firms the option of not having to deploy their personnel to go into their data centers to check or maintain their IT infrastructure.
#2 Ability to serve remote workers from anywhere: In the event of a disaster, the cloud option also enables companies to automatically provide access to services from any part in the world. For example, companies can empower their remote workers by enabling access to virtual desktops or critical applications. Depending on the load, workloads also can be dynamically re-assigned.
#3 Ability to rapidly scale up: Due to the time-tested ability of the cloud to scale quickly, companies can scale up their IT infrastructure to meet demanding remote workforce demands.
#4 Quick access to different applications: The DR in the cloud option allows firms to quickly extend access to cloud-based applications such as VPNs, conferencing tools, virtual desktops etc. Depending on the criticality of the application used, the requisite infrastructure can be appropriately provisioned and scaled.
#5 Proactive security: If you use the DR as a cloud option, then the onus of maintaining security is on the managed service provider. As recent incidents have shown us, hackers have taken advantage of the current situation to spread malware and launch phishing attacks using fake domains.
If your organisation has a DR on the cloud option, then the MSP is well equipped to proactively tackle all potential vulnerabilities at every access point across on-premise and cloud environments. If your infrastructure is hit by a ransomware attack, then the MSP can quickly setup another DR site. For remote workers, a single sign-on option can also be provided to ensure a consistent user experience.
#6 Lower TCO: By choosing a DR in the cloud option, companies are assured of lower TCO, as costs are predictable and there is zero capital expenditure.
#7 Faster recovery: A DR in the cloud option enables companies to quickly automate recovery by following time-tested processes rather than complex error-prone manual processes. Today, automation techniques simplify the task of managing backups and recovery. As a result, recovery can be within a few minutes, rather than hours or days.
- Nitin Mishra
- The author is Senior Executive VP and Chief Product Officer, Global Data Centers and Cloud Infrastructure (India) of NTT Ltd.