Disasters and cyber attacks can wreak havoc on businesses, destroying systems and data and resulting in lost revenue, productivity, reputation, and customers. A disaster recovery (DR) plan can minimize the impact by backing up and replicating critical systems and applications to a remote server that will automatically fail over in the event of an outage. This is the essence of cloud DR.
Cloud based DR offers several advantages to organizations seeking to strengthen their business continuity and disaster recovery strategies. The primary benefits of cloud DR are lower costs, reduced complexity, and increased speed of recovery. The underlying technology behind cloud DR is virtualization that allows for data to be backed up, replicated, and moved to a cloud environment in the event of a disaster. This can greatly reduce the cost of implementing a DR solution, as it eliminates the need to build or maintain a secondary facility and provides immediate failover without the need for extensive manual intervention.
The underlying technology for cloud DR is called Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). DRaaS is offered by many of the major public cloud providers, including AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. Each vendor provides a variety of options for protecting data from incidents that could threaten the primary infrastructure. These include cold DR, warm DR, and hot DR. Cold DR is a standby approach where duplicate data and applications are kept up to date with the primary infrastructure but not doing any processing. When a disaster occurs, the DR site will be activated and traffic and IP addresses will be redirected to it for processing. This can be a quick and relatively inexpensive option, but it does impose some downtime for the protected workloads.
Warm DR is a more active approach where the duplicate data and applications are doing some processing. When a disaster occurs, the primary and DR sites are running in parallel, with both handling some of the workloads. When a disaster occurs, one site will take over the workloads that it is handling and users should be largely unaware of the changeover. This is the most expensive and complicated option for a DR strategy, but it can also provide the least downtime.
A third option is managed DRaaS, which is where the vendor manages all aspects of the disaster recovery infrastructure on behalf of the customer. This can be a great option for smaller organizations that want to eliminate the burden of managing their own backup and DR infrastructure. However, organizations that choose this solution should be careful to make sure that the DRaaS provider is using high-quality security measures such as encryption of data both at rest and in transit to prevent data leaks and hacker attempts to manipulate backups. Additionally, the DRaaS provider should have enterprise-class security controls for its data centers, including 24/7 guards, external systems, biometric scanning and monitoring, and continuous digital surveillance and recording. This is important, as a compromised DRaaS environment can have serious consequences for the entire organization. disaster recovery cloud services