Choosing cloud-based DR solution – A best practice checklist

Today’s enterprises require a smart disaster recovery (DR) solution that can keep their businesses running in the face of an unplanned IT failure. Whether it is a natural disaster like a hurricane frying out the servers at the headquarters, a security breach due to human error or an unexpected software or hardware glitch, enterprises are always at risk of losing important business data.

A solid cloud-based DR solution provides the needed tools for enterprises to mitigate this risk. It offers enterprises business continuity  by keeping their businesses up and running in the face of a disaster. The advantage of cloud-based DR solution is that it permits enterprises to replicate and store data, applications, and services in the cloud. This stored data will work as a backup option, which can be used in case the primary data center is incapacitated.
Disaster recovery solution in the cloud is not only a backup but also an integral part of an enterprise’s business strategy as data loss can lead to regulatory problems, customer dissatisfaction, and business failures.

No wonder, enterprises are increasingly investing in cloud-based DR to secure and protect their businesses from the risks related to data loss. However, it is not easy to choose the right cloud-based DR solution. The key consideration in selecting a cloud service partner should be an enterprise’s specific needs and requirements.
No two enterprises are the same because every organization has its own unique dataset to protect and applications to run. So, instead of searching for a single blueprint for cloud-based DR, enterprises should look at preparing a checklist of best practices for selecting a suitable cloud service partner.

1. Analyzing protection needs and preparing DR plan

This should be the most important consideration in selecting the cloud-based DR solution in line with the requirements of an enterprise. While one has to identify critical data and applications that need to be protected, it is equally important to ensure that irrelevant data and applications are kept out of the plan. Relevant data files need to be prioritized further to determine the acceptable downtime in each case in order to ensure faster recovery and business continuity in the wake of a disaster. There are cloud service providers that offer disaster recovery solutions for organizations spanning diverse business verticals.

A sharp and focused DR plan that identifies data, applications, and services in their order of relevance and protection, will not only help control cost but also ensure efficient and faster recovery at the onset of a disaster. In most cases, a single disaster recovery plan may not be able to address an enterprise’s complete data protection and recovery requirements. It is better to adopt different methods for protecting different data set, applications, and services, after carefully evaluating the permissible downtime in each case. One can then opt for a suitable, yet a cost-effective cloud-based solution for protecting and recovering various data, applications, and services.

2. Choosing the right cloud partner

Once the disaster recovery plan is finalized, the next step will be to choose a suitable cloud service provider, who can meet the DR needs of an enterprise. Most importantly, the cloud service provider has to be reliable. You have to find a partner who can deliver efficient disaster recovery solutions in the cloud without compromising on security. The service partner should be able to provide round the clock security and transparent services to the enterprise. A reliable cloud service provider’s data centers should offer physical security, redundant power, high-bandwidth and reliable connectivity, all backed by 24x7x365 expert monitoring and video surveillance.

3. Evaluation of pricing model

It is wiser to evaluate pricing models offered by different cloud service providers before finalizing a partner. Understanding the pricing model of the cloud partner will help select a suitable recovery approach for various data and applications. Besides, based on the billing system, enterprises can negotiate with the partner and arrive at a mutually agreeable service level agreement. It is better to select a partner, who can offer flexible and cost-effective solution that can free customers from the burden of maintaining complex on-premise IT infrastructure and backup.

4. Developing strategy for logistics requirement and bandwidth

If an enterprise is planning to use cloud backup to ensure business continuity in the wake of a disaster, it has to keep a proper logistics plan in place. A proper bandwidth strategy will help recover and restore backup without compromising on business continuity. It is also important to select a partner who can provide round-the-clock, high-bandwidth connectivity. It is an added advantage if the partner holds its own range of IP address space in addition to an autonomous system number (ASN) thereby enabling dynamic routing.

5. Training, testing and resource allocation

Enterprises must ensure that the cloud environment is well equipped to support its future needs. This also calls for aligning and realigning DR solution with the business needs of an enterprise to offer a well-balanced cloud environment. The right approach is not about keeping idle resources in the cloud, but to size up or down the cloud environment depending on an enterprise’s needs. One should be prepared to expand server capacity and make provisions for extra usage. The enterprise also has to ensure that the existing hardware support the extra workload.

Then comes another significant aspect of the cloud recovery plan: Training IT professionals. Even the best cloud environment will fail, if the users are not ready. So, it is important for enterprises to conduct regular and methodical training sessions for IT employees on how to handle the cloud environment and utilize the infrastructure. However, an enterprise’s training burden can be reduced considerably if its partner can provide onsite technicians who can act as the eyes and hands of the customer.

Remember, there is no easy way to manage cloud-based DR system. It is a continuously evolving process. The cloud environment should be flexible and in line with the business requirements of an enterprise. The cloud infrastructure should also be able to accommodate the changing business needs of an enterprise. And, this calls for joint efforts of both sides – enterprises and the cloud partner.

DoubleHorn, along with its strategic partner NaviSite offers data protection and disaster recovery (DR) solutions to safeguard customer data and minimize downtime in the event of a crisis. They offer cloud-based DR solutions that can help customers reduce cost and complexity of maintaining on premise IT infrastructure. DoubleHorn and NaviSite are also offering a complimentary Cloud trial for the customers to test Cloud for their business. Contact us at solutions@doublehorn.com(or) 855-61-VOICE (86423) for more information.

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