The #1 Most Overlooked Piece of Your Cloud Resiliency Plan
August 30, 2023

John Gray

Share this

Cloud resiliency plans are vital to an enterprise's overall cloud strategy. These plans prepare organizations for unexpected disruptions and safeguard critical systems and data. However, many leaders neglect to implement another essential component of a resiliency plan: disaster recovery strategies and protocols.

According to industry research, only about half of organizations have drafted a formal disaster recovery strategy, and less than half of that 54% test their disaster recovery protocols annually. Worse, 7% of organizations never test their plan, making it highly likely their strategy is outdated.

A solid, up-to-date backup and data recovery system is critical for maintaining business continuity and mitigating the potential impacts of unforeseen events. Here’s why disaster recovery is an integral part of any enterprise's cloud strategy.

The Basics of Disaster Recovery (DR)

DR is necessary for a robust cloud resiliency strategy because it shifts the focus from "if” to "when.” In other words, DR centers on the aftermath of data loss instead of preventative strategies. Leaders who adopt DR protocols can prepare a holistic risk avoidance and mitigation strategy.

In its simplest form, DR protects organizations from common scenarios like data or backup loss. Disaster-ready leaders will be prepared for these events because they’ve stress-tested and ascertained the strength of their systems by answering the following:

■ How quickly can backup data be recovered after a disaster?

■ Where is the backup data hosted?

■ What protections are in place for the backup server?

Leaders protect their service continuity by regularly asking and answering these questions. As a result, their consumers or clients face fewer disruptions, and isolated events won't tarnish their reputations.

The most prepared leaders should also be confident about their responses to unique events like natural disasters. Hurricanes, tornados, extreme weather, blizzards, ice storms, earthquakes, floods and fires can irrevocably damage your data — and these events are increasing in frequency.

Making DR Work for Your Cloud Infrastructure

Unfortunately, there's no one-size-fits-all approach to DR. Every organization has a different data architecture, so their protection and response strategies must also differ. But that doesn't mean every leader has to start at the drawing board.

IT and security leaders can prepare a DR plan by assessing their organization’s risk profile. Does a particular system exhibit vulnerabilities, and if so, why? Could a disaster break through these weak points?

Threats that could jeopardize business continuity should be prioritized. For example, systems harboring personal consumer data can cause serious losses should they fail. Alternatively, robust consumer data protections can be a competitive advantage in our digital age. Either way — protecting critical data systems benefits businesses.

As they lay the groundwork for their DR plan, leaders will identify their organization’s most critical assets and dependencies. Data in these systems should be protected thoroughly with robust backup and recovery strategies.

Implementing, Maintaining and Perfecting Your DR Plan

Although its manifestations will differ based on your cloud strategy, a robust DR plan should include all of the following:

Regular backups — Critical data and applications should frequently be backed up, both off-site and on-site. Doing so will minimize data loss during a disaster and ensure minimal business interruption. The number of backups will differ based on industry and compliance requirements. (Pro tip: 3-2-1 backups are the leading standard.)

Data replication and redundancy measures — There’s "just in case” data, and then there’s data hoarding. Craft a strategy for data replication that eradicates frivolous data and keeps your cloud infrastructure running optimally. For reference, many organizations adopt a data model that deletes consumer information after a federally mandated period.

Multi-site replication — Distributing data and applications across multiple locations adds a layer of protection against regional disasters. Additionally, some leaders may want to consider a hybrid strategy employing physical and cloud-based data centers.

Testing and simulation — DR plans require consistent and frequent updating. Leaders should regularly test their plans by simulating disaster scenarios at scheduled intervals. Regular maintenance will ensure the plan is effective and the team remains prepared to execute.

Alongside these measures, leaders can implement key performance metrics like recovery point objective (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO). RPO tracks the interval of time organizations have before a network outage or disruption impedes business operations. Say an organization maintains access to backup data for 24 hours — in this case, they have one day to restore normal data operations before the disruption impacts stakeholders. On the other hand, RTO tracks the time it takes a disaster recovery team to restore lost data.

It's helpful to use both RPO and RTO when testing your program and team for disaster readiness, as these benchmarks can inform your evolving DR plan.

Finally, many leaders find it useful to draft a "lessons learned” playbook after each successive vulnerability test. These retrospective observations detail how a team can increase their RPO and decrease their RTO, thus improving disaster response protocols in successive drills (or during a real disaster).

Leaders who feel overwhelmed by their data architecture or need help determining where to start may want to consider third-party options for DR, including disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) or a managed service provider (MSP). DRaaS is a subscription-based service that drafts and executes an organization’s cloud DR plan, while an MSP is an IT and security expert who will guide organizations through the many steps of cloud resiliency — from disaster planning and recovery to cloud migration.

Regardless of which preparedness protocols match your organization, one fact is clear: Today is the best day to draft a DR plan. Leaders should reevaluate their cloud resiliency plan and determine where cracks may emerge during a crisis. Without taking this step, organizations are woefully unprepared for the increasingly complex digital age.

John Gray is CPO at InterVision
Share this

The Latest

September 21, 2023

Companies implementing observability benefit from increased operational efficiency, faster innovation, and better business outcomes overall, according to 2023 IT Trends Report: Lessons From Observability Leaders, a report from SolarWinds ...

September 20, 2023

IT leaders are driving an increasing number of automation initiatives as a way to stay competitive, reduce costs and scale as they navigate an unpredictable social and economic environment, according to the 2023 State of Automation in IT survey conducted by Jitterbit ...

September 19, 2023

Customer loyalty is changing as retailers get increasingly competitive. More than 75% of consumers say they would end business with a company after a single bad customer experience. This means that just one price discrepancy, inventory mishap or checkout issue in a physical or digital store, could have customers running out to the next store that can provide them with better service. Retailers must be able to predict business outages in advance, and act proactively before an incident occurs, impacting customer experience ...

September 18, 2023
Digital transformation is key to ensuring companies keep up with the competitive market landscape. Putting digital at the core of a business can significantly reduce operating expenses and inefficiencies. However, this process often means changing the way internal teams work with one another. To help with the transition, this blog offers chief experience officers (CXOs) advice on how to lead a successful digital transformation project ...
September 14, 2023

Earlier this year, New Relic conducted a study on observability ... The 2023 Observability Forecast reveals observability's impact on the lives of technical professionals and businesses' bottom lines. Here are 10 key takeaways from the forecast ...

September 13, 2023
On September 10, MGM Resorts experienced what it called a "cybersecurity issue" that had a major impact on the company's systems, showing how cyberattacks can bring down applications, ultimately causing problems for a company in many ways ...
September 12, 2023

Only 33% of executives are "very confident" in their ability to operate in a public cloud environment, according to the 2023 State of CloudOps report from NetApp. This represents an increase from 2022 when only 21% reported feeling very confident ...

September 11, 2023

The majority of organizations across Australia and New Zealand (A/NZ) breached over the last year had personally identifiable information (PII) compromised, but most have not yet modified their data management policies, according to the Cybersecurity and PII Report from ManageEngine ...

September 07, 2023

A large majority of organizations employ more than one cloud automation solution, and this practice creates significant challenges that are resulting in delays and added costs for businesses, according to Why companies lose efficiency and compliance with cloud automation solutions from Broadcom ...

September 06, 2023

Companies have historically relied on tools that warn IT teams when their digital systems are experiencing glitches or attacks. But in an age where consumer loyalty is fickle and hybrid workers' Digital Employee Experience (DEX) is paramount for productivity, companies cannot afford to retroactively deal with IT failures that slow down employee productivity ...