Sep 8, 2014
The importance of cloud-based disaster recovery (DR) capabilities has been emphasized by various experts in the IT industry.
Talking to BizTech magazine, three industry specialists outlined the key benefits of having a hybrid approach that involved onsite recovery, as well as cloud-based DR on standby.
According to the publication, some businesses have inadequate or non-existent documented DR strategies in place. This is because many organizations focus purely on natural disasters, which can mean they overlook the vast array of everyday issues that could bring systems down.
Dave Simpson, senior analyst at 451 Research, claimed local and cloud back-up functions are key to running a modern company, particularly small and medium-sized businesses.
"If you have a server failure rather than a site failure, you can recover locally, and that's always faster," he said.
"This hybrid approach covers most disasters, as it's typically not a bomb or a flood that causes service disruptions."
Real-time replication of data to the cloud ensures business information is kept secure and up to date in an offsite location. Mr Simpson noted that the cloud also offers scalability and resilience.
Florida-based law firm Vernis & Bowling told BizTech that its IT teams never know what could cause a system outage.
The company operates 16 offices across the south-east of the US, which means the organization's IT systems are prone to a mixture of natural disasters and infrastructure failings.
IT Director John Klarmann stated: "It can be anything from a brief power outage or employee error to fire or water damage caused by tornados or hurricanes.
"We back up servers locally, but we also needed something offsite to ensure full disaster recovery."
The firm was hit by a power outage in 2005 when Hurricane Wilma struck, taking the network down for several days. This kind of system downtime can be catastrophic for smaller businesses.
Recent statistics from the American Sustainable Business Council and Small Business Majority found that US companies lose an average of $3,000 a day when disasters strike.
Furthermore, 25 per cent of businesses that close down due to such incidents never re-open.
Ken Johnson, IT director of Rose City Urgent Care and Medical Practice in Portland, Oregon, said he "learned the hard way" that effective DR functions should not be overlooked.
Mr Johnson's first task at his current job was to map the organization's IT topology.
"I knew the kind of system we needed because I'd dealt with crashes where I had to go through tapes to restore data, and I wasn't going there again," he explained.
Cloud-based DR systems, he said, provided a cost-effective option that removed the need to spend heavily on new servers and infrastructure.
"In terms of cost and the lean infrastructure we can run, the return on investment of cloud solutions is beautiful," he concluded.