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As 2020 ends, it is time to learn from this difficult and complicated year and make plans for 2021. A new year or even a new quarter is a perfect time to assess business continuity and recovery assets and evaluate what areas need improvements. It is the right time to review critical backup and recovery plans and determine if they meet your company’s requirements for Recovery Time Objectives (RTOs) and Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs) as well as compliance Service Level Agreements (SLAs).
As new technologies are introduced, your IT team is likely continuing to seek new ways to leverage virtualization and cloud computing services to better meet rapidly evolving business needs. While the IT team focuses on transforming the data center, modernizing data protection and recovery strategies become increasingly critical to your business. More than we think, existing data protection and recovery strategies can be unsuitable or are not optimized adequately for new production, data growth, and the ever-changing compliance requirements. An outdated disaster recovery solution can add layers of complexity and cost and make it challenging to meet business continuity demands. If it isn’t happening today, you’ll soon be challenged to recover increasing data assets faster while also managing applications, and at the same time attempting to guarantee 24/7 access to critical data and applications.
Widespread growth in cyber-attacks, data breaches, and new viruses increase the risk of data loss or corruption and continue to be a major concern to all parts of any organization. Additionally, all of this occurs in conjunction with data growth, new complex applications, and ever changing compliance and regulatory requirements. This all reinforces the need to strengthen disaster recovery (DR) resources which is essential for any organization. Add in the threat of floods, fire, major storms, and other external forces creating concern over IT resiliency that can only be protected by implementing a vigorous DR strategy.
With all of these distractions, it becomes increasingly difficult to remain focused on the right DR and backup strategies that may help reduce the stress of making the right decision for cost-effective disaster recovery and business continuity in the coming year. Here are some items that should be a primary focus for any IT organization.
Backup and DR:
- There are many varieties of cloud backup and recovery solutions. It is important to do your homework before deciding which solutions are the best fit for the company’s environment. With little thought, it might appear that the obvious solution is to simply move copies of backups to a hyper-scale cloud solution but it is important to investigate the total cost of the solution, including egress fees, data retrieval and the storage for long term data retention. Additionally, the ability to get the data back quickly may be costly, and SLAs for uptime, guaranteed recovery times, etc. are another area for concern when considering solutions.
- Security is a top IT concern when using cloud technologies. Despite the fact that most cloud options operate with extensive security measures, there is still that executive sizable concern that comes with moving data to anywhere outside their control. Regulatory compliance is always in play and must be addressed with any cloud provider.
DR business demand evolution:
- Strategies within IT are continuously changing as new software and cloud services are introduced and adopted to meet business goals. Realistically, it is not just about storing the data, but also about using the data for multiple workloads and environments. There will be continuous new strategies that involve streamlining how data is replicated and protected with new cloud architectures. As cloud services have evolved, the “single pane of glass” approach has allowed IT to manage and view data from multiple sources in a single display which allows IT teams to spend less time on DR and more time on strategic business objectives.
Disaster Recovery as a Service growth:
- As cloud-based infrastructure continues to become a standard for organizations, cloud services offerings have continued to grow in popularity and market share. Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) enables businesses to meet and exceed customer and employee expectations around availability. The DRaaS offerings have SLAs with guaranteed backup and recovery times that have become standard within IT environments.
RTOs and RPOs continue to shrink:
- Business continuity is driving the increased need to meet tighter RTOs and RPOs for mission critical systems such as databases, email, and increasing amounts of data. Cloud data protection allows better and faster performance recovery, therefore centralizing and reducing management complexity which has become critical for IT teams.
Automated testing and validation needs escalate:
- Backup and DR environments are important. However, what matters is whether data can be recovered and easily accessed. Unfortunately, for too many companies, there are frequent doubts about the ability to recover. Today most DR environments are typically only tested every few months or once a year, if at all. These manual tests can be expensive and highly disruptive. DRaaS can provide the necessary solutions to solve these challenges. With the right solution, IT no longer has to wonder if backups are viable or that data can be recovered. Testing can be conducted easily with faster results and testing done as needed providing IT teams with absolute confidence in the environments.
Critical compliance concerns:
- Organizations are consistently being slammed with new compliance requirements. For most industries, compliance requirements require unfailing business continuity plans, including offsite DR processes for data protection. With these growing requirements, DR is no longer just an option, but rather a necessity in order to pass the next compliance audit. DRaaS can meet the need for compliance while also addressing business continuity without major infrastructure investments, while also saving IT staff time allowing for more focus on other critical business initiatives.
Planning your DR is critical and it has never been more important as it is now. Be sure to check back over the next 2 weeks to see more on DR planning for 2021 and beyond.