The unfortunate reality of disaster recovery is that most organizations don’t realize how ineffective their model and process are until a crisis happens. COVID-19 and Hurricane Isaias are just two recent examples of crises that are forcing organizations to rethink their approach so they can prevent major business disruption and data loss.
Companies that still manage disaster recovery on-premises might have control over their data, but they’re also increasing the risk of data loss due to a serious weather event. Whether it’s a hurricane during the summer or blizzard during the winter, this threat never goes away. When a company doesn’t back up its data off-site, a major storm can take out primary data and backups, or at least make that data inaccessible for an extended period of time.
The safest, most reliable disaster recovery solutions reside in the cloud. Even if your physical location is seriously damaged or destroyed by a hurricane, fire, or flood, your backups will be safely stored off-site. Because data is automatically backed up as frequently as you like, you’ll always have access to up-to-date backups. Also, cloud infrastructure is typically far more secure than on-premise infrastructure.
While the COVID-19 pandemic took everyone by surprise, organizations with cloud backup were prepared to protect the data used by remote workers. On the other hand, there is a high risk of data loss or compromise if data leaves the network or is stored on a device, whether remote workers use public or private internet or Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications to access the corporate environment. The cloud offers services designed specifically to mitigate threats and meet compliance standards with a remote workforce.
What a Layered Approach to Business Continuity Looks Like
Data backup and disaster recovery are only two components of a larger business continuity strategy. While disaster recovery focuses on accessing and restoring mission-critical data, applications, and systems after a crisis, business continuity is about minimizing disruption to the business as a whole and keeping essential functions running.
A layered approach to business continuity must also include:
- An actionable, documented plan. Business continuity requires careful planning and the input of employees from all areas of your business. Responsibilities should be clearly identified so everyone understands their role when responding to a disaster.
- Regular testing of the plan. The only way to ensure your plan will work is to test the plan by simulating a real-world disaster scenario. Testing is now a compliance requirement in certain industries and a critical best practice because it helps you identify and address any weaknesses in your plan. Testing should occur at least once a year and whenever major changes to your IT environment are implemented.
- Geo-redundancy. A diversified cloud provider provides built-in geo-redundancy by hosting your data in different locations. Instead of maintaining your own remote site where backups are stored, simply access your backups from a remote cloud server through a secure internet connection.
- Compliance standards. If you are in a compliance-driven industry, any vendor or service provider you work with must also meet strict standards for safe handling of your sensitive data. We maintain a SOC 2 Type II certification that applies to all Ancero facilities, business processes, and cloud services.
Top Cloud Backup Services
As with any other technological platform, there is no one-size-fits-all cloud backup solution. There are several models of cloud backup, each of which can be customized to meet the unique needs of the customer.
Here are a few of the most popular models today:
1. Microsoft Azure
Azure cloud backup and recovery is a simple, seamless solution built into the Azure platform. It has one-click backup support for SQL database and virtual machines running in Azure.
Azure cloud backup is simpler and more cost-effective than other cloud backup solutions while protecting you from ransomware and human errors. You can continuously track your assets with dynamic reports in the Azure portal, enable multifactor authentication, and monitor suspicious cloud backup activities. Data is encrypted by default and deleted backups are retained for up to 14 days.
Azure cloud backup can be used for on-premise physical and virtual machines, as well as virtual machines that are already in the Azure cloud. You get the security of cloud backup with optional geo-redundancy, as well as the ability to backup Network Attached Storage (NAS) devices using Azure Blob Storage.
2. BDR Appliance with Cloud Recovery
A Datto backup and disaster recovery (BDR) appliance with cloud recovery provides automated local backup on hardware that’s purpose-built for data protection and replication to a secure cloud. In the event of an outage, users can boot virtual machines directly from the device or in the cloud, allowing your organization to quickly resume normal operations with minimal downtime.
This award-winning Datto solution includes local and off-site virtualization, superior recovery time objectives (RTO), inverse chain technology, screenshot verification, ransomware detection, end-to-end encryption, and much more.
3. Desktop Backup Continuity
Storing data on local devices that are not backed up to the network increases the risk of data loss. But sometimes users have no choice but to store data on a device. For example, if an executive is dealing with unreliable connectivity, data would be stored to the device until a more stable connection is available.
Datto Cloud Continuity is a reliable, image-based, all-in-one business continuity and disaster recovery solution. It provides cloud backup, screenshot verification, and restore and virtualization of the entire device, including files and data stored locally. If the executive’s laptop is lost or stolen or suffers a ransomware attack, data can be quickly and easily retrieved and restored.
Time for Backup and Disaster Recovery that Are Actually Disaster-Proof
As organizations continue to work through the pandemic, they’re relying heavily on SaaS applications such as Office 365 and Google Suite to enable their team to work from home. Secure backup of this data is essential.
Office 365 and G Suite provide basic, native recovery functionality that is intended to overcome simple user mistakes more than anything else. While helpful, these tools are inefficient and leave big gaps in backup, recovery, and security for data in Gmail, Google Drive, Team Drives, Exchange Online, OneDrive, and SharePoint.
SaaS protection is a cloud-to-cloud backup and recovery solution for SaaS applications such as Office 365 and G Suite. This ensures data isn’t lost to end-user deletions, viruses, malicious activity, or departing employees.
Organizations should be updating their backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity strategies with the expectation that remote working will not end anytime soon, if ever, and that disasters are a matter of “when,” not “if.” If you need help evaluating today’s cloud backup solutions, contact Ancero today for a consultation.