The cloud may be the best thing that has happened for disaster recovery/business continuity (DR/BR) for small- and medium-size businesses (SMBs).
Six Questions You Should Ask Your Cloud Provider
Employ a carefully defined risk analysis of IT systems and procedures before deciding which cloud technology and service is best for your organization.
Geminare founder Joshua Geist writes at Computer Technology Review that enterprises are fairly well covered when it comes to DR/BC, but for smaller organizations, these vital functions and platforms may be the first to go in tough economic times. The good news is that the general trend in IT and telecom for a class of service providers to spring up to provide enterprise-grade services to smaller customers is alive and well in the DR/BC sector.
Geist writes that "recovery- as-a-service," exists at three levels. He goes into detail about each. The first is "simple online backup or data warehousing," the second uses virtualization. The third is "cloud recovery," in which much of the cost of hardware and software for DR/BC is eliminated.
David Blackman, general manager of Northern Europe for Acronis, also takes aim at SMBs. He points out that there are three types of DR for this group: Physical, virtual and cloud. He points to the combination of cloud and virtualization as being "very exciting" for disaster recovery operations. He writes that online backup services, which are cloud-based, are easy to set up and don't carry much of a learning curve. Many of the underlying processes are highly automated. In the future, he writes, SMBs will be able to create more comprehensive data recovery strategies in the cloud than they do today.
Virtualization, which has several definitions, goes hand-in-glove with cloud architectures. Andi Mann, vice president of virtualization product marketing for CA, makes the case for cloud computing as a core tool for backup and recovery. He points to the advantages of using third-party companies for simple backups, and writes that organizations easily can go beyond:
You can even go a step further, and backup your applications, systems, and even entire services to the cloud. This would require a different set of cloud options - especially the ability to run the entire system and application stack in an off-site location - but the principle is the same, and the payoff is perhaps even better.
He pointed out that there are concerns that companies must consider, including security and control; portability and compatibility; and longevity and accessibility of data. He explains each of these.
Products are emerging in the cloud recovery sector. This week, for instance, Lawson Software introduced a cloud-based DR service. Lawson Disaster Recovery, which uses Lawson Cloud Services, is available to Lawson S3 customers running Windows. It is designed to restore critical business processes within 12 hours and provides a two-hour restore point, the release says.