How Deep Is the Skepticism on Using the Cloud for DR/BC?

Carl Weinschenk
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The hurricane season has just started and a mix of distressing events - tornados and floods in the U.S. and the tsunami and nuclear meltdown in Japan - make it a good time to look at disaster recovery/business continuity (DR/BC). The cloud seems like a perfect venue for DR/BC. It stores data off site, frees up company personnel for other tasks and, if the cloud provider is legitimate, keeps everything secure and highly functioning.

At Continuity Central, Localis offers five more specific reasons to consider the cloud for DR/BC. The company says that it is less expensive, more flexible and more secure. Further, cloud-based solutions can offer more design flexibility than traditional outsourced approaches and, finally, access to a "SWAT team" of pros who can help in an emergency.

Not everybody recognizes this, however. The top-line finding of a survey by the DR high-availability firm Neverfail is that companies in the U.S. do a better job of the task than those in the UK. The key to this discussion, however, is that Neverfail found a good deal of skepticism on the role of the cloud:

[R]espondents in both the U.S. (29.5%) and the U.K. (31.3%) stated that they do not consider cloud platforms to be a viable option for DR, although organizations in the U.S. were ahead of U.K. counterparts with regards to virtualizing business critical applications. Seventy---two percent of U.S. organizations have made this move in comparison to 58% of U.K. respondents.

The survey, which included 2,500 companies on both sides of the Atlantic, found that companies that don't consider the cloud to be a DR/BC option had a variety of concerns. They cited security (34.2 percent in the U.S., 27.4 percent in the UK), cost (12.6 percent and 20.4 percent) and lack of confidence in hosted DR services (14.9 percent and 16.9 percent) as reasons.

Another survey conducted by AT&T, which has done so for the past 10 years, suggests progress in DR/BC planning and seems to bring good news for cloud proponents. Eighty percent report that they will invest in new technologies this year, compared to 72 percent last year. The carrier said that 54 percent use or are considering using cloud services "to augment their business continuity and disaster recovery strategies."

The question is whether the reluctance of a large segment of companies to move DR/BC to the cloud - at least as expressed in the Neverfail survey - is based on bad messaging by those offering these solutions or if their resistance has a basis in reality. If it is the former, the marketing folks should be put to work. If, however, the hesitation is based in reality, the industry should address the concerns in a straightforward manner.

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Jun 22, 2011 10:48 AM Allen Allen  says:

   Some fear loosing the cloud on a sunny day. Internet connections fail when employees and computer rooms do not.

   Using the cloud for sunny day DR/BC is one thing. In case a plan falls on the building, fire or broken water pipe.

   In case of a hurricane or snow storm that lasts days where internet connections can fail - having all the data and processing on sight seems more secure. If internet connections fail then off site backups fall back to plan 'B' - physical tapes taken off site.

   If my business is in the cloud, one internet failure brings down the company or atleast that system.


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