We are living in troubled times. COVID-19 or Coronavirus is posing an unforeseen challenge to the whole world. Businesses and economies are particularly struggling to survive in the face of this pandemic. As the Coronavirus outbreak continues to spread, its impact is being felt around the globe. Companies of all sizes are implementing urgent measures to tackle the same. The focus is back on Business Continuity Planning (BCP).

With events such as COVID-19, firms have to move swiftly to review the vendor population and determine which are critical, operate in affected regions or are likely to be impacted. For a business to be resilient in these troubling times, it should be built on principles of security and should be ready for any event that affects business continuity. You can prepare a cloud disaster recovery plan that enables you to restore operations quickly if and when disaster strikes your cloud.

What is Disaster Recovery?

Any type of unforeseen event that disrupts your business is a disaster. This could be caused by various reasons like natural disasters, cyber-attacks or human error. Whatever the nature of the disaster, having a disaster recovery plan helps to restore operations to normal quickly. Disaster Recovery (DR) involves having a clear plan of action if such an event takes place. It allows your organization to maintain or quickly restore mission-critical functions following a disaster. In other words, Disaster Recovery involves planning in advance on how your business will recover in case disaster strikes.

Although both DR and BCP go hand-in-hand, they cannot be considered the same. Disaster Recovery focuses on how to quickly get the organization back on its feet after disaster and Business Continuity deals with how to continue operations smoothly during such events. However, implementing Disaster Recovery is a part of Business Continuity Planning.  

Cloud Disaster Recovery

A cloud-based disaster recovery plan makes use of a public cloud — such as AWS, Azure or Google Cloud Platform — to back up data, applications and other resources. Then, when disaster occurs, those resources can be restored from the cloud back to their original locations – on premise (on own data centres / co-located data centres) or on cloud, where the backup was stored. Cloud-based disaster recovery offers the greatest flexibility and recovery speed compared to other disaster recovery models. One important point to note is that a cloud-based disaster recovery plan can be used to back up and restore workloads that run on premise as well as those hosted in the cloud. You don’t have to run your production systems in the cloud in order to take advantage of the cloud-based disaster recovery.

Benefits of Cloud Disaster Recovery:

Hosting your DR in the cloud has many benefits:

  • Physical Disks, back-up tapes etc. can be eliminated: DR on Cloud allows you to store your data directly on the cloud, in real time. There is no need to use physical items like disks, tapes etc., which themselves could be compromised in the event of a disaster.
  • Mission-critical data can be kept off-site: Cloud DR automatically gives you the advantage of keeping your mission-critical data off-site in a remote location away from your on premise infrastructure. In case of a natural disaster, even if your production centre is fully destroyed, your data will remain safe in a separate location.
  • Cost effective: You can pay-as-you-go. In other words, you need to pay for cloud disaster recovery infrastructure as and when you use it; there is no need to invest upfront in hardware or to pay for more infrastructure than you actually use at a given time.
  • Easily implementable and reliable: Implementing your DR site on cloud is easier than other DR models and offer high reliability, more than 99%. This makes DR on cloud a clear winner.
  • Scalable & Efficient: It goes without saying that scaling your infrastructure up and down on cloud is easy and efficient. The entire IT infrastructure of the business can also be lean while fully ready to fight any emergency or disaster.

What about data security?

Security is always one of the main concerns when it comes to cloud. Is it really safe to store sensitive personal data on cloud? While we know that public cloud providers have stringent security protocols in place, some data might still be too sensitive to deploy directly on public cloud – like financial or medical information. Virtual desktops are useful in such cases. Virtual desktops or Desktop-as-a-Service (DaaS) is a solution that helps users get a fast, responsive desktop of their choice accessible anywhere, anytime, from any supported device.

AWS Workspaces and Windows Virtual Desktops are such DaaS services provided by AWS and Microsoft Azure respectively. Virtual Desktops hep to eliminate the complexity of managing hardware inventory, OS versions and patches, therefore simplifying your desktop delivery strategy. These Virtual Desktops are deployed within a Virtual Private Network (VPC), providing each user with access to persistent, encrypted storage volumes. No data is stored on the local device but still immediately accessible in case of any eventuality.

Cloud Kinetics’ Approach

At CK, we have worked with many clients to design their Cloud Disaster Recovery strategy. We work with key stakeholders during the initial phases to identify and agree on the approach. We follow 2 basic approaches for Cloud Disaster recovery:

Approach 1:

  • Identify the list of Customer Stakeholders who can:
    • initiate a disaster notification
    • approve the need for bringing up the DR region
    • approve the need for a DR drill
  • Identify and agree on the list of Application, Database & Other instances that need to be launched from the latest snapshot available in DR region
  • Identify and agree on the configuration needed for the aforementioned instances
  • Identify and agree on the schedule for copying snapshots of all other instances from the Primary region to the DR region
  • Setup and perform a DR drill based on the pre-defined schedule

Approach 2:

  • Identify the list of Customer Stakeholders who can
    • initiate a disaster notification
    • approve the need for bringing up the DR region
    • approve the need for a DR drill
  • Identify and agree on the list of Application, Database & Other instances that need to be running 24×7 in the DR region
  • Identify and agree on the configuration needed for the aforementioned instances
  • Data replication for DB instances between the Primary and DR region
  • Identify and agree on the schedule for copying snapshots of all other instances from the Primary region to the DR region
  • Setup and perform a DR drill based on the pre-defined schedule

As the world faces unknown threats, having a Disaster Recovery Plan in place has become crucial for businesses. Benefits of Disaster Recovery using Cloud make it an ideal DR solution. More and more companies are migrating to the cloud to insulate their mission critical systems from being compromised.

Blog inputs from CK’s Senior Solution Architects – Ganesh Balaji & Vidyashankar

At Cloud Kinetics, we believe that the right digital strategy can help companies increase their competitive advantage and enhance customer experience. That is where we have built our core expertise. As a certified MSP, we tirelessly work towards accelerating our clients’ business transformation journeys by using cutting-edge platform-driven services. We do this in an agile, responsive and scalable manner, ensuring a significant positive impact on business with minimal disruption. Feel free to Contact our Cloud Experts for a non-obligatory discussion. Write to us at contactus@cloud-kinetics.com