Although computers have enriched our lives in many ways, they do come with some unique problems. Whether it’s a raid from criminal hackers, a programming glitch, or a random crash, there are many ways in which you can lose your data. The cloud certainly offers some unique security challenges, but it does have one big upside: The cloud can make disaster recovery a lot easier. Let’s go over the essential facts that you need to know about disaster recovery in cloud computing.
The Biggest Advantage: Quick, Convenient Recovery
Some people will immediately dismiss the cloud as being insecure, but they aren’t thinking about the security advantages that it offers. If used wisely, the cloud can make it a lot easier to “wipe and restore” your network and/or data. There are a lot of potential gains here because wiping and restoring is one of the surest ways to remove malware and fix problems.
The cloud offers as little storage space as you need, and can be expanded on a pay-as-you-go basis. In other words, you will only pay for the space you actually use. So, how do cloud companies have so much data storage to offer? The answer lies in an interesting technology called virtualization.
How Virtualization Helps The Cloud
Most cloud servers do not consist of a physical machine. Rather, they consist of one part of a physical machine that is used on an as-needed basis. A part of the drive is segmented and used to create a “system within a system.” Because this is only a virtual system, it can be manipulated in all sorts of ways without affecting the outer system.
Without virtualization, companies would need a separate physical server for every customer, which would not be cost-effective. Further, virtualization allows for the creation of customized environments which can be used by anyone on that network. Without virtualization, cloud-based software would require some install time for every session or user(at the very least). Finally, the scalable nature of cloud environments allows the storage space to be adjusted much more easily.
Cloud-Based Disaster Recovery
Disaster recovery is obviously something that no one wants to consider, but data disasters happen quite frequently. Traditional disaster recovery takes many forms, but it all comes down to two points: Repairing the damage and restoring the system. Once a disaster of some sort has been detected, it is important to quickly assess the damage and figure out a course of action.
The cloud can really help with this in a number of ways. First, the cloud makes it much easier to back up your data. There will be no need to create a disk or other physical backup media, as it will already be saved offsite. It is a good thing to have your backups stored off-site. That way, your data disaster will not affect them.
Most cyber-attacks will involve some sort of malware, which must be covertly installed on the targeted system. Thus, when infected, the safest thing is to wipe the entire drive. Sure, you could go hunting for the infected files and you might even find them…but total deletion is the only way to be sure. For good measure, you can overwrite the data on the drive with empty space to make sure everything is gone.
When you have a recent cloud backup, it should be no problem to quickly restore the entire system. You won’t have to re-install the entire operating system or any specific programs (unless they were installed after the last backup was made). You might lose a small amount of data, but that turns a disaster into a minor inconvenience.
Backup/Restore Method Vs. Data Replication
Depending on your provider (and how much you want to pay), there are several ways in which cloud-based disaster recovery can be done. You can automate the process or keep it in your own hands. Further, you may need to choose between data replication and the backup/restore method. The difference between these two is simple.
Data replication is done on a constant basis, while a backup is done whenever deemed necessary. When you go with data replication, your chances of losing data in a crash or attack become much smaller. If your business is one that relies very heavily upon its data, this is probably the best option.
The Zero-Downtime Approach
For every minute that a business network is down, that business is losing revenue. At the very least, they are losing potential revenue. Those losses can stack up quickly and become pretty expensive. This source gives the average cost at $5,600 per minute, though it is likely a lot less for small businesses.
By using a technique known as “hot-site disaster recovery“, it is possible to continue using the network and conducting business before the disaster recovery efforts are complete. This is another great consequence of the virtual environment. Since the entire computing environment is contained in an off-site cloud, IT workers will only need to restore basic internet access for business to continue.
Where To Store The Most Sensitive Data
We have repeatedly told you not to put your most sensitive data in the cloud. However, for a complete disaster recovery plan, you also have to account for those sensitive files. The best thing to do with highly sensitive data is to store it offline and in a secure location. Of course, even an offline backup can become corrupted, so you will want to have more than one secure site.
Disaster recovery is actually a pretty simple process when you use the cloud method. You basically “save” the state of your system and use that as a backup. When something happens, you can just wipe and restore with relative ease. Of course, some problems are more complex, particularly if you are dealing with some sort of cyber attack. For any further questions, you can contact PCH Technologies at (856) 754-7500.