Sam Woodcock, EMEA Director of Solutions Architecture at hosted cloud infrastructure as a service firm iland, tells us his views on how to overcome the top challenges of back-up and recovery to the cloud
Disaster recovery and back up in the cloud have changed almost beyond recognition since iland started offering services 11 years ago. The business landscape is more complex, cloud adoption has gone mainstream and the regulatory environment bears little resemblance to what it looked like a decade ago.
But, although the answers to back up and DR questions have changed, those key questions remain the same and there are still challenges that companies face when considering back-up and recovery in the cloud.
So, what are these challenges?
How do I know what I need in the cloud?
A cloud-based back up and disaster recovery project generally starts with a raft of questions: what do I need in the cloud? How do I know that what I have on-premises is ready to replicate to the cloud? What are my specific disaster recovery requirements and priorities? Answering these questions used to involve quite a bit of guesswork and there was always a possibility that businesses might over-provision, generating excess cost, or under-provision, creating unacceptable risk.
iland has developed a lightweight standalone app that is downloaded into the customer’s environment and helps manage the assessment process by identifying and prioritising workloads for backup or DR. The app walks organisations through understanding their existing network and workloads and calculates exactly what size cloud environment is needed.
How can I meet my compliance obligations?
Today the risks of severe regulatory penalties rank right up there with the actual damage caused by a system outage or data breach, and understandably so. Businesses are now responsible for ensuring that data processor partners like cloud service providers are compliant with regulations such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) along with many other regulations such as ISO 27001, SOC 2 and data sovereignty.
Assessing the compliance posture of potential cloud service providers has become a key part of vendor selection in a bid to minimise data risk, financial and reputational exposure. Fundamentally, your data is probably one of the most valuable things your business owns. If you’re going to be replicating that to the cloud you need to be able to hold your provider accountable.
How do I orchestrate systems for recovery in the cloud?
It’s now pretty easy to get data from Point A to Point B in back up terms, but you need to ask what you’re actually going to do with that data when you need it. How are you going to orchestrate your systems to come back online when disaster happens? What will the process look like and how easy is it to do a test failover, record what happens and use this as a reference to check for anomalies? You want to be able to dictate the flow of the failover and the order that everything will come back online to ensure the most efficient process that causes minimal business disruption.
How am I going to manage cloud-based back up and DR once it’s in place?
The final challenge of preparing for back up and DR to the cloud is ongoing management. Moving to the cloud can be a game-changer, but it requires a different mind-set and you’ll also want the same sort of visibility you’re used to in your on-premises environment. You’ll want to know how you can manage your DR in extreme circumstances that disasters create. For example, we know that, in an evacuation situation, communications can be disrupted, so we’ve ensured that you can hit the failover button from your iPhone and manage the environment from your mobile. More prosaically, you might want alerts to be set up around billing, performance, security so you can have the same level of manageability you would have on-prem, and not be hit with any nasty surprises!
Iland has a multi-tiered channel proposition from agent referral commissions all the way up to managed service provider solutions. Their new Catalyst tool enables inexperienced resellers to start conversations with users by analysing current needs and helps get the project off the ground.
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