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What is Cloud Disaster Recovery? - Overview & Steps

Instructor: Amy C. Evans

Amy has a BA/MA Criminal Justice. Worked with youth for over 20 years in academic settings. Avid reader, history and mystery lover.

Cloud disaster recovery helps businesses recover lost data that would otherwise be irretrievable. Learn about the process of cloud disaster recovery and the steps that are necessary to retrieve data stored in the cloud. Updated: 03/23/2022

The Cloud and Data

Prior to the advancement in computer and internet technologies, a cloud was simply a weather phenomenon, but today, it has an additional meaning. The cloud, as it is often simply referred to, is constructed by worldwide servers that store data. The cloud can also be accessed with any computer or mobile device from any location making it more convenient for businesses to access their information, so long as there is an internet connection.

This means that people no longer have to rely on their computers to store information and if something happens to the computer, the cloud still has everything you have saved. The cloud is being utilized more and more by individuals and companies as it is often cheap (pay only for what you use), you do not need to pay for IT experts, and data is better protected.

Now that we know a little bit about the cloud, let us take a closer look at how the cloud is able to help you recover data when disaster strikes.

Cloud Disaster Recovery

Cloud disaster recovery services are provided by various companies that specialize in the storing and retrieval of data in the event of a disaster. Fees for these services vary, but, as previously cited, you only pay for what you use.

Example of a Step-By-Step Cloud Disaster Recovery Plan

First Step

Learn as much as you can about your company's infrastructure (its data, the equipment your company uses, and any other types of assets), and identify any threats or risks that the infrastructure might face. Examples of threats include cyberattacks and natural disasters such as earthquakes and floods.

Second Step

Examine your business and determine how a disaster would affect its ability to function. This process is called a business impact analysis. There are two key factors that should be considered when conducting this analysis.

One factor is the length of time the business can be offline before it begins to feel the effects of the disaster, which is called the Recovery Time Objective (RTO). The next factor is the amount of time you can deal with data loss, which is the Recovery Point Objective (RPO). So, you are expected to calculate how long your company can go on before it starts being impacted by the disaster, and then calculate how long the company can effectively function after the impact.

Third Step

In this step, you use the data you collected in step two to guide what type of cloud disaster recovery approach works best for your company. Not every company will have the same approach, and some companies may have more than one approach. Keep in mind too, that each approach has its own monetary costs which must be weighed against recovery time. Examples of cloud disaster recovery approaches are as follows:

  • Multi-cloud option: This is when you use more than one server or vendor to store your data in case of a disaster
  • Backup and Recovery: Data is saved on an offsite server as a backup in case something happens to the original
  • Full replication in the cloud: This method replicates all data in servers from all over the world, that way if one country or continent has a wide-ranging cloud disaster, another part of the world still has the data saved
  • Pilot light approach: In this approach, a company keeps some, but not all their information offsite at another server location and when a disaster occurs the data that is stored is turned on by the company and the data goes on to restore other functions and data like a pilot light lighting a burner
  • Warm standby: In this approach, you have a bare-bones copy of your infrastructure/work environment offsite that is already ready to go without additional steps of having to start it up

Fourth Step

Research credible cloud disaster recovery services to determine who is the best match for your company.

Fifth Step

Work with your chosen company to create a cloud infrastructure that support's your company's infrastructure. Things to consider when building your cloud infrastructure include what kind of security you need (preventative and reactive), how many elements do you want to have in your infrastructure, and who is allowed to access the cloud?

Sixth Step

Document your cloud disaster recovery plan and its details and make sure those who will need to implement it have a copy.

Seventh

Lastly, you need to test your cloud disaster recovery plan and adjust as necessary.

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