During my senior year in college (unfortunately, many moons ago), I recall an instance where I was furiously trying to finish my senior design lab project with my teammates. Somewhat delirious from lack of sleep and too much caffeine, we were finishing the final pieces of our 200-page proposal and thesis together when the unthinkable happened: blue screen on my laptop.

Holy $*(!@, what a time for my computer to crash! (Mind you, this was before cloud-based collaboration solution days. So we didn’t have the luxury of using a cloud-based approach to simultaneously work on the proposal and have it auto-saved to the cloud.)

Thankfully, my teammate had backed up and saved an older version of the proposal to a floppy disk. (Remember those?!) Without that, our team would have been in a lot of trouble and the University of Illinois might have gotten a few more fifth-year seniors that year.

Better Backup

Nowadays, backup options have improved from the floppy disk. And backup and disaster recovery (DR) are frequent conversations my fellow Cloud Client Executives and I have with our customers.

Regardless of industry, information is king and backup of that information and data is crucial. What happens if the server the data is sitting on is corrupted? Or if a natural disaster wipes out an organization’s main production data center and the entire business is down? Now more than ever, it’s critical for organizations to rethink their current backup and disaster recovery strategies.

  • This is essentially keeping copies of active data and having the ability to enable restoration of those files if needed. While there are many organizations still backing up to tape (and in some cases, even keeping those tapes onsite), there are cloud-based options to help with storage and backup, all while getting the data offsite. In addition, recovery of that data from cloud-based options is much easier and faster than trying to recover from tape.
  • Disaster recovery.This, on the other hand, is designed to protect the business and its operations. Organizations must undergo a business impact analysis (BIA) to determine how a critical event would affect sales and revenue, corporate image, and regulatory and contractual obligations.

Key considerations for evaluating a business continuity plan:

  • Do I need the ability to run applications in the event of an emergency?
  • What are my organization’s recovery time and recovery point objectives?

Most organizations have a secondary data center serving as their non-production disaster recovery site. In some instances, this secondary location is located a mere few miles away from the primary data center. With the secondary data center, organizations not only have to procure and make capital investments in the infrastructure needed, they’re also responsible for the required annual test of the DR plan as well as the failover and back to and from the main data center.

Because of all these reasons, more organizations are reevaluating their business continuity plans.

As my friend and colleague Eric Ludwig pointed out in a recent blog post, rather than building out a second home or data center, companies can leverage cloud-based disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) and have that be an insurance policy for their organizations. DRaaS can serve as a warm, active site available in the event of a disaster. Since there is no capital expense required and the annual test and failover are the responsibility of the provider, it ultimately saves organizations capital, time and resources.

Ultimately, in the event of a data loss or disaster, organizations would rather be in the position of “I’m glad I had that” than “I wish I had that.” I know I am!

Originally posted on CDW’s Spotlight Blog

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