What’s Your Plan B?
So often today discussions of cloud computing are presented as an all-or-nothing gamble. And while there are a number of software products on the market now that are only available from the cloud, it is rare to find that the organisations using them have fully discarded the on-premise computing model.
Indeed, the vast majority of organisations using the cloud today are doing so to create a hybrid IT environment, where some applications and data are kept on site while others are accessed from the cloud. This ‘best of both worlds’ strategy enables organisations to retain the certainty and security that comes from hosting applications within their own controlled environment, while also taking advantage of the greater flexibility that the cloud model offers.
When it comes to adopting a hybrid model, the starting places are endless, and depend purely on the specific needs of each organisation. But cloud-based backup and recovery is one of the most common places to start.
A Cloud Service that Every Business Needs to Consider…
Security professionals have advocated remote backup and storage for years as a superior approach to keeping backups on-premise. Indeed, many personal users have been backing their data up to the cloud for some time, storing their email in Google’s Gmail, or holding documents in Dropbox for later retrieval, for instance.
In many ways, enterprise-grade, cloud-based backup and recovery services simply scale this convenient system up to the requirements of large clients, with service levels and security to match.
Backing up data to the cloud sees the redundant copy stored securely not only in another building, but in a building that may even be in another city or another country – an important consideration in this age of extreme weather events.
Of course, opting for a cloud solution raises a number of questions.
Firstly, where is the data really being stored? Some data types must be kept on-shore in Australia in order to meet regulatory requirements, and even users of foreign-owned services with Australian data centres need to have certainty that data is not being replicated to other parts of the world.
Secondly, it is vital to ensure that the service being offered by the cloud backup and recovery provider includes security that either meets or exceeds what can be provided on-premise. With cloud-based services this is not always easy to ascertain first hand. Careful research is mandatory, including seeking customer references or third party security audits when available.
And thirdly, it is also vital to ensure that the cloud-based backup is actually available. That means testing – not just once, but regularly – to ensure that the service is functioning effectively and will deliver as promised, should it ever be needed.
Once you’re satisfied that your data is available and secure in the cloud, you can start to take advantage of some of the other benefits that the cloud offers.
A backup is essentially just a copy of your data. Many businesses go one step further by using their cloud provider to activate Server resources within the cloud, in the event that a disaster occurs on the client premises. Virtualisation combined with cloud infrastructure now enables rapid recovery of critical business services at a price point previously unattainable.
You may have heard recently about a large factory that burned down on the outskirts of Melbourne. Whilst this business had offsite backups to recover its data from, it had limited options available for rapid recovery to enable quick resumption of processing. Surplus capacity within Telarus’ Cloud enabled the client to restore their data onto Virtual Servers in the cloud, helping the business to promptly recover from a disaster that could have caused prolonged downtime and significant cost.
Cloud-based backup and recovery is one of the oldest forms of cloud computing, and one of the most proven. As an entry point into the world of business cloud computing, it is a first step that any business should be able to make with confidence