It’s a rare thing when two technologies evolve along completely separate tracks but end up complementing each other so completely that they seem as if they developed together. But that is the serendipitous situation in which disaster recovery/business continuity (DR/BC) and cloud computing find themselves.
Geographic diversity defines the cloud and is a best practice in DR/BC. The best way to increase the odds that a company’s services won’t go down – and to ensure that they get back up as quickly as possible if they indeed do – is storing data and applications in more than one place. That, at its core, is the definition of cloud computing.
Beyond the core technology, cloud computing is the perfect fit for DR/BC because cloud service providers are specialists. This is particularly important when it comes to security. In the brave new world of hacking and cracking, a main reason that organizations need DR/BC is to defend themselves against cyberthreats such as denial-of-service and distributed denial-of-service (DoS and DDoS) attacks. Reputable cloud-based hosting organizations have software that is patched and up to date. They also have qualified personnel capable of recognizing and responding to such attacks in place 24/7. Businesses often don’t.
The entire ecosystem is well aware of the synergies of cloud computing and DR/BC. Indeed, in a recent CIO.com piece about cloud integration, Sharon Florentine cited a study that put the issue in perspective. ComptTIA, she wrote, found that "as of mid-2014, 59 percent of respondents used the cloud for storage; 48 percent used the cloud for business continuity and disaster recovery and 44 percent for security. That means increased pressure on CIOs to make sure their cloud architecture is secure, accessible and is efficient, and that it seamlessly integrates with other technology.”
DR and BC are the second biggest reason people use the cloud. It’s also interesting to note that two of the other major reasons that were cited – storage and security – indirectly speak, at least in part, to the cloud.
Vendors also see the big picture. Last year, for instance, Carbonite – which describes itself as a provider of cloud and hybrid business services for small- and medium-size businesses – acquired Evault. Evault, the press release says, is the division of Seagate Technology that specializes in DR/BC.
The DR/BC sector isn’t static. Kurt Simione, the co-owner of Technology Seed, suggested late last year that the emphasis should shift from DR to BC. In other words, the maturation of the cloud and related techniques can shift the emphasis from simply avoiding disaster to keeping disruptions to a minimum. Here’s how Simione put it:
“I’m slightly oversimplifying, but there are tools and services available that will replicate your local servers to cloud-based servers every few minutes. You’ll always have an exact copy (a few minutes old) of your server and your data outside of your building (and likely outside of your region) waiting to be used. If disaster strikes – your building floods and your server is toast – you simply tell your computer to look for the server at a new location (the cloud location) and you’re off and running.”
It’s no surprise that businesses everywhere are adopting the cloud. It simply makes too much sense on too many levels not to do so. One of the most obvious inherent advantages is revolutionizing the way in which organizations avoid downtime and minimize it when it does occur.