July 13, 2016
The development of technology can be seen as a back and forth shift between a centralized and decentralized strategy. We moved from mainframes to local storage and applications installed directly on endponts. Now with virtualization, applications are moving back into the data center. However, the cloud puts another dynamic in play: portions of or even whole environments are moving to parallel deployments in the public, private, or hybrid cloud. At the same time, managed services agreements in Chicago and throughout the country are also gaining in popularity. Companies find that through managed services, they can access the experience of top-tier professionals and free up their own staff to focus on high-level technology strategy and direction. These two trends, managed services and the cloud, intersect in some areas one may not expect, such as in disaster recovery solutions.
The Cloud and Disaster Recovery
Legacy backup recovery strategies included hard disks, magnetic tape, and other archaic forms of storage. Today, virtually everything in an existing environment can be copied, updated, and backed up in the cloud. For all intents and purposes, a complete mirror-image of your environment can be built and maintained in the cloud. If a disaster were to strike, a switch is flipped and the mirror-image is activated.
From there, the conversation turns to triage.
Triage: Determining Priority
While it is certainly possible to copy everything in the cloud and call it a day, it is not the most cost effective option, and bandwidth concerns could limit its actual functionality. Therefore, much of disaster recovery is a matter of determining priority within the environment.
Triaging your environment tends to take the form of questions, such as:
What is truly critical to the survival of our business?
Can our environment survive without phones? For how long?
From top to bottom, every application must be ranked in priority and given a time limit. That time limit indicates how long the business can go without these applications before significant impact. It is important to be as focused and specific as possible in this triage phase. The tighter the plan, the easier it will be to test and maintain.
With priorities in place, a qualified IT consultant can help establish the actual disaster recovery protocol and build the cloud deployment necessary for the plan to function.
Managed services plays an integral role in disaster recovery. DR plans are not “set it and forget it” formalities. They must be tested, administered, maintained, and updated as the business grows and develops to ensure the plan will go off without a hitch. For that reason, many companies opt for a disaster recovery managed services agreement.
Internal IT departments are often already operating on a light staff with heavy responsibilities to manage. A managed services agreement shifts that responsibility to a trained IT consultant that can devote their constant attention to maintaining the solutions and assisting with its execution in the event of a disaster.
Managed Services and the Cloud Together
When managed services and the cloud are combined into a single disaster recovery solution, it eliminates the traditional challenges we’ve seen with DR strategies over the years. Applications can be spun up on virtual machines in the cloud and experienced technology consultants can ensure the disaster recovery plan is prepared and ready to go whenever it is needed.
Considering that according to FEMA, 40% of small businesses never reopen their doors following a disaster, developing your own strategy is essential.
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