Disaster recovery is an essential aspect of any firm’s business continuity plan. Over the years, it has evolved from being offered ‘as a service’ to relying on cloud-based storage. Here’s a look at the dominating trends in disaster recovery (DR) witnessed in 2014.
An increase in cloud DR offerings
A growing adoption of the cloud in disaster recovery was evident in the launch of new software solutions that allow businesses to replicate data, applications and virtual machines into the cloud for greater system protection. Investments in cloud fabric technology increased, which means that businesses will be able to move virtualized workloads between cloud providers. Hybrid disaster recovery services continued to be rolled out while DR capabilities continued being integrated into enterprise software platforms.
Emphasis on DR virtualization
Some DR software vendors stepped up their virtual replication suites, while others upgraded their DR tools with automation and management features. The idea behind virtualization as a backup and recovery strategy is simple to understand. It is easier to recover a virtual machine than when it is a physical device. A virtualized server can reduce the time required for full restoration by a significant amount. One reason is because it is not necessary to rebuild the servers, operating systems or applications separately as they exist at a different location and can be brought back online. In an enterprise scenario, a number of Virtual Machines (VMs) help data centres stay agile.
Drop in DR preparedness
Unfortunately, even as the DR product and services industry continued to move at a strong pace, businesses took a lighter view of disaster recovery last year. This was indicated in a PriceWaterhouseCoopers study, which found that companies with disaster recovery plans dropped to 39% from a previous 50%. It is not only important to have a disaster recovery plan in place but also to test it.
There are different approaches to this :
- The business owner and DR team can examine the plan document in detail for missing details and inconsistencies.
- Participants can walk through the activities of the plan step-by-step (known as a tabletop exercise) as a way of demonstrating that they are aware of their responsibilities in an emergency.
- A simulation test can help a business determine if business continuity management procedures and resources actually work in a real-life situation. Simulations employ the use of scenarios, and are as such, full-scale tests.
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Iain Enticott – Director