How to Ensure Business Continuity in the Cloud

Business ContinuityBusiness continuity, like its little sibling backups, is too often overlooked until it’s too late. But with the cloud on their side, IT and business leaders have a new chance  to rethink the breadth and effectiveness of their business continuity capabilities to help avert the next outage.

The ‘build it and they will come’ days of business continuity

If you look at how business continuity was traditionally performed in medium to large organizations it usually involved a lot of talk about the “second site”. Core systems, applications, and data are literally duplicated (sometimes with watered-down capabilities) at an off-site data center or server room.

In the event of a business disruption, such as a fire alarm, the production systems would be switched over to the DR system and, at least in theory, the business would continue as usual.

One of the major challenges with using this architecture is the cost and resources required to do it properly. While some core business applications might require hardware duplication, the vast majority of applications can be run on standards-based hybrid cloud infrastructure.

Building data centers, setting up networks, procuring and maintaining systems, getting the data transfer cycles right and testing it all to see if it actually works is a massive commitment. And, while seemingly necessary at the time, getting such investments approved can be quite difficult for a service that might only be used a few times a year.

Adding to the BC challenge is the fast pace of digitization. Of course, business continuity involves more than your information systems – it covers everything from office space to operational equipment – but as more “analog” business processes go digital it’s up to IT to ensure it all runs smoothly in the event of a problem.

As business becomes more dependent on connected devices, even something like a malware attack has the potential to bring core operations to a standstill. As the velocity of digital change increases, we need to be more agile in our ability to keep our data-dependent processes running.

Taking a hybrid cloud approach

The cloud has proven itself as a mainstream delivery model for most applications and backing up and performing DR in the cloud is equally viable.

Taking advantage of cloud for BC eliminates the huge capital and operating costs of data centers, servers, storage and networks. This allows you to focus on performing the data transfer processes and testing your disaster recovery capability.

More specifically, adopting a hybrid cloud approach in your BC strategy is the way of the future as you can pick and choose the right secondary infrastructure for the right application without inconsistent management. Web-tier applications can be backed up to cloud VPSs while core systems can take advantage of virtual private clouds or bare metal servers.

Sure some applications might require custom hardware, but these make up only a small percentage of all workloads. Having bare metal as part of your BC mix gives you a high degree of flexibility without the headache of hardware management.

Don’t let the next hiccup become a disaster for your business. BC is not what it used to be and there are many options in the hybrid cloud to suit complex architectures.

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