Data loss can be a fatal problem for businesses. Due to the possibilities of cloud computing such troubles can be avoided.
Cloud computing systems often tout themselves as secure online storage systems with the possibility of making data recovery significantly easier. A recent Symantec study reported that 90 percent of organisations are at least verbally exploring cloud computing options. Yet many users have concerns about the ease of recovering data from the cloud should something go wrong. There are several options to recover data in an emergency.
Virtualised cloud computing creates a copy of your operating system, applications, data and your server on a virtual machine. You can create clones of the virtual machine or back it up to your cloud data center to ensure that you always have a backup of your resources. In your moment of need, you can create an instant backup of your server from the virtualised machine within minutes.
Cloud as backup option
If you continue to keep resources in house and use the cloud as a backup only, the way you might use Dropbox to backup your personal files, you may recover backed-up data from the cloud. Since backup to the cloud is generally automated, setting this up couldn’t be easier. Simply set it and forget it, knowing that your data is securely being backed up on a regular basis that you control. When you need to recover data from a cloud backup, you can either restore from a cached backup or download all your data from the cloud backup. The latter option risks being expensive, since you may exceed bandwidth limits. If your cloud provider offers a backup to disk option, you’ll realise lower costs than by backing up from the cloud, but may face a delay while the discs are sent to you.
Cloud-based disaster recovery
Disaster recovery options are migrating to the cloud, representing another option for data recovery. This area is still new but is becoming popular. Check with your cloud provider about what sort of disaster recovery services they offer. Since this puts disaster recovery in the cloud provider’s hands, and not your own, thoroughly investigate the service before committing. Find out how long it takes to restore data in an emergency, what fees you are assessed, how frequently data is backed up and how you can access needed applications while data is being restored. Compare these costs to the costs of downloading cloud-based backups or creating new virtual servers. If you run a multi-site business, this may be an ideal way to quickly restore data access across sites for one baseline fee.
Ways to avoid data loss
Since cloud computing servers are not physically constrained to a particular server, resources can migrate should the host server experience physical damage. If a particular server goes down or becomes exposed to DDOS attacks, your cloud-based server can actually migrate itself from the afflicted portion of the cloud to a safe portion of the cloud. This means that your resources are protected in an emergency and you can successfully avoid that would delay business. With respect to data recovery, the cloud’s ability to migrate to undamaged sectors can eliminate some level of data loss.
Clouds also automate backup, which can help to prevent initial data loss. By setting nightly backups, for example, administrators can ensure that resources are backed up to the cloud very regularly. Should something go wrong, only a small amount of data — that created in the time between the last backup and system failure — risks being lost.
While there are several data recovery options to choose from, they don’t mitigate the need to have a comprehensive data recovery plan in place. When you have a plan, not only do you manage employee expectations, you develop a timeline an action plan should something go wrong. By testing the plan periodically, you alleviate a level of worry that data recovery will not go as planned.