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Is Using the Cloud Sensible for Disaster Recovery?

Disaster can strike at any time. Your business could be flooded, a power outage could take down the servers, or a fire could destroy your hard drives… there’s a whole host of ways that your data can be taken down and your business will fall with it. Nearly every business relies on data storage to some degree. For the majority of businesses, if their data systems fail then the business can’t properly operate. That’s not only lost time, but lost money.

There is a need to have a strong disaster recovery plan in place. If disaster strikes, and always assume it can do, then you need to be able to get back up and running within no time.

Traditional disaster recovery methods that require a physical backup site or redundant hardware is often cost prohibitive and not totally efficient, which puts some businesses off from using them. However, that’s not an excuse to forgo a disaster recovery plan. Thanks to a technology push, the cloud is now a viable option for disaster recovery.

A cloud-based recovery system offers a lot of flexibility. A business will be able to prioritize their applications when recovering, meaning that the most vital ones for operations can be restored with speed and business can resume.

A cost efficient disaster recovery plan means that businesses are able to better protect their IT systems. Not only does this benefit the business, but it benefits the consumer too. There’s no loss of service, no loss of contact – a true 24/7 company.

Forbes spoke to MetaFarms, a software solution provider for famers that manage livestock data. “We’re hosted out of Minneapolis,” said Alan Childs, Vice President of Information Technology for MetaFarms. “We have a lot of top, public, Fortune 500 companies as our customers–and we had one data centre. If a catastrophic event happened in Minneapolis, we’d have no way to recover.”

“Our entire platform–servers, database, applications, everything– is on cloud-based backup. They’re literally in sync down to the last transaction. About once a year we fully test the system by turning off our local data centre and seeing everything instantly restored from various other facilities. We don’t have to worry about losing anything in the transition; the data is already there.”

Expansion is easy with the cloud. There’s no need to make room for extra equipment, no energy bill that will rise, no extra technicians to bring on board. Being in the cloud makes a whole lot of things easier.

However, it isn’t necessarily all rosy in the cloud. If a disaster takes out your internet then there’s no way to even access the cloud. Perhaps things won’t get that bad, but you need a strong connection in the first place to be able to upload and download from the cloud in vast amounts. Some may choose to opt for data centres that are nearby, meaning that in a worst case scenario they can actually physically visit the centre and pick up a copy of their data, relying on the cloud for less important situations.


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