Friday, September 25, 2020

Executive Education

Why the Cloud is the New Home for DR

IT Downtime

The cloud is quickly becoming the home for many business-critical applications. Yet, perhaps the most eagerly adopted operation in the cloud today is disaster recovery (DR).

In fact, the State of Disaster Recovery 2016 Survey shows that 90% of IT professionals that use the cloud for DR are confident in their DR strategy, while only 74% of IT pros who use on premise DR solutions alone feel confident in their DR strategy.  Why the jump in confidence when using the cloud? Consider the following:

It’s Reliable.

When asked about the most important factor in a DR solution, reliability clearly claims the first spot (54%) followed by usability and simplicity (16%), cost (16%), and speed of recovery (15%).  So if 90% of IT pros are confident in their cloud DR and 54% rate reliability at the top of DR importance, it stands to reason that there is a strong view of the cloud’s reliability.

The importance of reliability in a DR solution is likely driven by the high cost of downtime. And that cost can be high. Two-thirds (67%) of IT pros estimate that their business would lose more than $20,000 in a downtime event, while 27% report that downtime would cost more than $100,000 per event.

It’s Cost Effective.

But those hard downtime costs aren’t everything. IT pros state that they would be most concerned with loss of employee productivity (29%), followed by delayed product/service delivery (26%), loss of revenue (24%), damage to company brand/reputation(11%), loss of customers (6%) and incurring significant recovery cost (4%) in the event of downtime. This shows that DR isn’t just for the most mission-critical operations or most vital applications anymore. It’s not a luxury, it’s a necessity with an impact that goes much further than hard costs.

As a result, it’s important for most organizations to protect all workloads and applications, making lower-cost DR options increasingly attractive. When protecting the majority of corporate data, a DR solution can’t require heavy resources, management time or capital investments. This is an area where the cloud’s cost model clearly shines.

It’s Offsite

The cloud also delivers assurance that organizations can efficiently protect themselves from all forms of downtime – not just natural disasters. It’s a common misconception that DR is put into place to protect from catastrophic events such as hurricanes, earthquakes or floods. In fact, most IT downtime is the result of simple power outages, hardware and human errors and, increasingly, security vulnerabilities.

Like their catastrophic big brothers, everyday DR events are also best protected offsite where the risk of on-site power outages or hardware failures can’t touch the protected data. This risk isn’t small either. In the past five years, more than half (54%) of IT pros report having experienced a data outage of more than eight hours. What are the most common causes of downtime? Power outages (75%) come in first place, followed by hardware errors (53%), human errors (35%), virus/malware attacks (34%), data corruption (26%), unexpected updates and patches (24%), then natural disasters (20%).

It Simplifies Testing

Even as organizations embrace the cloud for DR, however, the testing of DR plans is still falling short. The survey found that two in five (40%) companies still don’t have a documented disaster recovery plan and the same number (40%) of companies only test their DR plans once a year. Another 28% rarely, if ever, test their DR plan.

Cloud DR can make testing faster and easier, especially if you select a cloud DR service that offers engineering level support for onboarding, failover and failback. This could mean the difference between recovery success or failure showing again why the cloud is truly the new home for DR.

Mike Grossman
Mike Grossman is the CEO of Zetta and an expert in cloud-based data protection, and disaster recovery.