John Pientka

Do You Feel Lucky? Why Risk Losing Your Data?

Why Risk Losing Your Data

As your world goes increasingly digital, information and data are your family jewels. Protect them with Backup and Disaster Recovery in the Cloud.

Minute-by-minute, every day, information – data – courses through your personal and professional life. Think about all those great photos you shot while on vacation with your smartphone. I’ll bet they are still sitting on your phone or maybe you have copied them to your laptop (which is always near your phone).

Whether big or small, protecting all organizations’ financial, customer, personnel and intellectual capital is the key to continued viability. Imagine the consequences of losing, or just not being able to access that data – even for a modest period of time. Sure, it might seem costly to protect it but do you realize losing it can be an extinction event for your organization?

93% of companies that lost their data center for 10 days or more due to a disaster filed for bankruptcy within one year of the disaster. 50% of businesses that found themselves without data management for this same time period filed for bankruptcy immediately. Pretty sobering, isn’t it?

What do you do about it? In the old days, you would make copies of your data to magnetic tape on a regular (daily or weekly) basis and ship them offsite for storage. You would also make arrangements with a vendor offsite to have certain equipment ready for you, on standby, in case you could not use your own on-premise computers. Then you would need to setup a bunch of people, processes, and structure to execute a plan to achieve your recovery objectives. Oh, then you need to practice it all to ensure it works. Sound complex? And maybe a logistical nightmare? How about expensive? Right you are – on all of the above!

Guess what happens? People don’t do it – or, if they make an effort they might as well not have. According to a recent survey by the Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council (DRP), “Seventy-three percent of survey participants, or nearly three out of four companies worldwide, are failing in terms of disaster readiness scoring ratings of either a D or F grade. Only 27 percent scored an A, B or C passing grade with the remaining 73 percent of respondents at risk.” It’s a shame, too because today there is an easier and less expensive way to protect the family jewels. You can tackle it from the simplest fashion to the most full featured.

First, there is Backup as a service (BaaS), which turns over the cloud-based backup to the service provider. The provider is responsible for backing up contracted data and meeting recovery service levels. Following the disaster, your IT group rebuilds the server environment, installs applications, and then restores data from the cloud. Now anyone, especially SMB’s who are reluctant to incur the old ways of tape duplication and offsite storage, can safely protect customer records, etc.

Backup storage comes in several different offerings based on different technologies that determine how fast you can recover the data and what you pay for the service. Basically, the more current and urgent the data, the faster (and more expensive) is the service. On the flip side, if you are archiving older data, the more you will want the slower (and cheaper) service. AWS (Amazon Web Services) has an offering called Glacier that is an extremely low cost but retrieval can take hours.

The next step up from simply backing up your data is maintaining copies of your applications and providing the compute power to run them, as well. Applications are the processes that manipulate your data. Often tailored just for you, losing them can cause just as much grief as losing the data.

Here, we are talking about RaaS (Recovery as a Service) or DRaaS. (Just say that out loud and you can tell nobody in marketing was involved in coming up with that acronym.) DRaaS, or Disaster Recovery as a Service, utilizes the agility and cost effectiveness of cloud computing to achieve the goals of business recovery without the cost and misery of how it used to be done.

The concept is pretty simple. A third party provides the replication and hosting of your servers in the cloud to which you can automatically failover in the event of a natural or manmade catastrophe. Remember, this is Cloud: most activities are done by machines, not people, running machines.

In the old way, you used to need to have physical machines on stand by or actually running (depending on how quickly you needed to recover) and the people to maintain them, an expensive proposition. But, because it is now in the cloud, other than copies of your data, the rest of the compute and communications don’t need to come into being until you actually need them. As a result, you can actually pay for it on an as-you-use it basis.

There are plenty of service providers offering a mix of functions and features to meet your needs and budget. Here is the latest look at market leaders. And here is a way to access Gartner’s recent “Magic Quadrant” report on DRaaS. Lastly, here is a large listing of backup and disaster recovery applications from GetApp for everyone from individuals to enterprises. Now, you have no excuse or do you feel lucky, do you?

By John Pientka

John Pientka

John is currently the principal of Pientka and Associates which specializes in IT and Cloud Computing.

Over the years John has been vice president at CGI Federal, where he lead their cloud computing division. He founded and served as CEO of GigEpath, which provided communication solutions to major corporations. He has also served as president of British Telecom’s outsourcing arm Syncordia, vice president and general manager of a division at Motorola.

John has earned his M.B.A. from Harvard University as well as a bachelor’s degree from the State University in Buffalo, New York.

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