By Tim Mullahy, Liberty Center One
If there’s one thing my career has taught me, it’s that no system is entirely infallible. Even the cloud, which is known for its resiliency and redundancy, can be brought down in a number of different ways. This is true of every cloud provider, from the smallest vendor straight up to Google and Amazon.
Full-blown cloud outages don’t happen often, nor do system failures catastrophic enough to wipe out an entire cloud. But they do happen, and they’re something to be wary of. This is doubly true if you rely on a cloud provider for your business continuity and disaster recovery (DR) processes.
The good news is that this is simple enough to address — work multiple cloud providers into your organization’s DR.
Consider how businesses are advised to keep multiple physical backups of critical systems and data. That way, if a data center is taken offline, their backups are still intact elsewhere. The same principle applies here.
By having backup and recovery processes with more than one cloud provider at once, you hedge your bets. Even if one cloud provider goes offline during an incident, you can immediately failover to another. You’re basically adding a layer of redundancy to an already resilient system.
It’s worth mentioning that a multicloud backup and DR process isn’t simply a matter of signing on with multiple providers. As noted by tech publication ZDNet, there’s a lot of planning that goes into helping to ensure your success.
First, you need to ensure all cloud providers allow you to choose where your data is stored. That way you can guarantee you aren’t backing everything up in the same location.
While we’re on the topic of location, I’d also advise that you shy away from working with providers that don’t have a presence in your country or region. Different areas of the world have different data storage and security requirements. Unless you’re prepared to deal with the legislative challenges of crossing international borders, it’s probably better to keep to domestic vendors.
There’s also the matter of employee training. While most cloud DR systems are generally designed with ease of use in mind, there is still a learning curve between different platforms. Ideally, you’ll want to choose DR providers your staff is already familiar with — if not, a brief implementation delay while you train them is to be expected.
Mind you, there are also vendors that offer multicloud DR platforms. If you’ll need to train employees on a new system anyway, it may be better to rely on one such provider. Beyond that, multicloud DR is basically the same as standard cloud DR.
Run regular tests and drills to ensure everything is working as intended. Continually evaluate and revisit your DR process for any potential weaknesses or drawbacks. Audit, analyze, plan and train.
Play your cards right, and your business will be more resilient than it’s ever been.
Tim Mullahy is the executive vice president and managing director at Liberty Center One, a data center located in Royal Oak, Mich. Tim has a demonstrated history of working in the information technology and services industry. Follow him on LinkedIn or on Twitter @LibertyCenter1.