The concept of “the cloud” is hard to explain to those not working in the IT or computer sciences industries. While you cannot actually see the cloud floating around the world, it is hard to put its significance into words. Essentially, the cloud is all the servers that get accessed over the entire Internet, as well as the data and software that runs on it.
These servers are located in data centers across the globe, so users need not manage physical servers or run applications on their own machines. Cloud-based platforms are obviously vulnerable to cyber attacks, and companies that are not proactive can find themselves in the throes of a disaster.
Understanding How Clouds Work
Though it is referred to in the singular, there are different categories of clouds that need different kinds of recovery frameworks. Private clouds are operated by single organizations, and public clouds are administered by external vendors and shared by several organizations. There are also multi-clouds that use several public clouds, plus hybrid clouds that combine public and private ones.
Cloud computing uses virtualization, which allows for digital-only, virtual computers. These are on host machines but are separate from one another. They do not interact, and all the applications and files are not visible to the other machines.
Cloud providers have data centers and servers and offer these to customers at very little or even no cost. If individual servers go down, cloud servers should always be online and available; this is why vendors usually back up their services on many machines across different regions. Users can access cloud services through apps and browsers and connect over the Internet.
What is Cloud Disaster Recovery?
Cloud disaster recovery can be hard to understand for people who don’t have IT backgrounds, and many IT decision-makers do not prioritize these kinds of backup and disaster remediation programs. Yet once businesses migrate to the cloud, they don’t just keep coasting along without any threats of danger. You may recall when Amazon’s Cloud went down on December 7, 2021 – the reverberations were felt around the world.
Major cloud services vendors like Microsoft claim that disaster recovery for cloud infrastructures is a shared responsibility, a security framework that encompasses cybersecurity and data loss prevention. The providers have to play important roles to keep customer data safe, but companies also have to be proactive in safeguarding the data they put on cloud servers. If you are a cloud provider, you will need to be involved in identity and access management, the health of your data, data backup, application configuration, and network controls.
Data Backup and Configurations
Companies that use SaaS (software as a service), like Microsoft Office 365, are responsible for protecting their data. Their main tasks are to ensure that the current BDS (backup and disaster recovery system) is compatible with the SaaS, if personally identifiable information needs to be encrypted, and classifying data assets into risk categories.
There are different needs for PaaS (platform as a service) products like AWS and IaaS (infrastructure as a service). Some can be integrated into existing disaster recovery testing plans, but others need to be configured differently.
Disaster recovery testing for the cloud can be done as part of auditing, and this can be accomplished with your own IT department or an outside vendor that specializes in these kinds of services and DRPs (disaster recovery plans).
A comprehensive cloud audit that includes disaster recovery testing is basically a periodic examination that assesses and documents cloud vendor performance, following the best industry practices. The starting point is to set clear goals for the testing, and to then create a solid test environment.
IT management service providers like TAG Solutions can choose a test that meets your needs and create a disaster simulation. Once the test is completed, we can analyze your cloud disaster recovery effectiveness, make recommendations, and create a better one if needed. Contact us today!