As organizations go through digital transformation, they become much more dependent upon their IT services to support the business, and this has increased the potential business impact of accidental mistakes, natural disasters, and cyber incidents. This makes business continuity planning an essential element in the digital transformation process. The use of data resilience solutions and DR (Disaster Recovery) services are essential elements of business continuity plans, and these must support today’s multi-cloud hybrid IT environment.
Data is the most important business asset of the modern enterprise and needs to be protected against unwanted events such as malware as well as physical or logical damage to the storage devices or the IT installation. The prevalence of ransomware attacks where criminals demand payment to restore access to business-critical data has emphasized the need for data resilience. In addition, the changes in working patterns following the COVID-19 pandemic have also increased the risks to data as people work from home. Both the data and the service must be available wherever and whenever they are needed.
When IT services were delivered exclusively on-premises, backup solutions were used to make copies of the data storage media (typically tape and disk) which were then held in separate locations with additional safeguards against fire and theft. The physical transfer of these media added delays and additional risks into the backup and recovery processes. In today’s hybrid multi-cloud IT environment, some services remain on-premises while others are delivered through the cloud. This introduces new challenges and provides new opportunities.
There is a temptation to believe that using a cloud service removes the need for customers to consider the resilience of their data. The service provider is responsible for the resilience of the service that they provide but the tenant is responsible for the resilience of their data. The customer must take care to use the capabilities provided by the cloud service to achieve their business continuity objectives.
The cloud provides an ideal location for backed-up data since major cloud services are delivered from highly secured datacentres in multiple geographic locations. This provides the possibility to store the backed-up data with a high degree of resilience as well as reducing the delays and risks of physical transfers. The cloud also provides a failover environment that can be used when incidents occur. However, when workloads are replicated across dissimilar infrastructure, such as from on-premises or other clouds, they need to be converted before they can continue to run.
The time criticality of digitized business services has increased the need for an always on architecture. Today’s e-commerce, financial services, and critical infrastructure demand continuous availability where even seconds of downtime could have a severe business impact. This always on architecture depends upon continuous data replication to ensure business continuity when individual elements fail.
All organizations need to consider the risks related to the availability of their business data and services and take action to mitigate these risks. This means investing in backup products and disaster recovery services to ensure data resilience. It is vital that the chosen approach is adequate for the modern digitally transformed hybrid IT environment.