Ease of access to a fully recoverable production environment can mean the difference between emerging from a disaster at minimal cost and maximum speed, or picking up the pieces of your business and reputation. But not all organizations can stomach the set-up and maintenance costs of a dedicated stand-by recovery site.

That’s why companies use cloud-based disaster recovery solutions as an efficient way to protect production environments without the resource and management burden of replicating to a secondary site. The usual cloud rules apply: scalability, pay-as-you-go pricing, and lower total cost of ownership, which means companies can afford to test their recovery readiness or solution more frequently.

However, not all applications and data are created equal: A business may be able to manage for a few days without access to historical customer orders, but will quickly suffer revenue and reputation loss if its transactional systems are down for even a few hours. When it comes to recovery measures, it’s a good idea to strike a balance between cost and resilience — a one-size-fits-all approach is either unduly risky or prohibitively expensive. A tiered cloud-based recovery service, on the other hand, allows for a differentiated protection strategy based on the business value of systems and data.



For higher-value critical applications, consider asynchronous server replication in real-time to secure private cloud infrastructures with guaranteed availability based on robust service-level agreements (SLAs). Continuous data protection can be achieved through a journal of data changes, enabling restoration to a specific point in time in the event of a virus, hardware failure, or software corruption. Should any servers fail, the replication service acts as the live environment until the original servers are restored.

For lower-tier, back-office applications and data with less aggressive RPOs/RTOs, cloud vaulting based on shared infrastructure offers a cost-effective solution. Providing secure, remote access to recovered applications and data, also avoids the need for IT staff to travel to a secondary site during testing or recovery.



Of course, executing a full-blown recovery program relies on more than infrastructure alone: The need to continuously update the DR plan, test regularly, and ensure recovery and production environments stay in sync can pile pressure on already overstretched IT departments. Organizations now have various options to outsource these critical but often neglected tasks by turning to managed service providers to supply the people, processes, and tools required to coordinate testing and manage the recovery lifecycle.

This not only alleviates the pain directly associated with recovery programs, but also uncovers and addresses the change management deficits that often undermine recovery planning — strengthening production operations as part of the package.