7 Hybrid Cloud Backup And Business Continuity Mistakes

Avoid these pitfalls when using hybrid cloud to protect your data.

Marcia Savage

January 15, 2016

3 Min Read
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Hybrid cloud backup and business continuity initiatives have quickly evolved from bleeding-edge solutions to pragmatic programs due to their many benefits.  And yet, with even the best technologies, it’s possible to architect and implement cloud-based continuity solutions that are career suicide for ambitious IT professionals.

Here are the top reasons that hybrid cloud continuity initiatives crash and burn and leave companies and IT leaders struggling to right the course.

1. Trusting promises rather than compliance and SLAs

Not familiar with SSAE 16 and SOC levels for reporting operational compliance? Unsure what your recovery time objective (RTO) is for your service level agreement (SLA) and what’s covered under it? You don’t need to be an expert, but you need to make sure that your cloud provider and Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) vendor is. You don’t want to find out from a newspaper that the data centers that you’re using to protect your data are vulnerable.

2. Counting  on the magical WAN bandwidth fairy

Storage growth continues unabated;  in fact, the new Helium-based 10 TB drives boost operating efficiencies and reliability that are groundbreaking and promise a new generation of efficient storage growth. While WAN bandwidth continues to grow, moving data in hybrid cloud continuity architectures continues to be a tremendous challenge. Make sure you can use granular continuity approaches that mix local archiving with advanced WAN acceleration techniques.

3. Focusing on single VM/server recovery rather than the entire infrastructure

Never has the phrase “can’t see the forest for the trees” been more applicable. Remember that your goal must be to recover your entire infrastructure, not a single virtual machine or server. Ensure that your recovery plan has a “backup” in place. Recovery assurance tools that provide automation can help here. However, if you don’t have this technology, make sure that multiple people in your business know the procedures regarding sequencing and timing by which you can recover your entire infrastructure.

4. Hoping that promises of “infinite” anything can come true

Skepticism should be your friend; don’t fall for anything that doesn’t make sense. If a cloud provider tells you that you can have infinite VMs or servers spun-up in the cloud for infinite time, ask yourself (and your vendor) precisely how that works and what happens when the data centers that constitute your cloud run out of resources.

5. Too many vendors

The fewer people you’re paying for hybrid cloud continuity, the better. An EMC survey in 2014 found that businesses that use two data protection vendors were 38% more likely to lose data than those with a single vendor and companies that use three backup providers were 58% more likely. Imagine that you throw into the mix  different backup providers, DRaaS vendors, and cloud providers. It’s best to keep it simple.

6. Focusing on technology rather than the business

A primary reason cloud business continuity initiatives fail is when well-meaning executives and IT professionals forget that the purpose of business continuity is keeping the business running, not just the IT infrastructure. That means you need to have a business continuity plan for the whole business that puts your people and the daily needs of the company – not data – first.

7. Not conducting tests  

You have three choices: use automated testing technologies, perform extensive manual testing or roll the dice. Automated testing technologies are not supported by many vendors, but are by far the safest and cheapest approach. If you do not have access to automated testing, then you should rigorously and with a great deal of discipline test your continuity solution. I don’t advise rolling the dice unless you don’t need your day job.

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Mark Campbell is the chief technology officer for Unitrends, overseeing the technology direction of the company. Before joining Unitrends, Mark was CEO of mindAmp Corporation and held positions at Legent Corporation, AT&T and NCR Corporation. Mark earned a bachelor’s degree, a master’s degree, and a doctoral degree in electrical and computer engineering from the University of South Carolina and a degree in international business from INSEAD.

About the Author(s)

Marcia Savage

Executive Editor, Network Computing

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