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Disaster Recovery Review- Your business and your home

Being not in the business of disaster recovery, coming at this from another angle- a business consultant, recently I was asked about this by a client.

Often in life, we take things for granted- that we assume people know this stuff or are doing it.

For me its been 3 years strong, doing this off site, cloud based solution and was surprised by the many who were unaware of its availability or simplicity. 

The cost has also come down considerably while our thirst for data collection in the forms of pictures, videos etc seems to have gone up with the new technology on the scene like smart phones and tablets.

Over the last 4 weeks, I decided to dig into this and beta some products as well as share with you the one I use and am always happy with their incremental product improvements.

They all have specific benefits and some could use others, but it stands to mention the simple fact that disaster recovery of our data- off site- is very important.

When we look to what happened in Japan recently, it is a clear message to have your data off site, or business records to personal memories could be wiped out. Having a daughter who is half Japanese, this really hit home for me. Like many, we needed to pack and evac and decide what we should take. I was grateful one thing was handled- all of my data. I knew I could retrieve it later (as long as I've been paying my bill!)

We all know we dodged a bullet in Hawaii, but why wait until the next event to get your data backed up? Wonder if some of the local businesses in Kona had their stuff backed up, as the waves came across the sea wall?

If you'd like to see the video and report, go here.

Share it with friends that might be interested, as their personal data is equally important to backup. You can point them to my story to support your encouragement for getting them involved in this priority, as missing the pictures or family videos to a flood, fire, hard drive failure etc., doesn't have to happen today.

Let me know your thoughts on what you've found to be great products or solutions to these challenges.

Aloha

Keith

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Comment by Brian on April 11, 2011 at 11:23pm

Oh sure, I use Google Apps for my email + calendar and are utterly reliant upon them for this.

 

I think there is a role both for things like GAE and EC2. Both are sorta near the end of a continuum, Microsoft's offering is somewhere more in the middle I think. 

 

I know Dan is a huge fan of cloud and I believe Ikayzo has moved all/most of their infrastructure to it.. though I like to rag that they still had a Dell "test" server in their office last I was there ;)

 

I guess my point really is that moving things to the "cloud" - while desirable for many people - does not solve your problems if you do not really understand what risks you are trying to mitigate and to what degree.

Comment by Keith Cronin on April 11, 2011 at 12:14pm

Brian, et al

My intent was to enlighten, a bit, the availability of the latest and semi greatest for us. Inherently I do believe they all have challenges. For one, we are becoming data-power consumers which is increasing the demand on our energy infrastructure, encouraging more power plant construction. I look forward to finding ways to reduce consumption of these server farms energy footprint as well.

 

I have many friends that use google apps only and avoid them on their devices- PC or Macs; I think we all have stuff we'd like to keep and have them co-located using Amazon. The interface isn't as user friendly as it will evolve to be, as non computer folks need more automatic and set it and forget it solutions.

 

Security will be a huge consideration moving onto one of these cloud storage mediums, and as we learned last week, Epsilon lost a bunch of emails to major credit cards (i've been getting more spam- you?) and the looming threat of someone breaking into the server farm is real, like Julian Assange.....

Comment by Brian on April 11, 2011 at 2:27am
Just to add to my last point, for enterprises in the latter category - private/public cloud infrastructures can be a great tool - best of both worlds if implemented right.
Comment by Brian on April 11, 2011 at 2:24am

I think the key issue is people do not really understand that there are typically multiple things going on when we talk about the impact on our business processes that a hit on the IT infrastructure will have.

 

Which is sad because even so-called "IT Security" people frequently don't understand the core CIA triad of confidentiality, integrity, and availability. These are often extended to include things like non-repudiation but that's more process-specific (e.g. transactions)

 

In fact just a few weeks ago I was shocked that someone who should have known better.. did not understand the difference between integrity & availability. Can't get into specifics, but let's just say a replication was reversed. Backups were not being done as this was seen to be "unnecessary".

 

Cloud infrastructure and/or geographically separate failover datacenters do not typically resolve integrity fully, so you typically still need backups. This gets particularly challenging with non-deployable cloud environments as a full failure of the infrastructure may mean that even if you have a full data backup you will not be able to restore services (availability). I.e. if your infrastructure is built-atop GAE you may have all your data and code but if GAE goes down, you cannot simply standup another instance of GAE and restore service availability.

 

I will caveat the above by saying that.. generally many people are well-served by going to a cloud infrastructure as their expectation of reliability will likely be far higher than anything achievable within their budget. In other words, most people are probably safer holding data in Google Apps or EC2 + S3 than on a Dell server in their office. However for those organisations with unique or extraordinary requirements, the risk of over-reliance on cloud infrastructure is very real.

 

 

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