Disaster Recovery 2017: More cloud, speed of recovery, less complexity

If Ben Franklin were alive today, he’d probably say that there were only three things certain in life: death, taxes, and IT disasters. Every organization has their share of trouble, whether a flood, a hardware failure, or a diligent cybercriminal. Yet as the demand for 24/7 uptime grows more urgent, and new cloud solutions transform the world of backup and disaster recovery, many IT teams are struggling to understand the tools and strategies required to build a plan to maintain business continuity.   

Some teams view DRaaS (disaster recovery as a service) as a panacea that will eradicate all backup headaches. Others are doggedly sticking with legacy systems no matter how arduous the resulting recovery process. Almost all of them are wondering how their competitors are handling this and if they’re behind the curve or leading the pack.   

We learned quite a bit by asking top IT professionals, CIOs, and CTOs of large, small and mid-sized companies about their risks and challenges, and the solutions they’ve found. These leaders told us what keeps them up at night; they told us what they dislike about their current backup and disaster recovery solution and what they’re trying to do better. But mostly they gave us an idea of where this industry is headed, next month, next year and into the future.   

Businesses of all sizes have their heads in the cloud

It became abundantly clear businesses of all sizes have their eye on cloud based solutions. From enterprise to the small business, 75% of teams recognize the cloud’s ability to offer them offsite backups and stronger business continuity. A full 39% rely fully on DRaaS with no on premises or hybrid solution. Only 24% of respondents are using on premises disaster recovery, and it’s a safe bet that many of them would like the change that, with 89% planning on implementing more cloud-based disaster recovery within the year. 

Teams are juggling way too many products

64% of respondents are using more than three different disaster recovery solutions with more than a quarter using over 5 different products. That’s a lot of money and – just a guess here – a lot of time spent getting solutions to work together. Ideally teams should be getting their needs met with just one or two products, but only 36% of IT leaders are. No doubt that’s why so many crave simplicity; an astonishing 90% want to consolidate their disaster recovery solutions into one dashboard. But there’s good news too, considering 88% can and do achieve production level testing using their disaster recovery solution.   

And yet their recovery is way too slow

All those disaster recovery products aren’t making their recovery any faster. Speed is essential for continuity and security, not to mention brand reputation. A staggering 80% need more than an hour to recover from a server failure. It gets worse: more than a quarter need more than two hours! Yet a full 98% of IT leaders realize their speed of backup and recovery is important, with 72% rating it as very critical to their businesses.

There’s a serious conflict here that’s at the heart of backup and disaster recovery challenges today. Backups may be the critical element in triumphing over a cyberattack like ransomware, but only if you can beat the criminal’s clock. Their payment deadlines are timed to hit before you can recover from tape – because they assume you are relying on an old-school solution that takes hours to recover. But if you can jump to an accurate backup in just minutes, you are home free. Most businesses can’t afford minutes, let alone hours, without continuous access to valuable customer and company data.     

A cyber-attack is an IT leader’s biggest fear

There has been an unprecedented rise in the number of cyber-attacks bombarding both private and public organizations. Everyday there are reports of another data breach or ransomware attack, some of them having happened years ago and not being identified until now.   

Over half of the IT professionals we questioned worry more about security threats than hardware failure or backup disk corruption. Natural disasters crashing on a data center, an employee error or a hardware failure can all pose immense problems for an organization. But a skilled and willful attack can cripple a brand for years and could cost a literal fortune. Ransomware attacks particularly depend on a team’s inability to recover quickly. Companies need to implement an effective cyber security strategy in layers, with each layer creating a means to monitor, block, log, trend, and react to be effective as possible. Disaster recovery can play a critical role in the ability to react to a threat event, and can make it a non-issue.  

Disaster recovery is a critical security defense

There might still be a few teams out there minimizing the importance of an advanced backup and data recovery solution, but most have learned the hard way. More than three quarters of IT leaders have used their disaster recovery solutions after a security threat event.   

Changes in the world of backup and disaster recovery are highlighting old frustrations for some leaders even as they light the way to stronger and faster solutions for others. As more organizations explore cloud-based backup, recovery, and virtual environments, they are finding ways to accelerate recovery while minimizing costs. Many companies want to see if the cloud is right for their business, but what we see moving forward is companies using hybrid cloud disaster recovery solutions to get the best of both worlds of cloud flexibility and ease of deployment with the quick recovery speeds of an on-premises appliance. It’s clear the right strategies and solutions are available to businesses of all sizes and that IT leaders have their eye on a future of faster and stronger security. 

Darin Pendergraft, VP of Product Marketing at Quorum   

Image Credit: Olivier Le Moal / Shutterstock