Cloud computing is transforming the way companies store and access business-critical applications and data. Syncsort’s 2018 report showed that IT professionals consider business continuity to be the topmost benefit of the cloud. This is no surprise. With the cloud, applications and data are typically stored and accessed securely from a central, off-site location so that business can continue as usual despite unplanned interruptions or incidents.
What are the benefits of cloud-based business continuity solutions?
The following are qualities of the cloud that make it stand out when it comes to business continuity for both small and large enterprises.
To ensure the availability of their clients’ applications and data, cloud services providers (CSPs) use systems that offer a greater level of resilience than their customers could create for themselves. A CSP’s business depends on the service it provides, so it's in their best interest to prevent even the smallest outages, as these can damage their reputation and revenue quickly.
With the cloud, applications and data are stored and accessed securely from a central, off-site location. This means that businesses can still access them even if their offices become inaccessible because of natural disasters or other incidents.
Cloud-based business continuity is more cost-effective, as it eliminates the need to invest in your own hardware or off-site facilities. Not only that, but you can also customize solutions you use, and only to the business continuity services you need. And as business operations expand, you can scale up or add services.
Easy data backup
A critical aspect of business continuity is protecting data and making it available in times of disaster. Cloud-based business continuity makes it possible to automatically back up data in real time or at scheduled intervals. Traditional night-time backups are rendered obsolete.
CSPs have backup and recovery systems in place so that they can guarantee uptime or availability. This is typically measured in annual percentages of “nines.” The more nines there are, the better the availability. For instance, 99.999% availability or uptime means only 5.25 minutes of downtime per year. Meanwhile, 99.9999% availability means 31.5 seconds of annual downtime.
Qualities to look for in cloud-based business continuity
To be certain about a CSP’s business continuity capabilities, look for the following qualities:
Review any service level agreements (SLAs) to ensure they meet your business continuity needs. For example, some CSP support is only available during regular business hours. This may not be clear at the start. What your business needs is 24/7 support since disasters may happen at any time.
Secured remote access
Consider how a CSP candidate can help with scenarios like train strikes, heavy snowstorms, hurricanes, and the like. If your employees cannot get to the office and need to work from home, will they ensure that access to its service is secure? You will need to check whether they will be able to protect your data and communications in these situations.
Backup data center
Ask whether a potential provider replicates all of their data, and if so, to what location. Will this data center be in the same city, county, or country? An experienced and security-aware CSP backs up key data in separate cities. You should also review the provider’s data center specifications. If they are a reputable provider, they will have nothing to hide in this regard.
Lastly, there’s no such thing as 100% uptime or a perfect business continuity plan. So you can further protect your business by carrying out a thorough check of a CSP’s indemnity coverage or terms of compensation in case of any problems.
Cloud computing makes it easier for a business to carry on in the event of a disaster. With the right CSP partner, your operations will continue to run automatically and in accordance with a business continuity plan. Your employees will easily be able to access data and applications from anywhere, including relocated offices or their homes. To find out firsthand how the cloud offers robust business continuity, talk to our experts here at NetQuest.
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