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Disaster Recovery Not Keeping Up With Cloud

Anthony Caruana

Karl Sice from Acronis talked to SearchCIO about disaster recovery and data protection following a survey conducted at the recent TechEd Australia event.

"The advent of cloud and some of the emerging technologies has seen a huge increase in at least awareness in the area" says Sice

Acronis did a survey earlier in the year as part of the annual Acronis Disaster Recovery Index. They polled over 2000 IT managers from 13 countries across Asia Pacific, Europe and North America. When it came to DR and data protection they found some surprising results. "One of the most shocking data points we've seen has been that in the SMB marketplace there was only about 36% of the community surveyed even had a DR or DP plan in place" says Sice. Although some had their data backed up, most weren't ready for application recovery.

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While larger organisations have more detailed planning and have provisioned for
DR and DP, smaller businesses have been left behind. Sice says that there's a need for a solution that can work across physical, virtual and cloud systems. Rather than looking for separate solutions, there's a need to find a way to ensure business continuity without having to resort to piecemeal solutions across different platforms.

Part of the problem has been that businesses have commenced moving parts of their operation to the cloud but haven't updated their emergency procedures adequately. Although there's been lots of experience in dealing with physical. localised assets, there's less practice with remote, virtual systems. In Sice's view there are many organisations without adequate protection for systems, citing the example of managed service provider DistributeIT's documented systems failure and data loss earlier in 2011.

Sice sees enterprises as being organisations with over 100 physical servers in their data centre. Even in those cases, two-thirds don't have processes and systems in place to deal with significant failures and to insure business continuity.

With SMBs, with fewer than 100 servers, the Disaster Recovery Index suggests that Australian firms are running behind their European counterparts by some margin in their ability to avoid and recover from system incidents. The key reason for this is cited as a lack of management support.

All of this data points to an important reality - CIOs are working in a highly changeable environment. Much like the introduction of PCs in the 1980s, CIOs are seeing increased pressure to re-engineer enterprise systems to reap the benefits of new opportunities. Although virtualisation and cloud-based systems offer benefits, there's a need to ensure that business continuity processes and systems are maintained and updated so that risks to the business are mitigated.