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Top 5 disaster recovery and planning questions asked in 2019

What were your top DR planning questions in 2019? While the cloud seems top of mind every year, newer trends like blockchain and orchestration also made the list.

Common disaster recovery concerns, such as ransomware and the cloud garnered their fair share of attention this past year, but that isn't to say that more recent developments were overshadowed. Disaster recovery orchestration was a popular topic in 2019, along with the question of blockchain technology's role in disaster recovery and planning.

In the top five ask the expert articles of 2019, some answers reflect past disaster recovery concerns, and a few cover the future of disaster recovery and may foreshadow what is ahead of us in 2020.

Cloud vs. on-premises DR

Cloud is a legitimate choice for disaster recovery, but is there still a place for on-premises?

Cloud disaster recovery has numerous benefits, but that doesn't mean it is right for every organization. On-premises DR is more vulnerable to data center-level threats like natural disasters or fire, in some ways it is a safer bet than the cloud.

On-premises replication often takes place in near real time, while replication to a cloud is typically asynchronous and replicated in batches over the course of a few minutes. On the surface, this might not seem like a big deal, but losing even a few minutes worth of data could be a major loss for your organization. Though using cloud technology can seem like a no-brainer, it's worth considering if on-premises is already working for you.

Disaster recovery orchestration is worth the hype

Disaster recovery orchestration is a growing field for 2020. Orchestrating DR automates the notoriously complex backup and recovery process and reduces the opportunity for human error. Orchestration is also a big help when you're failing over virtual machines on a large scale, as it takes over the tasks normally performed by administrators in a manual VM failover.

However, automated functions can be drastically affected by even small infrastructure changes, and an automated function will leave staff out of the loop if it fails in the middle of a backup. There are growing pains for DR orchestration, but thanks to orchestration's benefits, you can expect to see more offerings for it in the coming year.

Where blockchain fits in DR

Blockchain is a technology that creates and manages a record of transactional data. It is well used in the financial industry, but it can be applied to disaster recovery use cases.

Your organization could use blockchain as a tool for verifying the integrity of data that you have backed up or replicated to a recovery site and to detect data tampering or data corruption.

You can also use blockchain in a process similar to error-correcting code (ECC) memory. ECC memory uses specific code to detect and repair memory errors, so you could potentially generate a correction code and then store that code in a blockchain.

Ransomware continues to evolve

Ransomware will be a disaster recovery and planning concern for the foreseeable future, so you should know how ransomware has changed and find out how to approach it.

Though organizations were able to take more sophisticated approaches to ransomware this year, attackers have adapted. The ransomware attack loop is a cyberattack strategy preying on organizations that use backups for recovery. An attack loop first infects a backup system, lies dormant and then infects months of backups.

Though organizations were able to take more sophisticated approaches to ransomware this year, attackers have adapted.

Cyberattacks are impossible to predict, but a multilayered data protection approach is your best bet for preventing ransomware from gutting your organization.

As ransomware attacks become more sophisticated, so does ransomware prevention and recovery advice. Though the threat of ransomware won't go away soon, protection techniques should continue to evolve.

Keep DR in mind in cloud SLAs

Service-level agreements (SLAs) are an integral part of using vendors for part of your cloud disaster recovery strategy. Cloud computing SLAs can cover many IT components, so monitor the disaster recovery angles when signing an SLA.

Depending on your organization, you should consider business and customer needs when approving an SLA. If you have end users who need access to data, confirm that the SLA meets requirements for customer expectations.

Recovery time objectives are critical for SLAs, so establish that the cloud computing vendor can meet your recovery objectives. Along with recovery times, ensure that data is accessible when needed, and that any cloud data is well protected. Without guaranteeing data availability and durability, a cloud SLA will not help your disaster recovery operations.

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What DR questions do you want answered in 2020?
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Good information and the only question to ask is - what is your organization's appetite for downtime and data loss, which will define what should be your DR strategy. At the end, it is all about the ability to predictably recover what you want, when and where you want it, without any compromise to meet business SLA. 
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