CloudEndure's Survey Reveals Cloud And Disaster Recovery Challenges

Even with disaster recovery services available in the cloud, businesses are finding themselves challenged.

Disaster recovery cloud provider CloudEndure's latest survey reveals that while service availability remains important, experiencing downtime is inevitable.

After surveying 116 IT cloud professionals, the Tel Aviv-based company found that 29 percent of survey respondents stated service availability as highly critical to their customers, while 68 percent rated it 8 or higher, on a scale of 1 to 10, said Ofer Gadish, CEO of CloudEndure.

"For IT managers or people responsible for IT operations, they are often measured based on possibility, so if it takes longer to release a new feature, that’s less critical," said Gadish. "However, if a system is down, their business is immediately losing recognition and money. From that perspective, they are measured on their availability, and that's why it's ranked high."

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The survey also revealed that 54 percent of respondents dealt with downtime in the last quarter, said Gadish. Downtime can occur based on problems with infrastructure, human error, security issues, hackers and viruses.

When downtime occurs, it can negatively impact a business, especially if it's an online business, said Gadish.

"Today's world where everything is online, not being able to serve a customer online -- doesn't matter what kind of customer -- it impacts your business," said Gadish. "There is immediate loss of revenue and transactions. There are also bigger impacts on reputation, customer turnout and the feeling of the customers in respect of the reliability of service."

Insufficient IT resources, budget restrictions and a limited capacity to prevent software bugs are challenges when it comes to fulfilling availability goals, Gadish believes.

According to Gadish, to ensure system availability and data protection, security solutions and load balancing are necessary techniques.

"Once you have downtime, for whatever reason, the question is how to recover," said Gadish. "From a high-availability perspective, load balancing is a great solution to load off a number of servers, and if one is down nothing happens."

According to the survey, disaster recovery budget is interconnected to the cost of downtime. Ninety-three percent of the organizations where the cost of downtime in a day is less than $10,000, the annual backup and disaster recovery budget is less than $10,000. However, 82 percent of organizations with a day of downtime cost exceeding $10,000 has an annual backup and disaster recovery budget of over $10,000.

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Eric Hughes, managing partner of Komodo Cloud, a cloud provider based in Los Angeles, believes that companies rarely pay attention to their backup and disaster recovery budgets.

"It's an afterthought, until they have a failure, which can be catastrophic. I have often thought that business should call [backup/data recovery] data insurance," said Hughes. "It seems to me that with a name like data insurance more companies would be proactive. The data of a business enterprise is too important to gamble with."

In addition, a lack of alignment between IT and the business also creates challenges to fulfilling an IT operation, said Hughes, "[It's] an overarching challenge to IT operations. More so than ever before IT is being managed by business outcomes," said Hughes.

"We are finding that CFOs are working much more closely with IT, therefore things like increasing enterprise growth, attracting and retaining new customers and reducing enterprise costs are much more part of the IT conversation."

Prior to the existence of cloud, disaster recovery has become an outdated concept that was once complex and expensive, said Gadish. "Cloud has left a lot of people confused, and the fact is that cloud doesn't necessarily mean it's complicated to do disaster recovery," said Gadish.

"In fact, it provides better infrastructure, which allows you to leverage the cloud in ways that were not possible in the past, like allocating resources and paying for what you actually use." When it comes to dealing with public cloud and disaster recovery, solution providers also can help their clients by delivering managed services, said Hughes.

"The bottom line, you still have to manage your data -- and it doesn't matter if it is on premises, in a public or private cloud. It's a matter of data retention and the need to recover it," said Hughes."Solution providers can supply managed services -- this extends the CIOs' team of resources. In addition, organizations are willing to trade capex for opex."

As cloud continues to expand, maintaining, preventing and recovering from disasters will remain essential, said Gadish.

"I believe that in the future, no matter how much you try to prevent [disasters], you will always have downtime as the survey shows," said Gadish. "You can compare that to car accidents, where you can have better cars and better roads but will always need ambulances in case there is an accident."