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The Driving Forces of Disaster Recovery Evolution in 2021

There’s no doubt that there’s been a huge focus on disaster recovery (DR) beginning in 2020 and carrying over into 2021. The high-profile and wide-ranging SolarWinds breach along with the rise in ransomware and malware attacks has caused a lot of organizations to reevaluate their DR strategies.

In the past, many businesses just viewed DR plans as an insurance policy they would probably never need to use. However, this past year has underlined how important DR plans can be to enable businesses to recover from all types of outages ranging from hardware failures to recovering from malware attacks. Gartner reported that “seventy-six percent of respondents reported an incident during the past two years that required an IT DR plan; more than 50% reported at least two incidents.”

However, today’s DR requirements go beyond maintaining your existing recovery strategies. Today, the influx of a wide range of new technologies and changes in the ways that businesses operate have forced organizations to change and evolve their DR processes. Some of the main factors that are driving organizations to rethink their DR strategies include:

  • Work from Home (WFH) –The pandemic disrupted the way many companies had to do their day-to-day operations with many businesses moving to a remote model. The WFH model brought with it many more remote devices including bringing your own devices (BYOD) that needed to be protected.
  • Ransomware – Not surprisingly, the increase in WFH during 2020 was accompanied by an increase in ransomware attacks. WFH exposes many vulnerabilities that are often protected in the office environment. This increase in ransomware attacks means that organizations need to be able to isolate and protect their critical backups as well as being able to restore both their servers and a wide range of remote end-user devices.
  • Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) – The use of DRaaS is also changing the way many businesses approach DR. The use of DRaaS is rapidly increasing as it has proven to be a simple, cost-effective way for many SMB organizations to implement DR. While DRaaS is most popular in the SMB market it is enterprise-capable as well and all of the major cloud providers offer enterprise-scale DRaaS.
  • Multi-Cloud Environments – Even apart from DRaaS the cloud and the multi-cloud have been game-changers for DR. Moving to a multi-cloud architecture has become more common as businesses look to become cloud-agnostic and to futureproof their business and avoid cloud lock-in. However, using multi-clouds adds more options in terms of backup targets as well as more complexity to protect various cloud services running in different clouds.
  • Containers – Another factor that’s changing the way businesses approach DR is the move toward containers and Kubernetes. Many businesses are looking at migrating their legacy monolithic applications toward a new cloud-based microservice and containerized application model. Providing DR for containers, their images, and in many cases the Kubernetes platform has far different requirements than traditional applications.
  • Edge computing– The growth of Edge computing has also changed the way organizations need to deal with DR. In many ways, the Edge reverses the trend toward the cloud by bringing processing power, storage, and data back on site. All of the major cloud providers offer some form of Edge solutions that are typically part of a hybrid cloud deployment. From a DR perspective, utilizing the Edge brings in new on-premise devices and storage that need to be part of your DR plan.

Data is the most valuable asset for most businesses. Data drives applications and provides business insights for better decision-making. If a disaster or a malware attack results in downtime — even for a short amount of time — it can result in a significant loss of revenue and productivity as well as damaged customer and partner relations. It’s no surprise that in response to the rapidly changing DR environment that DR budgets are increasing. The State of Enterprise Data Resiliency and Disaster Recovery report found that 74.9% of respondents said their DR budget has grown over the past year. Gartner has reported that “in 2020, 50% of organizations expect to spend at least 7% of their IT budget on disaster recovery (DR), compared to 30% in 2019.”

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As today’s computing solutions grow more varied and more complex, the DR plans that you use to protect them must evolve to encompass these new technologies and operating procedures that today’s businesses have been adopting.

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Michael Otey is president of TECA, a technical content production, consulting and software development company in Portland,

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