Data Backup Considerations for Cloud Computing as Implementation Evolves

Cloud computing is now being adopted by types of organizations at differing levels of expertise and experience.  These cloud services include analytics, business application, development and collaboration projects.

Start-ups were the early adopters of cloud computing using mission critical applications. The benefits to these start-ups were fast implementation, pay-as-you-go terms, scalability and reduced need for high-level in-house IT expertise, to name a few. Large enterprises initially used cloud applications for development projects, analytics, and other less mission-critical needs.

However, there is now a growing interest in cloud applications by large enterprises with established IT staffs.

Cloud BackupThis interest is demonstrated by the investment large providers such as SAP are making in offering mission-critical offerings to their large enterprise customers. An example is the SAP HANA Cloud platform. As they state on their website, “Quickly build innovative consumer-grade and industry apps for today’s always-on, mobile, social, and data-driven world. Deploy and manage them on a highly scalable, secure platform that leverages the in-memory computing power of SAP HANA.” This is very attractive to any size enterprise. The cloud is rapidly becoming a business critical solution for any enterprise.

Cloud computing is also offering the ability for an enterprise to collaborate with other organizations, external suppliers and customers. As stated in Cloud Computing for Business : What is Cloud? 

“Cloud computing enables businesses to think and act beyond the “four walls” of the company through exchange of services. They can access marketplace best practice solutions, and select effective IT services from multiple sources to meet their needs faster and at lower cost. An ecosystem exists where participants in a defined market have integrated business processes and use common standards for exchange of information, products, and services. In today’s world, companies are participating in highly collaborative ecosystems providing their specific expertise to create end-to-end services. This will become more important in the future.”

The Evolutionary Process of Cloud Implementation

An enterprise will progress through its evolutionary process of implementing a cloud solution. First, it may implement non-critical applications. As that goes well, the company will gradually begin to implement mission critical applications until the entire data center is a cloud implementation. Cloud applications will interact with in-house applications for a period of time as all issues of concern are worked out or accepted. As that all goes well the enterprise will progress into collaborating with other organizations and their cloud applications sharing data and initiating actions such as orders and shipments.

While this is happening, governance, security and resilience must be progressing in a synchronized fashion. Data Backup and Recovery processes must be modified accordingly.

Data backup and recovery processes must follow the evolutionary process. While the data can alternatively remain within the customer’s network and backed up off-site to the customer’s choice backup location, the data backup and recovery processes can be managed in the cloud. The data may or may not be in the cloud with the model of remote data backup administration. When the term “cloud” is mentioned, we visualize an “all or nothing” scenario. We think that the data must be replicated to its backup site. We also imagine that the management of the DR processes and the data together must be in the cloud. But, alternative models are possible.

To further discuss the subject of cloud data backup and recovery management, contact Salvus Data Consultants at 903-201-7233. They are Data Backup/Recovery Managed Service Providers that provide remote management of the Backup process, along with professional Disaster Backup and Recovery consultation.

 

API’s Are Being Developed to Keep Up With the Expansion of the Internet of Things

When referencing the Internet of Things, it is important to understand that it is really about the data being transmitted, not the devices or the applications. If these devices or applications remained in communication with only their own platform, they would not be part of IoT. These devices must be interacting with traditional applications to be playing a part in the IOT.

To facilitate the expansion of the IOT, APIs are being built at an accelerated pace.network security

In the report from GIGAOM Research called Building an API-driven Ecosystem for the Internet of Things, there are Key findings that include:

  • IoT hardware is not the end game: The profits, margins, and innovations will come from the new products and services built on open, flexible APIs.
  • Technical excellence is not enough. Successful IoT developers must properly onboard, support, monetize, secure, and evolve their platforms in order to compete.
  • Modern APIs enable service composition rather than individual functions, creating an IoT supply chain.
  • Ecosystem architects should build on practices established in mobile-app development for their foundation, customizing only when necessary.

The IT staffs of medium-sized companies will be seeing more requests to integrate the IoT with their mission critical applications. There is a need for the data from these devices and applications to be made available to business applications for increased corporate value. Businesses are integrating specialized devices and applications with core business processes for analytics and advanced business processing. This data has now become corporate data.

The result is more complex data types within the corporate business data environment. This provides an additional burden on the IT staff in understanding the implications of developing backup procedures for these diverse data types.

To discuss this trend in further detail, contact Salvus Data, a data backup and recovery MSP with consultants experienced in backing up complex data types.

Recovery Time is a Critical Element of a Financial Institution’s Business Continuity Plan

Data Recovery time is a critical part of meeting the FFIEC IT exam for financial institutions.

The Business Impact Analysis was a section added to the FFIEC (Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council) Business Continuity Planning Booklet in 2008. The Business Continuity Planning Booklet is one of 12 that, in total, comprise the FFIEC IT Examination Handbook.

Banking regulation

 

According to the FFIEC, a business impact analysis (BIA) is the first step in the business continuity planning process and should include the:

  • Assessment and prioritization of all business functions and processes, including their interdependencies, as part of a work flow analysis;
  • Identification of the potential impact of business disruptions resulting from uncontrolled, non-specific events on the institution’s business functions and processes;
  • Identification of the legal and regulatory requirements for the institution’s business functions and processes;
  • Estimation of maximum allowable downtime, as well as the acceptable level of losses, associated with the institution’s business functions and processes; and
  • Estimation of recovery time objectives (RTOs), recovery point objectives (RPOs), and recovery of the critical path

The last two points are of special importance. Being able to recover your data is not the whole issue. Being able to recover your data in a time frame that meets business objectives is critical.

As we have stated in our post Don’t Forget These Things When Data Backup And Recovery Processes Are Being Developed, a major part of the backup and recovery process is the physical network. To name just a few of the factors that impact the infrastructure design would be the frequency of the backups, the required time for the restore to be completed for effectiveness, the medium the data resides, the proximity of the backup location to the original site, etc. Networks may be under-powered to meet data backup and recovery requirements.

Recovery depends on more issues than just recovering from a catastrophic event. Data backup and recovery strategies must also meet company policies regarding regulatory requirements, data breaches, ability to respond to court orders, and more. This requires coordinated strategies and testing. Data Backup strategies must be planned and tested to assure all company requirements regarding data retention and recovery are met.

Outsourcing data backup processes is an approach that can be considered to have expert guidance from Data Backup specialist that know their field. Outsourcing to an American managed service provider is often the preferred choice; especially if the data can remain within the control of the company and only the backup and recovery procedures are performed remotely by the data backup and recovery MSP.

To discuss data backup and recovery processes further, as they apply to regulatory requirements, contact Salvus Data Consultants. Salvus uses Tivoli Storage Management (TSM) remotely to manage Data backup and recovery while you maintain control of your data.