Guest Blog: Using cloud computing for business continuity and disaster

As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, businesses have found that moving their processes to the cloud has significantly helped them adapt to an ever-changing environment. In this way, digital transformation has not only helped organisations streamline their business operations, but has provided a strong platform for business resilience in the face of crises. Even after the pandemic is over, organisations should continue to consider the many ways in which cloud computing can help stabilise a business in the face of uncertain times. 

Digital transformation has led to operations across departments are moving onto the cloud. At this moment, there’s an ever-growing list of services offered on the cloud, such as Software-as-a-Service (Saas), Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), to name a few. This ongoing transition to the cloud in itself has always been a positive business decision, allowing for streamlined services and increased availability. Additionally, using cloud services is often cost-effective, allowing smaller organisations to invest in a strong and secure infrastructure without bearing the burden of time, money and resources of creating an in-house equivalent. And finally, as mentioned above, implementing your organisation’s operations in or transferring your storage to the cloud can be key for business continuity and disaster recovery in case of an unexpected challenge. 

For example, in the current business climate, organisations looking to store large amounts of data need a strong back-up plan should their servers fail. An alternate data centre, however, is costly and impractical. Instead, a cloud service – providing the secondary infrastructure – could be implemented as a back-up. To take it even further, an organisation could run entirely on the cloud – operating systems, applications and data included – held entirely in a virtual server. This virtual server could be then copied and backed up on a separate data centre, ready to be activated if the need arises. 

Of course, transferring information to the cloud can bring cybersecurity concerns. Organisations do relinquish full visibility of the cloud infrastructure and becomes highly dependent on their third party’s duty of care. Therefore, it is important to take several steps to manage the scope of these risks: 

  1. Clearly define the need – what is the purpose of using the cloud, and what data or systems will be stored, processed or backed-up? 

  1. Ensure that your chosen cloud provider has a strong cybersecurity competence and is compliant with relevant regulations (such as GDPR) by conducting an information security and compliance risk assessment. 

  1. Review the performance and capacity of the cloud service provider by inspecting their historical performance and talking to other clients to make sure you get the service you need. Additionally, ensure that the provider has the ability to ensure the constant availability of their service. 

  1. Check the geo-location of the cloud service provided and review its local data protection and privacy regulations to ensure that there will be no negative impact on the service, your data or the processing. If these regulations are inline with your business, ensure that the provider is properly compliant. 

  1. Confirm the visibility of the access control policies and rules that will govern your organisation’s data. 

Choosing a resilient and trustworthy cloud provider will be key in the future of recoveries from data breaches and hacks, allowing for the quick implementation of an organisation’s business continuity and disaster recovery plan. Keeping the back-up virtual means that operating system patches and other updates can be transferred without the need to constantly install each component twice. 

It can be hard to predict some of the challenges your organisation may face – disruptions don’t follow a calendar. But if you’re prepared, with an effective plan and an easy, secure way to bring your business operations back online quickly, it can go a long way towards your recovery. 

This insight is part of techUK's Cloud Week 2020. You can find related news and insights here.

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