Security Platforms/Tools

Enterprises Not Yet Embracing Cloud DR

The cloud is proving a boon to enterprise disaster recovery efforts by reducing cost and improving flexibility, but most business IT departments aren't taking advantage of the new possibilities and are leaving themselves vulnerable to costly disruptions, a new survey conducted by NTT shows.

Ninety percent of executives surveyed agreed they need a disaster recovery/business continuity plan that covers data outages and breaches, but only 50% have such a plan and less than half test those plans regularly to see if they are valid.

Because of cloud computing and storage and the emergence of on-demand network services, it is easier than ever for businesses to have failover options for natural disasters, manmade attacks or simple service outages, notes Indranil Sengupta, NTT America Inc. senior director of cloud services development. Instead of investing capex dollars in extra hardware that sits idle until something happens, companies can tailor disaster recovery efforts in the cloud, using and paying for those resources only when they are needed.

"Cloud-based recovery has changed things around from a hardware-based model to a software-based model," he notes. "There is no longer a need for long-term contracts, maintenance, etc., of hardware. You can buy cloud-based services on a fee basis, and have the flexibility to locate them where you want."

NTT Communications Corp. (NYSE: NTT) is also making it possible for customers to conduct tests of their disaster recovery/business continuity plans through its customer service portal, transforming what once was a tedious process that could take months to complete into something that can be done on demand in a much shorter time frame, without disrupting existing operations.

That's important, Sengupta notes, because even companies that put DR/BC plans in place often fail to test to make sure they are working. Twenty-three percent of the companies in NTT's survey that had disaster plans failed to ever test them and 55% didn't test on a regular basis. Of those that did test regularly, 74% admitted the tests often didn't meet their company's recovery objectives.

Given the fast pace of change in today's enterprise IT operations, it is very common for DR/BC plans to be outdated, a reality that can lead to costly data center outages or other problems. According to NTT's research, even one minute of data center downtime costs, on average, $7,900.

Stay up-to-date on data center strategies including connectivity in the data center connectivity section of our Data Center page here on Light Reading.

"Cloud-based disaster recovery with the portal makes it very simple for them to carry out disaster recovery tests," he says. "They can generate reports, and prove to anyone who wants to look at it the status of the plan. It's possible to fail over, run service on the failover site, and then fail it back, all without disrupting end customers. That saves companies a lot of time and money as well."

There is increased awareness of disaster recovery efforts, Sengupta notes, but there may well be a lag in movement by enterprises because they are locked into long-term contracts for DR/BC, and are waiting for those to expire.

One of the things NTT is doing now is showing enterprises that even if they write off the existing long-term investment in capex for the hardware-based solutions they have been using, the overall total cost of ownership for disaster recovery/business continuity can still go down, while providing a better level of protection.

"We have the business justification around this in terms of cost savings," he says. "And we can also show, from the IT standpoint, a much greater ease of use."

— Carol Wilson, Editor-at-Large, Light Reading

justin.bannister 4/2/2015 | 10:04:59 AM
NTT Infographic Link Here's a link where you can get the NTT Communications Disaster Recovery survey and infographic: http://www.us.ntt.com/en/services/disaster-recovery-survey.html

brooks7 3/30/2015 | 12:07:23 PM
Re: Inviting Customers To Cloud Continuity Carol,

Can I add a note of depends...sort of...thought.

If Enterprises are smart, they can build DR directly into their strategy as they move into the Cloud and external Data Centers.  I think a lot of this depends on the view of SaaS versus Enterprise Hosted applications as well.

As people move to things like Salesforce, don't they assume (and yes you can add the normal joke in here) that SF has redundancy built into the service?

Just as an FYI, this whole phenonmenon creates a bit of a shout out for Ethernet (in deference to IP) access to some services.  If the Internet is going wonky (stares at Level 3), then having some amount of Layer 2 connectivity can provide both a possibile way past the problem for some services and a way of knowing that the Internet is down/troubled.


cnwedit 3/30/2015 | 10:04:09 AM
Re: Inviting Customers To Cloud Continuity I think inertia is often a big part of the problem. But as these companies get more comfortuable with their existing cloud operations, this application seems like a no-brainer to me, especially given the likelihood that something is going to happen, much of it weather-related. I would be shocked not to see cloud-based DR/BC take off as a major application of the cloud. 
Phil_Britt 3/30/2015 | 9:06:39 AM
Not Boy Scouts Those of us who were Boy Scouts were taught, among other things, to be prepared. It is amazing how many business executives, whether they were Boy Scouts or not, have failed to adopt this philosophy. Disasters happen, be it 9-11 or the guy with the backhoe cutting the power. My utility company cuts my power about every two months (I think they just want to remind me who is truly in charge). I backup locally to an exterior drive, but my business is small -- just me. Any larger and a remote backup would be the only thing that would make sense.
kq4ym 3/28/2015 | 10:56:29 AM
Inviting Customers To Cloud Continuity With "Ninety percent of executives surveyed agreed they need a disaster recovery/business continuity plan," and only half moving forward, that would seem a ready make market for cloud services to jump on. It's still probably a bit of the old inertia problem though. It's easy to talk about needs, but not so easy to spend the money and time to actually do something. A bit of the "we just got robbed, so we need a buglar alarm installed now" mentality. Waiting until the disaster hits before doing something. 
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