Only 31% of federal agencies currently use the cloud as a part of their disaster recovery (DR) strategy. Many think that having a physical option to fall back on in an emergency is the safest bet. But is it? Keeping the infrastructure lights on in facilities and maintaining hot, warm, and cold locations in case there’s an emergency are not cost-effective. Also, response is rarely up to par. Plus, what happens if your on-premises DR solution is involved in a fire or flood?

At the heart of DR is mission-critical data that must be backed up, replicated, and readily available for swift response to a crisis. The plumbing and stitching around your data can change, but as long as it is kept under control and managed efficiently, everything else can be postured around that. Therefore, a cloud-based solution that integrates and manages that data from the start is optimal for DR. Here are five best practices to follow for adopting a cloud-based DR and business continuity (BC) solution.

1. Make a Plan That Includes BC

You need a plan for a smooth transition during a disaster. Develop a governance plan that includes detailed steps for not only DR but also BC, because your focus should be your agency’s mission regardless of circumstances. By making a plan for both, you can prioritize what you need to recover. Look at your IT systems, applications. and data critically. Identify systems that cannot afford any downtime, specify backup and retrieval procedures, and designate recovery teams.

2. Assess Your Data

Find, identify, and assess the types of data you have. Look for structured, unstructured, in-house, and social, and be sure to know where you are storing it. As you catalog your data, learn about its compliance and privacy requirements. Finally, classify your data in order to help with risk assessments that ensure your procedures for DR aren’t creating vulnerabilities.

3. Focus on Agility

Agility is key to effective cloud-based DR. Choose a platform built for multi-cloud environments that uses cloud-native integrations. It should seamlessly replicate data across the environment, from on-premises core systems to public clouds and the edge. It should be able to smoothly convert on-premises virtual machines (VMs) to the cloud, and consolidate on-premises and cloud data management on a single platform. Take care not to overlook ease-of-use or low network latency.

4. Follow Automation Policy

You need really fast response to and recovery from emergencies. Implementing policy-based automation increases the efficiency of backups and speeds your response time. It can simplify the management of distributed systems, which makes it easier to enable integration, configurations and testing. This type of automation can also ensure that your DR procedures adhere to an agency’s disaster recovery plan.

5. Change Your Approach to Managing Data

Although cloud has opened up new avenues for IT operations and data use, it has added some complexities to the network. By taking a path toward multi-cloud efficiency, you can streamline their ability to recover from disruptions from virtually any incident – physical or cyber. Start by simplifying and automating data management with an eye to global visibility. Provide direct access to data for third-party apps for security, insights, and new innovations. To solve data fragmentation problems, implement native integration with your cloud provider. This will also make it easier to support hybrid environments and enhance management. Everything will be in a unified platform and interface.

Cohesity can help you with your DR and BC goals by simplifying your ability to address compliance, cost and speed of recovery objectives and let you stay focused on your mission. Cohesity provides a single, software-defined data platform and user interface that runs natively in the cloud. To learn more about DR for federal agencies, why cloud is the right choice for DR and BC, and where Cohesity should fit in your plans, read this market trends report, 4 Ways Cloud Makes the Best Platform for Disaster Recovery.

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