Neufeld's organization originally felt lucky that it was no longer tied to the corporate PBX for voice. "We thought we'd just move over to our mobile phones, but that plan didn't work out for long," he says. They hadn't realized that many cellular towers don't have battery backup.
And let's not forget that all of this employee-driven, de facto DR butts up against another looming issue: data loss. Sure, having critical data stored in Dropbox may save CIOs when a disaster hits, but it could just as easily get a CIO fired if that Dropbox account gets hacked or a key sales manager quits after having poached all the data he needs in order to take his accounts with him to his new job.
A more pervasive and dangerous laissez-faire DR mistake is simply believing that your cloud provider will handle data backup and recovery for you. "When Amazon had downtime, customers were up in arms," says Jon Beck, senior vice president of worldwide channels and alliances for OpSource, a provider of enterprise cloud and managed hosting services. "There's not a service provider on the planet that won't have an outage someday. What was interesting about the Amazon outage is how many big-name customers didn't have a disaster recovery plan in place to either move data to other availability zones or to other providers."
Don't blame your cloud provider. Blame yourself.
The Cloud Marries DR to Data Replication
The problem with DR plans that involve moving data to other zones or providers is that the public Internet isn't built for shifting huge chunks of data around on a moment's notice. If mission-critical data still resides in on-premises servers, most small- to mid-sized organizations don't have the bandwidth in place for real DR, nor do they have the budget available if they wanted to add it.
Both OpSource and Leisureworld overcame the bandwidth obstacle through WAN optimization, with OpSource using the cloud-based WAN optimization service from Aryaka and Leisureworld using Riverbed's Steelhead appliances.
Interestingly enough, neither OpSource nor Leisureworld was thinking about DR when it deployed WAN optimization.