More than just disaster recovery

Harnessing the Power of Cloud: Creating a secure and reliable business continuity plan

Miha Kralj, Rob Koch
© Shutterstock / ranjith ravindran

The importance of the cloud in any disaster recovery strategy is invaluable. The potential ripple effect of a service outage – because of a data breach – could lead to lost revenue, halted productivity and eroded customer trust. With the migration to the cloud, business continuity is now more than just disaster recovery.

In the past, business continuity primarily focused on making the data center more recoverable, with the top risks coming from natural disasters, power outages, destruction of infrastructure, etc. Today, in the cloud, the whole approach to business continuity is different. No longer are fires and earthquakes the main concern but instead security breaches; after all, what is the purpose of high availability if you have a corrupted system? The potential ripple effect of a service outage – because of a data breach – could lead to lost revenue, halted productivity and eroded customer trust. With the migration to the cloud, business continuity is now more than just disaster recovery.

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The Cloud and Business Continuity

Never assume that the cloud is impervious to failure; downtime can adversely affect any business. At the very least, companies can keep backup copies of mission-critical data and store them in hybrid or multi-cloud architecture. Even better than just creating backups involves proactively planning and preparing ways to minimize both the probability and impact of failure in the cloud.

There are several means by which a company can minimize the probability of a cloud outage, including redundancy, high availability and resiliency. Redundancy in cloud architecture guarantees that one failure has a fallback within the architecture, meaning that hardware, processes, networks, and geography are all aligned to keep a business running in the event of a disturbance. High availability in systems guarantees that it allows a certain percentage of uptime. Similarly, resiliency is a measurement of the ability of the server, storage system, or network to recover and continue without significant operational capabilities. Knowing how these are defined, measured and achieved in the cloud will greatly reduce the likelihood of failure.

While it is key to take preventive measures, cloud failure is sometimes unavoidable – thus, it is necessary to prepare ways to minimize the impacts of cloud outages. Having processes that allow for recoverability of the last-known-good is critical to lessening or even eliminating the effects of data loss. Instilling graceful degradation will prevent catastrophic failure by maintaining limited functionality even if a large portion of a system gets destroyed or compromised. Likewise, having the capability to rebuild environments within the cloud will stave off the worst effects of cloud failure in the wake of a security breach.

Lastly, for those enterprises whose business processes are contingent upon AI, machine learning (ML) and deep learning, the crowning jewel of asset protection is the training model. The dataset on the training model, which trains machine learning (ML) algorithms, is so valuable that the measures taken to safeguard it are worth every penny.

Case in point: disaster recovery for a multinational telecommunications company

Liberty Global is one of the world’s leading converged video, broadband and communications companies; it is responsible for providing reliable, 24/7 service to its growing customer base. Seeing that their current model was not at the required level, Liberty Global turned to EPAM to create a secure disaster recovery (DR) solution. EPAM successfully replicated the full-service ecosystem of Liberty Global’s existing platform – built on Amazon Web Services (AWS); the ecosystem was fully functional and consisted of many applications, hardware, and APIs.

Regarding EPAM’s project with Liberty Global, Robert Koch, the Head of Media & Entertainment at EPAM, emphasized the necessity of network resiliency and business continuity, “Connectivity is not just important for the enterprise, but also people’s day to day lives. Especially when looking at the impact of people working remotely, post COVID – ensuring stability and resiliency is everything.” Koch goes on to highlight the importance of disaster recovery, “The cloud allows telcos to have the capability to come back online as quickly as possible. They need that resiliency; the impact of an outage is so much broader nowadays.”

EPAM’s DR solution for Liberty Global included software development lifestyle cycles, data synchronization, cloud migration, and AWS infrastructure. These features, particularly the migration of Liberty Global’s existing apps to the AWS cloud, helped create a flexible and secure foundation for hybrid cloud transformation. Moreover, EPAM provided Liberty Global with high availability as well as protection from data breaches, the new generation of risk in the cloud.

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The importance of the cloud in any disaster recovery strategy is invaluable. The modern challenges of maintaining network stability can impact large organizations like Liberty Global or even small businesses. Although the solution EPAM implemented was made to solve the issues of a major telco provider- such as providing internet across broad parts of the country – DR solutions are not telco specific. Every company should invest in a business community plan because no one is exempt from hacker-related disruption.

Miha Kralj
Miha leads EPAM’s Cloud Strategy practice, helping customers realize the full value of cloud adoptions by creating strategic transformation roadmaps that guide organizational change towards modern IT. With over 30 years of IT Strategy experience, and as a board-certified Enterprise IT Architect, Miha works with senior IT executives to align their business & technology strategies and architect optimal cloud selection and consumption solutions. Miha is an industry-wide thought leader in cloud and a recognized technology delivery expert.

Rob Koch
Robert Koch is the Head of Media, Entertainment and Telecom at EPAM Systems, a leading product engineering firm. Over the last decade, he and his team have helped to envision and deliver the next generation solutions that power digital video, IOT, and connectivity platforms for the world’s leading providers.

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