David Thiemecke, co-founder of Web consulting company Algonquin Studios based in Buffalo, New York, took the time last year to prepare for the inevitability of a damaging winter storm by migrating the company's critical operations to the cloud and allowing issues to remedied remotely.

"We would use those services as our backup data center for quickly moving virtual machines, and have previously planned for the process to migrate what few production services remain in-house," said Thiemecke in an interview with CSO. "We can also move our development and test platforms if necessary."

Luckily for Thiemecke, he planned ahead. Late November brought a storm that slammed parts of Buffalo, dropping more than seven feet of snow over the course of three days. Multiple businesses were disrupted due to the storm and now rising temperatures are causing the giant mounds of snow to become flooding risks. Due to the arrangements already in place, Algonquin Studios experienced zero downtime and employees were able to work remotely, avoiding the dangerous conditions on the roads.

Keep data safe by planning ahead
Disaster recovery is an important step for any business working to avoid wasting the time and money associated with enterprise data loss. Stephen Bigelow, senior technology editor for TechTarget, has noted that while organizations face a variety of risks on a daily basis, data loss is one of the most serious. Any company operating today needs to be concerned about protecting critical information and reducing downtime to as close to zero as possible.

"Disaster planning and preparation are a critical aspect of any business plan," said Bigelow. "But there is no single approach to disaster preparedness and the emphasis on disaster response is changing."

When implementing a disaster recovery solution, it's important to do an audit of all the enterprise information that will need to be replicated and stored in order to assess storage priority. Disaster recovery and business continuity operations must be periodically tested and practiced in order to ensure a smooth transition to backup processes in case of an emergency.

By deploying disaster recovery operations in the cloud, businesses are able to not only save money, but a third-party service provider can manage and oversee testing to reduce the time and hassle of doing it in house. Many cloud-based disaster recovery providers also take steps to encrypt privileged enterprise information, so it is protected at rest.

Creating a disaster recovery plan is a good teaching tool for employees as well as a reliable way to ensure business continuity. Organizations can use the migration of information to the cloud as an opportunity to tell their workers about the importance of data security and to back up sensitive files.