We read an interesting report recently on the topic of ‘the cloud’, demonstrating how it has revolutionised our lives, yet remained almost anonymous in doing so.

A poll of 2,000 UK consumers was carried out by Juniper and discovered that 21.8 per cent insisted they either don’t use the cloud or don’t know what it is.

This is despite the fact that the cloud is behind some of the world’s biggest companies – Facebook for instance – and also that many of the same respondents also said they liked using apps including Instagram. Incredibly, 73 per cent reported believing that the cloud has either made no difference to their lives or only a moderate one.

Business owners were a little more clued up – at least they seemed to know they were using it. Almost a third said the peace of mind that everything can be backed up is their favourite thing about the technology, while the potential cost savings were also cited.

The news made us think about just how much disaster recovery – one of our specialist subjects, after all – has changed in the years since the cloud appeared. It doesn’t seem long since everything a business needed to keep safe was backed up on a tape.

If something went wrong – like a power outage or a flood – things had to then be restored from the boxes of tapes in a storage room. Understandably, it was a lengthy procedure, so firms often weren’t up and running again for some time. Of course, there was also the risk that the tapes had been stored in a building that had been destroyed in whatever disaster had occurred too, rendering everything useless anyway.

Fast forward to 2014 and virtualisation means we no longer need tapes or even disks and memory sticks. In fact, businesses don’t even need to participate in preparing for catastrophe at all. The cloud has allowed service providers like us at Tidy to offer Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) to companies hundreds of miles away from our headquarters, yet their recovery time objectives are significantly shorter than in the days when DR meant going to fetch those boxes of tapes.

All we need is for our software to capture regular snapshots of virtual machines and we can replicate it in the event of an emergency for disaster recovery that’s as speedy as it can possibly be. It doesn’t even slow down the company’s equipment and operations, so their owners and employees won’t notice it’s there until they have to call upon it (although hopefully, they never will).

What’s more, virtualised DR means firms can prioritise aspects of their business that need to be restored in the event of something disruptive happening. For example, a critical virtual machine can be backed up with very regular activity snapshots so it can be restored exactly as it was just a short time before the catastrophe, while those that are less critical receive fewer snapshots because they won’t have to be back online straight away.

Things are so much more flexible than they used to be and it’s all thanks to the cloud, even if it doesn’t get all the credit it deserves from members of the public.

Contact Tidy today to discuss your disaster recovery and backup options.

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