Cloud computing offers a number of disaster recovery solutions, but consultation can streamline the process.

Questions to ask private cloud hosts when revising disaster recovery and COOP plans

At the year's end, some companies are fortunate enough to have time to devote to revising their disaster recovery (DR) plans. Likewise, municipalities and government agencies may be able to devote some to employees to developing improvements for their continuity of operations planning (COOP). After all, any large-scale operation – whether private or government-run – has likely seen big changes in its operations due to the use of new technologies or simply an expansion of the organization's responsibilities.

One popular option for these entities is to pursue private cloud hosting, which should ideally offer flexibility, performance and ultimately peace of mind. According to a recent article in InformationWeek written by Michael Biddick, chief technology officer of the consulting firm Fusion PPT, private clouds can be a smart way to minimize the risk of data loss, provided they come without cumbersome restrictions.

For starters, Biddick suggests that the managers in charge of their organization's DR or COOP programs confirm that the company uses a fully redundant data center. As such, these employees should ensure that the cloud center is located in the right place geographically and equipped with WAN capacity that will enable crucial systems to restore correctly.

Biddick also says that these individuals should ask how soon their data use can resume after an incident, and how quickly the organization can provide crucial data if its lost even under normal circumstances. In addition, the length of time needed for proper data backup, the availability of recovery points and the price are important matters to discuss in detail.

If an organization or company doesn't have the confidence to navigate these questions, they may benefit by working with an outside consulting agency that can facilitate negotiations. When looking for the right company, businesses and municipalities who want to secure a new hot site or a private cloud facility should look for a company of experienced professionals that have a track record of providing savings in exchange for their services.