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Developing a data protection strategy primarily means thinking about how critical data would survive a complete failure. One of the most important decisions a business can make is how to provide additional capability to support a comprehensive disaster recovery plan.

According to State Tech, "Cloud is a critical enabler of digital transformation and must be accompanied by supportive leadership and agile and streamlined processes focused on agency constituents that allow secure multichannel access to information, services and benefits."

Unlike many in-house options, cloud services shift the burden of IT development and upkeep from the business to the cloud provider. IT staff at the cloud company take care of routine tasks and maintenance associated with storage and backup so organizations can focus on other areas within their business while having reliable safeguards for their information.

Would Your Critical Data Survive a Complete Failure?

The cloud's scalability and flexibility cost very little upfront and offer access to a wide variety of storage options that businesses can scale up or down as demand changes. Combining these three cloud solutions can help businesses create a comprehensive data protection and disaster recovery plan:

  • Backup-as-a-Service: In the same way that all other "as-a-Service" components operate, backups can be handled in many ways, from a fully managed solution to a more DIY option. Some backups require more manual intervention, while managed backup plans can be fully automated, depending on the available offerings and systems in use.

  • Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service: A full-package offering, Managed DRaaS is orchestrated to provide an organization with fully functioning data and servers in a virtualized environment in the event of a primary operations failure.

  • Cloud Storage: Many businesses choose Object Storage as an add-on to their managed backup and DR services to simplify the process while streamlining their role in managing their data. This virtualized data storage can be used in a data protection strategy in much the same way as physical storage and can be managed by a provider, freeing IT services to focus on more important issues within the organization.

Storage and Restore: What Does Your Business Need?

In making your disaster recovery and data protection plans, among the many factors to consider are how you will store, back up, and recover your data. Outside compliance policies such as HIPPA, General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the financial sector, or other regulations can affect how your organization stores data. Your business also has to consider the cost, the amount of downtime you can afford, whether the design can be simple or more complex, and how much data needs to be recovered.

  • Policies: Many institutions set policies to protect data. HIPPA sets security laws that control the way protected health information can be stored and shared, which can affect where backups are stored and recovered. The European Union's GDPR affects where and when data can be accessed, which makes data recovery and failover sites an important part of planning. The Payment Card Industry (PCI) also has strict standards for the security controls behind storing customer data. It is important to take all security policies into consideration when developing a data protection strategy.

  • Downtime: Any company that sells products online will experience a disruption in revenue if a data system goes down — no data means no sales. Revenue that is highly dependent on customer data should always have a sound disaster recovery plan in place.

  • Cost: Always a factor when choosing storage and backup solutions, cost will depend on the amount of data and the complexity of the system that backups require. Cloud storage is often a choice in a data protection strategy because it is virtualized, and depending on the implementation can make data storage less expensive.

  • Complexity: The complexity needed in a data protection system depends largely on the system's requirements. Cloud storage can sometimes help with complexity by providing easier access to backups and the systems, which can make figuring out the details of a data protection strategy less intense.

  • Recovery Volume: The volume of data an organization needs to store also has an impact on disaster recovery and data protection. Using cloud storage can help because virtualized storage is easier to increase and/or decrease depending on need. Companies should consider cloud storage if the amount of storage they need is flexible.

Take a Cloud-Based Approach to Data Protection

CenturyLink has several storage solutions to help you take a simple, cloud-based approach to your data protection plan.

  • Object Storage: For large-scale cloud applications, Object Storage is far more efficient than hierarchical file systems. CenturyLink cloud servers store and manage files in a highly scalable, fault-tolerant, distributed datastore. To address security policies, all data is saved in one data center and replicated to another in the same region. This industry-standard method of redundancy and replication yields a robust and consistent object storage solution.

  • Block Storage: Block Storage solutions provide fixed-sized, raw storage capacity. Each block storage node can be treated as an independent drive and controlled by an external or attached server. The most common examples of block storage are SAN, iSCSI, and local disks. However, IaaS provides highly-available, fault-tolerant, and redundant options that are becoming much more popular given their relatively low cost and ability to avoid the capital expenditure associated with acquiring, building, and maintaining the infrastructure internally. CenturyLink’s approach to cloud storage offers more flexibility in a number of dimensions. Decide what type of storage each scenario requires, and then specify the type of automated DR/BC that’s needed. You aren't tied into a predefined scheme of “small,” “medium,” or “large” instances.

  • Simple Backup: Keeping data safely backed up and accessible in the event of file corruption is crucial to any organization. Different industries have different policies that govern how certain types of information should be backed up, retained and physically hosted. For servers in the public cloud, Simple Backup offers the ultimate in reliability and convenience. Just point-and-click to create backup policies that meet your requirements, then apply them to servers in the CenturyLink Cloud. From there, Simple Backup does the rest — data is automatically backed up in secure object storage and retained according to the policy. Restores are also simple — just click on a “point-in-time” backup event, and data will be restored automatically within minutes.

  • Disaster Recovery: Our customizable Disaster Recovery system, CenturyLink SafeHaven, enables protection of critical applications from unexpected unavailability. Additionally, SafeHaven offers advanced features like multi-cloud options for workload recovery, live failback, live test failover, custom check point intervals, protection groups, and runbook automation.

Stretching IT budgets, optimizing their network, increasing security, or being able to respond faster to business demands requires a combination of networking and solutions experience that makes CenturyLink a strong partner for enabling customers’ digital transformation needs. The CenturyLink Cloud is reliable, secure, robust, and global.