As cloud computing develops, the IT infrastructure environments that need disaster recovery and business continuance services become more complex. Increasing sections of the IT infrastructure will be virtualized, and over time virtual machines will be migrated to other systems and other locations. Parts of the computing load will be using SaaS services, and part will be migrated to external clouds to create hybrid clouds.
This set of interconnected and integrated services will offer new ways of mitigating risk. Replication services that continuously copy the data from one site to another and then require reconciliation and restart can be replaced by dynamic migration of workloads. Data slicing and dispersal technologies can allow applications to continue to access data even if large chunks of the data are unavailable.
Equally, there will be additional risks. Virtualized systems have fewer resources available to process recovery, because the resources are running at much higher utilizations. The traditional DR plans did not take into account that the systems were virtualized and may be running in other locations. External network services may appear to have capacity, but simply not have the resilience to cope with a local disaster affecting many organizations. Compliance and security of the hybrid cloud is extremely difficult to assess and monitor.
Action Item: If you are selling DR and BC services you need to augment these capabilities (either directly or through partnerships) to provide assessment and governance planning services that dovetail to your offerings. Be aware there are many new risk factors that could kill your credibility; these will vary by industry. In an outsourced environment, your customers should demand and will expect transparent monitoring and communication of key metrics and performance indicators of infrastructure health.