What’s an AWS Disaster Recovery Plan?
A DRP is a plan of action that is structured and detailed to help networks and systems recover from an attack or failure. It is designed to get an organization back to operational status as quickly as possible. AWS disaster recovery solutions on-premises typically have high implementation and maintenance fees.
Most organizations use cloud-based disaster recovery tools and solutions to recover from natural disasters. Sometimes, these solutions can also be offered by third-party suppliers. MSP360, N2WS, and others offer disaster recovery solutions that are specifically designed for AWS.
AWS users stand to benefit in the following ways:
- Replication intervals minimize data loss
- Rapid restoration of critical applications reduces downtime
- AWS disaster recovery across multiple regions reduces distributed risk
- Rapid file and data retrieval and bounce-back rates for quick restoring and repair operations
Possible Cloud Disasters
- Natural Disasters: Natural catastrophes include floods, earthquakes, and bad weather. Cloud services can be disrupted by natural disasters. The server hosting the cloud service will need to recover from such an event immediately.
- Technical catastrophes: Power outages and network connectivity problems are just two of the many technical disasters that could occur when cloud technology is used.
- Human catastrophes: Human errors are some of the most common. These are often caused by cloud services. Human disasters include misconfigurations, malicious third-party access, and war.
Why is an AWS Disaster Recovery Plan necessary?
It is crucial to establish protocols and contingencies in case of disaster recovery for smooth operation. These plans will ensure that services are not disrupted in the event of a natural disaster. This reduces the overall damage.
Service interruptions are reduced, which means less revenue loss. This reduces user dissatisfaction.
An organization can determine its best level of protection for disaster recovery by quantifying areas like RTO or RPO. These parameters allow organizations to choose the best protocols for backing up and multiple servers.
10 Tips for Developing an AWS Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP).
AWS doesn’t come with a DRP so it takes creativity and resourcefulness to create an AWS DRP. AWS can be used to create a custom DRP by repurposing AWS’s features and tools.
You can create a DRP by using the tips and tools below and leveraging AWS.
1. Identifying Key Resources and Assets
Business impact analysis (BIA), which can be used to identify critical resources and assets that could have a greater impact on the event of a disaster, can be helpful. This analysis can be used to help you see the possible impact of a natural disaster on your operations.
2. Recovery Time Objectives (RTO) & Recovery Point Objectives (RPO).
DRPs allows an organization to identify its RTO or RPO.
The RTO is the maximum delay between service interruption and continuation. It is important to know how much downtime an organization can afford in order to avoid irreparable financial damage. Calculating the RTO is crucial for a successful recovery plan.
RPO allows one to gauge the extent of data loss that an organization can afford without causing significant damage. It’s the time that it takes to recover data. If you lose six hours of data, it will be considered a heavy loss. An RPO of less than six hours is required.
It is important to simultaneously map the RPOs as well as RTOs, keeping in mind money, time, and the reputation of the company. This will help you to deal with any unexpected problems that might arise.
3. Choosing a Disaster Recovery Planning Method
There are four main methods of recovery that can be used depending on the needs and preferences of an organization:
Backup and Recovery
Although backing up data regularly and restoring it can be managed, the recovery process is slower. Because the data is not always available for restoration, it can take a lot more time and resources. AWS offers data backup.
Data backup is only half of the story. Data recovery must be performed quickly and accurately, and it needs to be tested. The system should be configured with the appropriate data retention, security, and testing of recovery processes.
These are the steps to backup and restore.
- Select the right tool or method to back up data in AWS
- Make sure that you have a proper retention policy in place for your data
- Secure access policies, encryption, and security measures.
- Regularly test the data recovery and restoration of your system
It is similar to backup-and-restore, but the most important core elements of your system are already configured in AWS (the pilot light) for fast retrieval. A full-scale production environment can be quickly set up around the critical core during recovery.
The recovery time for Pilot Light is much faster than that of backup and restore. Apart from the core components of the system that are already up-to-date, there are still configuration and installation tasks to complete the recovery of applications.
AWS automates the provisioning and configuration of infrastructure resources. This reduces the time required and avoids human error.
Warm standby is the practice of making duplicates of system core components and keeping them on standby at all times. The duplicate version can be promoted from secondary to primary in the event of a disaster to allow for continued operations. This method reduces recovery time.
This method ensures that the business-critical systems are replicated on AWS, and they remain on all times. Warm standby cannot take all the production load. It is however fully functional. These servers can be run on the smallest possible AWS instances and a minimal number of AWS instances. This can be used to do non-production work like quality assurance, testing, and internal use.
System scale-up can be done quickly in the event of a disaster to manage the production load. This is achieved in AWS by adding more instances to the load balancer and resizing low-capacity servers so they can run on larger EC2 instances. Horizontal scaling is preferred to vertical scaling whenever possible.
Multi-site solution on AWS and Onsite
Multi-site solutions can be used in AWS and on existing infrastructure in active-active mode. The recovery point selected determines the data replication method. There are many types of replication options available.
Amazon Route 53 is a weighted DNS service that routes production traffic to different locations. A portion of this traffic is sent to AWS infrastructure, while the rest goes to the infrastructure on-site.
The DNS weighting can easily be adjusted to allow traffic to be sent to AWS servers in the event of an emergency. To handle the entire production load, AWS can quickly increase its service capacity. The process can be automated with EC2 autoscaling. Some application logic is required to detect the failures of primary database services and switch to AWS database services.
4. Corrective and Security Measures
You can use network and server monitoring software to implement security measures. You can also use corrective tools to help with remediation. These can be used to help in the restoration of a system after a disaster.
5. Test Plan Before Implementation
Testing should be conducted during the development of AWS DRP to identify flaws prior to the DRP’s implementation. This will ensure a well-oiled plan, regardless of whether a disaster strikes or any type of threat.
To keep up with system updates, the AWS DRP needs to be updated regularly. It is possible to make improvements to the plan in the wake of a disaster to avoid future failures or attacks.
In the event of an emergency, it is not enough to plan for regular backups. In these situations, it is critical to have quick access to data. AWS DRP should be detailed and current. This would enable data backup recovery and restoration from cloud environments with minimal downtime.
8. Cross-region Backups
It is important to determine where critical data will be stored when creating an AWS DRP. It is best to have data distributed across multiple availability zones (AZ) in order to minimize the impact on the whole system.
S3 permits data to be replicated automatically in multiple locations within a given region, ensuring durability. However, this does not eliminate the possibility of data being lost in any given region. Cross-region replication for S3 is available to prevent this. This automates data copying to a bucket in another region.
DynamoDB also supports global tables for multi-region deployments. This allows for the spread of changes over multiple tables. The risk of data loss is reduced by having distributed data from different regions.
9. Multi-factor Authentication
It is obvious that root passwords should be protected and kept secret from unauthorized users. It is a good idea not to use programmatic keys again. This will prevent internal threats. Multi-factor authentication can protect the administrator privileges and prevent them from being misused.
10. Third-party Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS)
Although it might seem that implementing the entire DRP process in-house makes sense, this is not true for smaller businesses. This is because smaller companies do not have dedicated IT teams. Third-party solutions can be much more practical in such situations.
Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) is primarily to help organizations develop, implement, and maintain their DRPs. This allows organizations to concentrate on their business growth.
The availability of an organization’s work can be affected by disasters. AWS Cloud Services can reduce or eliminate these risks. First, you need to determine the business requirements of the workload. This will help you choose the right disaster recovery strategy. The AWS services can then be used to create a disaster recovery architecture that achieves the RTO or RPO according to the business needs.