Atlantic.Net Blog

The Importance of Disaster Recovery During Rising Global Tensions and War

Richard Bailey
by Atlantic.Net (75 posts) under Disaster Recovery
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Disaster recovery and business continuity are key business strategies designed to protect critical data and ensure vital IT operations are kept running in a disaster scenario. The recent conflict in Ukraine has brought war to Europe’s borders for the first time since 1945.

The conflict has reminded everyone that disaster can strike when you least expect it. Nobody thought Russia would start a war, but the last five months have been a stark reminder that unexpected events can happen at any time.

Rising global tensions and the outbreak of war have forced businesses and governments around the globe to refocus and rethink their disaster recovery strategy, with many questioning what would happen if their organization were in this situation.

What Is Happening in Ukraine?

On Thursday 24th February 2022, the Russian Federation led by Vladimir Putin defied international law and invaded Ukraine. Overnight the geopolitical landscape changed forever, and despite global outrage and crippling sanctions, the war is still raging today. An estimated 12 million people have been displaced, seeking refuge in neighboring EU states, with around 100,000 making it to the United States.

The latest estimates suggest that at least 11,000 Ukrainian soldiers and 8000 civilians have been killed. The country’s infrastructure has been bombarded by Russian artillery and sustained over $100 billion of damage. Key IT and Telecom services have been targeted in Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Odesa.

What Has Happened to Ukrainian Data?

There are 34 colocation data centers located in Ukraine. Most are hosted in and around Kyiv and are primarily used by public/private sector businesses and the Ukrainian government. Like most developed countries, Ukraine’s infrastructure is embedded in data. When Russia attacked, they launched large-scale cyberattacks against Ukrainian utilities, and some of the very first cruise missile attacks targeted government data centers.

Ukraine’s government acted quickly to sustain civil and military operations by migrating digital infrastructure into the cloud, where it has been hosted in data centers across Europe including Poland, Estonia, and France.

What was Ukraine’s Disaster Recovery Strategy?

The threat to Ukrainian data was identified before the war started. They knew that having disaster recovery capabilities would strengthen their hand. Ukraine amended key data privacy laws to allow data to be moved away from sovereign data centers and into friendly neighboring countries.

This was highlighted by Victor Zhora, a Ukrainian government data protection officer, who told the Wall Street Journal, “In case of emergency, we need to make sure our IT systems continue operating.”

Ukraine has worked directly with global-scale cloud providers to move critical data into the cloud. As the conflict continues in its fourth month, AWS has reportedly transferred 10 petabytes of data from 27 Ukrainian ministries, 18 Ukrainian universities, and dozens of other private sector companies.

Microsoft Azure had been working directly with Ukrainian ministries, spending $100 million in tech support to help the Ukrainian government move data from on-premise and into the cloud.

The Importance of Establishing Multiple Sites because of Global Tensions and Wars

The situation in Ukraine has demonstrated the immense unpredictability of global tensions, as 12 months ago no one thought Ukraine would be in this situation. Ukraine fights for its survival on the battlefield and in the digital world, illustrating the importance of having disaster recovery capabilities and a plan B for critical data infrastructure.

It is essential to have a multi-site strategy so that your data will survive the next war or any other natural catastrophe. While the United States is a long way from being directly involved in the war in Ukraine, other disasters are much more likely, such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, and tornadoes, not to mention the risk of another major terrorist attack.

Is Your Data The Lifeline of Your Business?

Data is a valuable commodity in today’s digital world, and protecting data from being destroyed is not only essential but also required by legislation in many cases. Businesses combat this threat by leveraging disaster recovery technology and business continuity processes and procedures. Every business is different, but the requirement is the same: to preserve data – the lifeline of your business.

Data backup is key to preserving data. A robust backup strategy ensures that all critical systems are backed up frequently with data being replicated offsite, perhaps overseas if legislation permits it.

Technical disaster recovery solutions are available that will automatically recover critical services in an alternative location. This could be between two data centers or two countries. Local storage and compute infrastructure are synchronized between two or more locations, businesses have a primary data center where everyday business operations take place, and cloud technology replicates all data and all changes across to a secondary site.

When disaster strikes, the failover of infrastructure to the secondary site takes place, and within a few minutes, normal service is restored. Needless to say, it’s more complicated in reality than it sounds, but the principle is the same. Testing disaster recovery is essential (preferably bi-annually) to ensure the entire process is as smooth as possible.

Will Your Business Survive?

DR aims to keep your business functioning, and the glue that helps keep all this together is the disaster recovery plan (DRP). A DRP is a pre-designed and rehearsed plan of precisely what needs to happen in the event a disaster is declared.

The Disaster Recovery Plan aims to define:

  • What is a Disaster Recovery scenario?
  • When to Declare a Disaster
  • How to invoke Disaster Recovery
  • Who to contact and how communication flows during a DR Scenario
  • Description of key roles and responsibilities of anyone assigned to the recovery team
  • Instructions on how to keep the business running in the event of a disaster
  • Recovery Time Objectives – how long can the business operate?
  • Recovery Point Objectives – from what point can data be recovered?
  • Define a recovery process and flowchart of activities
  • Post DR activities (such as route cause analysis)
  • Continuously test and evolve the DR plan

If you want to know more about what a DRP is and how each one of these steps should be defined, you can find all the information you need on our Disaster Recovery Whitepaper for Healthcare.

What Steps Can Be Taken?

Atlantic.Net has been providing disaster recovery services to our clients for decades. We have a fantastic selection of healthcare clients bound by legislation demanding disaster recovery capabilities. The data must be available at all times, and we achieve this by leveraging state-of-the-art hardware and following industry-accredited policies, processes, and procedures.

We have a wide range of data center locations to choose from, and our experts are available to discuss the best options of where to store your data. Data backup and Snapshot managed services are available to ensure the highest levels of data protection.

As commerce moves more and more online, business data is becoming a gold standard. Take advantage of a full suite of managed services today to protect your business from the unexpected.

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