Rob Hopps is OWNZONES' Chief Security Officer taking on the responsibility of overseeing all information security, infrastructure and technology operations. Rob is a technology veteran with over 20 years leading technology operations and strategic initiatives, most recently serving as Corporate Information Security Officer at the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco.
OTT has revolutionized the art of storytelling. As media consumers, we are inundated with a diverse array of powerful stories. OTT has made it possible to get those stories into as many hands as possible. As a result, OTT platforms are now being recognized as gold mines, and companies are rushing to start digging. But amidst all the enthusiastic buzz for the present and forthcoming successes in the OTT space, there’s one question lingering at the back of everyone’s mind:
What happens to my library of content in the event of a disaster?
We can’t prevent disasters from happening. But we can put plans in place to better protect ourselves when they do happen. The field of Disaster Recovery centers around just that.
Having a Disaster Recovery Plan (DRP) in place has become a necessity. 93% of companies without a DRP who suffer a major disaster to their data are out of business within one year.
Disaster Recovery is also a compliance requirement for many companies, including public companies. For instance, the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) demands that public companies have data integrity for their financial reporting by documenting the policies and procedures put in place to safeguard their data.
There is no question that implementing a DRP is something all companies must do. If you haven’t thought about Disaster Recovery, or if your plan is due for an update, there’s a solution for you in cloud-native technology.
Get your content into the cloud, and it will be much easier and cheaper to future-proof your business.
WHAT IS DISASTER RECOVERY?
Disaster Recovery (DR) is a subdiscipline of Business Continuity Management (BCM), which hinges on the idea that businesses have to be able to execute their business processes, especially critical business processes.
A DRP encompasses the procedures, preparations, and IT systems set in place that help maintain critical business functions in the event of a disaster, natural or human-induced.
A disaster can mean several things: maybe it’s a hardware or software failure, a network or power outage, physical damage to a building like fire or flooding, or human error. While fires and floods may be less common, most disasters that are smaller in scope happen more often than you might think: Human error is the leading cause of security and data breaches, responsible for 52% of incidents.
Increasingly, cyber attacks including ransomware, data theft, malicious deletion, and countless others are having disastrous effects on companies. The average cyber attack costs a small business more than $20,000, forcing 60% of small businesses to shut down permanently within a year of an attack.
Whatever the case, you want to make sure you’re ready for when a crisis happens.
There are two key metrics involved in a DR plan: RTO and RPO. RTO (Recovery Time Objective) is the amount of time that is acceptable for a company to recover applications in the event of a disaster. RPO (Recovery Point Objective) is the minimum amount of data that is acceptable for a company to lose in the event of a disaster. RTO and RPO are determined based on the financial impact to the business when systems are down. The goal is to figure out how to make those numbers shrink.
The difficulty of developing a DRP is this: How do you get your production up and running quickly, with little to no content loss, all with a low price tag?
Say goodbye to the challenges of traditional Disaster Recovery Plans and step into the world of IMF in the cloud.
TRADITIONAL DISASTER RECOVERY IN CONTENTION
For years, the most tried-and-true DR strategy was off-site tape storage. Today, there are real limitations to the efficacy of tape storage.
Tapes can be lost, misplaced, or stolen, and it’s time-consuming to test them. Tape storage is also expensive, due in large part to the required manual processes for loading and unloading tape, which drives up labor costs significantly.
In the event of a disaster, the RTO is usually around 48 hours and the RPO around 24 hours.
For medium to large enterprises, that kind of downtime isn’t going to cut it. Unplanned downtime is estimated to cost up to $17,244 per minute, with a low-end estimate of $926 per minute. Each company should seek a comprehensive understanding of the financial impact unplanned downtime can have on its business. After getting a clearer picture of those numbers, then you can begin to tackle RTO and RPO.
If you want to shorten your RPO (the amount of expected data loss) and RTO (the amount of time it takes to restore service) using a traditional DR solution, you must have your own secondary data center to replicate your data and run secondary storage servers. Using this method, a short RPO and RTO would require active synchronous replication, meaning your data would be constantly copied to and updated within the secondary servers.
But be prepared to pay through the nose for this kind of efficiency, not to mention all the time, energy, and resources that you could be dedicating to your company’s other needs.
Traditional DR planning that uses a secondary data center requires consideration for several requirements involving capacity, security, network robustness and much more.
In the end, hardware failure causes 45% of total unplanned downtime, which makes it the leading cause of data loss and/or downtime. To break it down,
You could end up spending a whole lot of money, time, and energy on a solution that, statistically, is probably going to fail.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
BENEFITS OF CLOUD DISASTER RECOVERY
When it comes to Disaster Recovery in the cloud, you can expect low costs, high durability, and tight security.
Scalability & Fast Restoration Reduces Costs
The numbers speak for themselves: Forrester reported that a cloud-based DR model is 74% less expensive than Infrastructure and Operations (I&O) running it in-house.
No upfront costs or capital expenses.
No capacity planning. No operational costs such as floor space, staff, software updates, or maintenance.
Replication to a cloud infrastructure makes Disaster Recovery much simpler, which dramatically reduces recovery times.
For instance, Amazon’s Simple Storage Service (Amazon S3) is well-suited for housing your infrastructure and data that might be needed quickly to perform a restore. Transferring data to and from Amazon S3 is typically done through the network, and is therefore accessible from any location and can be initiated anywhere, at any time.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) also provides a tiered data archiving service at a low cost with their product S3 Glacier. It is designed to be the lowest cost AWS object storage class with three retrieval options to fit your use case. With S3 Glacier, you can better manage your storage expenses.
In the event of a disaster, AWS allows you to quickly change and optimize resources, giving you control over your assets when you need it most.
Applications and data can come back online in minutes with a cloud-based DR solution. That kind of speed is unmatched by any other solution out there.
DR in a cloud infrastructure can lower your company’s RTO and RPO, meaning more cash in your wallet. In terms of cutting costs, cloud-based Disaster Recovery has no rival.
Durability & Constant Testing
Not only does cloud-based DR cost less, but it also maintains the integrity of your content better than a traditional solution does.
The data being protected in the cloud infrastructure is constantly indexed and tested for recoverability. DR simulations can be created faster and cheaper in the cloud than in an on-premises or co-location facility, which means testing happens frequently.
You can rest assured that your applications will function once you initiate recovery. As an example, Amazon S3 provides a highly durable storage infrastructure designed for mission-critical and primary data storage.
Durability is measured by the amount of tiny errors that occur in files. When you write, read, and rewrite gigabytes, terabytes, and petabytes of information to the same drive, sometimes individual bytes can get corrupted or lost.
Methods like object storage and deduplication that many cloud infrastructures support prevent data loss or content corruption–and top cloud service providers make it a point to emphasis this durability.
With AWS, content is redundantly stored on multiple devices across multiple facilities within a region, designed to provide a durability of 99.999999999% (eleven 9s).
When it comes to ensuring the quality of your content, those eleven 9s matter.
Confidence in Security
Another main reason why cloud infrastructure is so durable is because of its tight security.
Not only is your data encrypted in the cloud, but top cloud service providers abide by several comprehensive security compliance measures. AWS, for instance, has built their services on an environment with extensive and validated security and controls.
You have the option to take advantage of several AWS safety features. They provide Object Storage Features like S3 Versioning, Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA), S3 Cross-Region Replication (CRR), and Identity and Access Management (IAM), which all serve to enforce permissions and help prevent accidental deletions or mistakes with your data.
Amazon also runs global regions, and within each region they have multiple Availability Zones that protect your applications from failure of a single location. As a result, a cloud-based DRP has layered resiliency to ensure the security of your content. Your company would have to spend billions of dollars in order to get the kind of resiliency that the top cloud service providers like AWS offer.
At the end of the day, you get access to the same highly secure, reliable, and fast infrastructure that Amazon uses to run its own global network of websites.
By leaning on AWS for your cloud-based Disaster Recovery needs, you take advantage of a global computing infrastructure that supports Amazon.com’s very own multi-billion dollar online business that has been refined for over a decade.
IMF IN THE CLOUD SAVES YOU TIME AND MONEY
If by now you thought the cloud couldn’t get any better, you might want to think again.
At OWNZONES, we’ve found a way to make the process of storing and handling your content in the cloud that much more cost- and time-efficient, elastic, and simple for your Disaster Recovery needs:
The interoperable master format, or IMF.
For an in-depth evaluation of IMF, read our article about why we, and many others, believe IMF is the future of post-production.
There are a few key features of IMF that render it ideal for Disaster Recovery.
What is IMF?
IMF is a type of file format that’s made up of multiple individual components that combine to form one master media package. These components include video files, audio files, subtitles and captioning data, dynamic metadata, and packaging data. When combined, these components form a composition playlist, or CPL.
With a CPL you can now create unique versions of the same title by isolating specific scenes in your content and adjusting any necessary elements, all while maintaining the integrity of the original master file.
This means, with IMF, you can create dozens of versions of the same title that can be delivered to dozens of different endpoints, all out of one master package.
What does this mean for Disaster Recovery?
You could go the traditional route and store 30 individual media files created for 30 destinations, each weighing in at 1 TB of space, totaling 30 TB.
You could store one master IMF package, that’s capable of making those same 30 versions, for a total of 1.5 TB.
Because Disaster Recovery in the cloud is based on a pay-as-you-go model, that means you’d only pay for 1.5 TB as opposed to 30 TB.
In terms of storing your data in preparation for a disaster, there is no question that IMF is the most cost-effective solution out there.
But what about when disaster does strike? How does the use of IMF in the cloud stack up?
Downtime is the main factor that drains your money during a disaster. You need to perform a fast restoration and ensure minimal data loss, and you don’t want to be sifting through your entire library of content searching for your assets. With IMF, you don’t waste time searching for your content, because every possible version of a title is in one place. In addition, because your library of content has been condensed, restoration happens even faster.
You can produce a new version of your titles using IMF at a moment’s notice. Because the cloud can automatically backup and update your IMF packages, using IMF in the cloud future-proofs all current and future versions of your content at once. In other words, your content is safe and quickly recoverable today and down the line, for years to come.
DR AS AN INSURANCE POLICY
The bottom line is this: Disaster Recovery is like an insurance policy. You want the most coverage for the least amount of money.
If you want to reduce the costs of your DR plan, have the highest durability, and rely on the tightest security in the game, the cloud is your friend.
If you want to get ahead of the competition with a solution that will save you the most time and money possible, IMF in the cloud is your best friend.
At OWNZONES, we’ve seen our clients make the transition from legacy data centers to the cloud. What we find is that they’re happy with the cost-saving, time-saving, and flexibility afforded to them by using IMF in the cloud.
So you’ve decided to switch to the cloud for your Disaster Recovery needs. But how do you actually get to the cloud? Amazon has a whole host of native services that make it easy to ingest your content into AWS. Learn more about how to get your content from on-prem to the cloud here, or reach out today and we’ll help you decide which one is best for you.