Patrick Kerpan, CEO and co-founder, Cohesive Networks, says: Disaster Readiness

Despite any fears, many organizations are using cloud today. Cisco reports that by 2018, 76% of all data center traffic will come from the cloud. A 2014 IDC report estimates 69% of enterprises worldwide have at least one application or a portion of their computing infrastructure in the cloud. As vital enterprise data moves outside of the protected data center and the IT silo, leadership should focus on new ways to secure critical data in any location.
The National Association of Corporate Directors (NCD) reports a majority of directors are unhappy with both the quality and quantity of information management teams report on corporate cybersecurity and IT risk. Another report of IT professionals found that nearly 34% of organizations lack formal crisis response plans in the event of a data breach or cyber attack.
Now that security breaches are in the headlines and boards are becoming more involved in preventative security, your disaster readiness and recovery plans should not keep you up at night. Use cloud-based solutions and features to become the disaster readiness hero in your organization. Shape your teams’ plans from ex post facto disaster recovery to a preventative approach to disaster readiness.
8 benefits of running your disaster readiness in the cloud:
Choose an environment that fits your needs
Public clouds can help you meet scaling, geographic, technology, and vendor diversification needs. Connect existing data centers or distributed systems with a hybrid approach. Choose the virtualized environment that’s right for you. 
Control your secure environment
Using a VPN and overlay networks, you can create a controllable and secure virtual network over the on top of your cloud provider’s physical network. As you install and launch virtual application server topologies you can layer on the additional firewalls and rules. Since you are going to be scaling in the event of a disaster, the only way to achieve control is to automate the process. Realistically, waiting for the sysadmin, security, and network staff to resume work after a disaster is not feasible.
Easily test scaling and failure modes
Using a public cloud with secure VPN technologies does not compromise security. Even before moving any IP or data to the cloud topology, you can live test the topology. Cloud resources substantially reduce your application’s recovery time objective (RTO). If a disaster occurs while your project is at this stage, you can cut red tape to focus on recovery as the top priority.
Migrate your application repository in a few clicks
Once your cloud environment passes the approval tests you can begin deploying copies of your digital assets to the cloud. If you encounter concerns over data skew tolerances, you can choose an attainable recovery point objective (RPO). With a working RPO you will be better prepared to deal with reality compared to a perfect solution – because no one can afford the perfect solution!
Choose batch or real-time data replication
Data replication to the cloud – batch or real-time? Consider costs vs. your Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO). At this stage, moving large data to the cloud can be accomplished by “lifting and shifting” to the cloud service provider.
Quickly define & deploy your application topology
Physical and cloud data centers are different, so you will need to define your aspirational topology for the cloud. can now deploy a scaled down version of your production systems to “inflate” when the time comes. With the ground work completed you are now ready to install, configure, and boot-up each of the software components of your application architecture.
Process live data in an on-demand disaster readiness facility
In cloud-based Disaster Readiness, you can design your facility to be small in scale to minimize operating costs when in standby mode. Plus, you can copies and spin up your Disaster Readiness facility for dev/test use – a side benefit.
Conduct periodic disaster drills without impacting production
At this step the Disaster Recovery facility is fully operational. Now you can focus on future preparedness. Monitor for any early warnings of a pending disaster, and conduct drills to practice disaster response.
What Can You Do to Prepare your Network Security?
To go along with your preparedness model of disaster readiness, adopt a modern data-focused internal security policy. Add encryption and monitoring within your network to strengthen existing security.
With cloud-based disaster readiness models, the old exterior perimeter approach to security is outdated. When Sony spent 80% of their security budget on exterior defenses, it cost them upwards of $100M.
Defense shouldn’t end at the data center perimeter, but extend through the network to include each individual application. Monitored access, encryption, and application-specific firewall rules can all but eliminate malicious “east/west” movement inside a network.
Network security should also focus on preventing data breaches and vulnerabilities, not reacting to data loss. Add layers of defense in depth for each enterprise application inside your network. Each application owner can dictate how traffic flows to each application and better monitor and isolate traffic to prevent unauthorized access. Even with only basic interior firewall rules, this enterprise can protect themselves from a Sony-style data disaster.