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GCN : April 2013
ith the federal govern- ment's "Cloud First" initiative as a motivator, government agencies are taking the value of the cloud seriously. One area where the cloud makes a great deal of sense is for busi- ness continuity. If your applica- tions, infrastructure or valuable data is accessible from anywhere, a disturbance in standard opera- tions creates a much less nega- tive impact. "The merits of the cloud by default make it one of the prime candidates for continuity of op- erations," says Chris Smith, U.S. Federal Chief Technology and In- novation Of cer at Accenture. "The fact that you have a ubiquitous computing capability that, if archi- tected correctly, could withstand just about any type of event and have resilient failover between sites is what makes it so valuable." Take the example of 2012's historic east coast storms, includ- ing Hurricane Sandy. Agencies that had their information residing in a cloud- or shared services-based environment had access to that information as long as they had access to a network. Agencies that didn't ran the risk of having their operations come to a grinding halt. Most agencies can't put every- thing in the cloud, however. When evaluating cloud candidates with business continuity in mind, it's most important to consider moving whatever is critical to the mission of the organization. That might include applications, records, plan- ning documents and vital records. For example, the nancial arm of an agency charged with mak- ing grants in case of emergencies would need access to the rules, regulations and program informa- tion to execute those grants. Other functions to consider for the cloud include uni ed communi- cations, email and storage. Uni ed communications are especially important because they can keep people in touch when traditional channels are disrupted. Making it work According to Market Research Media's report, "U.S. Federal IT Business Continuity and Disaster Recovery Market Forecast 2013- 2018," the federal government will greatly increase adoption of cloud technologies with integrated busi- ness continuity functions. Many agencies are well on their way, including the Defense Department and the National Oceanic and At- mospheric Administration (NOAA). Deciding what to move to the cloud for business continuity rea- sons is an important step. But what really brings it together is having a comprehensive plan and using the right tools to de ne policies. That means being able to set up policies for what will happen in case of emergency---how applications will scale, how access will be extend- ed, and who gets priority access. "The cloud isn't a silver bullet. There needs to be diligence and forethought: how are you going to operate, where are you going to operate from?" says Smith. Sponsored Report BUSINESS CONTINUITY Cloud: Tailor-made for continuity planning FULL REPORT ONLINE Go to GCN.com/2013BusinessContinuity 2. Business continuity: It begins with a plan 3. When it comes to networking, plan for the worst 4. Telework ready for starring role in continuity plans 5. 21st century comms bring opportunities, pitfalls Other Business Continuity Report Articles