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A Guide to Cloud Disaster Recovery For Video Production

by | May 29, 2023

A disaster recovery (DR) plan is essential for filmmaking or post-production operations. Not having such a plan courts the possibility of catastrophic data loss, reputational damage, damaged client relationships, and increased expenses.

Cloud disaster recovery is an especially effective DR technique. Cloud DR allows for less reliance on physical infrastructure you need to purchase, maintain, and upgrade; better reliability; and the ability to scale up or down quickly and nimbly, as required.

Read on for a comprehensive guide to cloud disaster recovery for video production.

Table of Contents

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What is Cloud Disaster Recovery?

DR is a form of business continuity that refers to an organization or individual’s ability to recover critical data and restore access to IT systems after a natural or human-caused disaster, such as a hurricane, cyberattack, hardware failure, or power outage.

A DR plan ensures important IT systems are up and running as soon as possible following such an event.

Cloud Disaster Recovery

Source: HP

Disaster recovery in the cloud (as opposed to on-premises DR) uses cloud platforms to ensure redundancy among critical data, applications, resources, and systems. This lessens or eliminates the need to spend CapEx on an expensive second or third data center for disaster recovery, along with providing other benefits inherent with cloud.

Most cloud-based disaster recovery for video production focuses on preventative measures, continuous monitoring, and corrective measures. Preventative measures include security tools and automated backups, while continuous monitoring ensures you catch problems as soon as possible.

Corrective measures within DR plans are designed to help systems recover quickly should a disaster occur, using key metrics such as recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO). We’ll discuss DR plans in greater detail later in this piece.

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Why is Cloud Disaster Recovery Important In Video Production?

There are many reasons why cloud disaster recovery in video production is important, but the main factor is that disaster can strike at any time, and from any direction. Media can be corrupted, hard disk drives can outright fail, and ransomware attacks can take entire systems offline. Even large YouTube channels like Corridor Crew or Linus Tech Tips have been hacked these days, leaving creators scrambling to recover years’ worth of high-value video content.

For film crews on the ground in war zones or other inhospitable locales with unstable network conditions, a potential disaster may be the rule rather than the exception.

Video Production

Source: Insurance Journal

And that’s not even counting the myriad other disasters that could affect any business in any vertical, including:

  • Fires affecting your data center
  • Severe storms, wind damage, and flooding
  • Pandemics or epidemics
  • Power or water failures
  • Physical security breaches, such as break-ins
  • HVAC malfunctions
  • Ransomware/malware attacks, phishing, and other cyberattacks
  • Hardware failure
  • Network infrastructure failure or major ISP outage

Although rare, even cloud providers can fail. No DR plan is 100% foolproof. But having a comprehensive plan combined with best-of-breed cloud tools means major data loss and its associated effects are far less likely.

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The Importance of a Cloud Disaster Recovery Plan

Speaking of a DR plan, having a cloud DR platform isn’t the same thing as a cloud disaster recovery plan. Whether your DR technology is in the cloud or on-premises, do your DR planning ahead of time to determine preferred vendors, roles and responsibilities, and to articulate and document processes for when things go wrong.

A DR plans consists of three stages: Analysis, implementation, and testing.

1. Analysis

The initial analysis phase should include an end-to-end risk assessment and impact analysis, which will help you identify specific vulnerabilities and potential disasters to which you may be more prone. You can then examine your current infrastructure to see how it might measure up against such a disaster, measured by your RPO and RTO objectives.

2. Implementation

This phase lays out the various technologies and steps required to address a disaster or potential disaster and respond as quickly as possible. The implementation of a DR plan includes:

  • Preparedness: A step-by-step response plan that includes roles and responsibilities in the event of a disaster.
  • Prevention: Any measures to prevent the occurrence of a disaster, from employee training and regular patching of systems to fire suppression or flood mitigation systems.
  • Response: A set of manual or automated (usually both) measures to be taken as soon as a disaster is discovered.
  • Recovery: A set of manual or automated (usually both) measures to be taken to recover any lost data, to return to normal operations as soon as possible.

3. Testing

A DR plan typically includes a regular testing schedule of your processes to ensure things go smoothly, ensure your DR plan stays relevant as your system and the world change, and detect any gaps in your plan.

Testing doesn’t just ensure your DR system and plan stay sharp: It also helps eliminate deer-in-headlights moments by keeping your employees trained and ready to respond to a disaster. Testing should also ensure that all automated processes and systems work as they should and are ready to be deployed.

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Benefits of Cloud Disaster Recovery in Video Production

One of the most significant benefits of cloud DR in video production are significantly reduced costs – as much as 50% less, in some cases, thanks to the reduction of physical infrastructure. Cloud DR is also simpler to implement than complex on-premises infrastructure.

That’s important, especially considering most video production organizations’ fast-growing data storage requirements thanks to ever-larger video files.

Cloud Disaster Recovery in Video Production

Source: University of British Columbia

Cloud is much faster than most traditional DR approaches, such as LTO tape, which in the event of a disaster must be located, retrieved (usually from an offsite location), and re-digitized – a tedious process that can take days. You can roll back cloud DR systems within minutes, generally from any location with an internet connection.

Cloud platforms also use the latest and most performant technology, helping you eliminate older technologies that could be prone to a data breach (such as an unpatched server). Cloud platforms stay secure and compliant through automated updates and patches you don’t get using your physical infrastructure.

For video production, cloud DR platforms offer additional advantages, including:

  1. Stronger business continuity through recovery with minimal or even no interruption to critical business functions.
  2. Improved security because cloud DR services come equipped with built-in security tools including advanced encryption and identity and access management (IAM).
  3. Faster recovery through data replication and automated recovery processes.
  4. Reduced costs in the event of a disaster thanks to faster recoveries, not having to operate a physical recovery data center, and flexible pricing of most cloud providers (including pay-as-you-go and discounted pricing for longer-term commitments).
  5. Higher availability driven by service-level agreements (SLAs) with agreed performance levels, redundancy, and failover capacity.
  6. Improved compliance through better (usually automated) backup procedures and recovery protocols.

Like traditional DR emphasizes storing backup data in multiple locations, a cloud DR plan should keep data in multiple clouds to ensure redundancy.

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Choosing the Right Cloud Disaster Recovery Solution

Several cloud DR approaches are available to those in video production, including managed primary and DR instances, cloud-based backup and restore, and replication in the cloud. Which approach you choose primarily depends on your level of IT understanding and tolerance for downtime.

Managed primary and DR instances are the least complex approach, while replication in the cloud is the most complex. However, replication in the cloud often provides the best RPO and RTO metrics.

Some common disaster recovery cloud solutions include:

  • Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS): Offered by most cloud providers, often in tandem with infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS).
  • Backup as a service (BaaS): These third-party solutions provide ongoing and regular data backups, often in an offsite cloud repository or hybrid cloud.
  • Point-in-time recovery: Regular snapshots or copies of your data for use in data restoration operations (provided the copy is stored in a safe location, such as the cloud). Point-in-time snapshots typically result in some data loss unless you take the snapshot literally seconds before the disaster occurs.
  • Virtual DR: Uses virtual machines (VMs) to back up data, processes, and operations, including the ability to replicate your entire IT infrastructure offsite.

No matter which approach or technology you choose, one of the most important DR best practices is adhering to the 3-2-1 rule of data storage: Always have three data backups, with two on different mediums, and with one copy offsite.

Such a configuration using cloud tools could consist of a combination of nearline and online storage and an archive in the cloud.

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DR best practices say you must always store data in one or more remote locations. But how the heck do you transfer all that data to your DR servers, especially when constantly creating new files that need to be backed up or archived, without spending months wrestling with your file transfer solution?

MASV can help.

MASV was built with enterprise-grade security features such as in-flight encryption using TLS 1.2 and at rest with AES-256. MASV also includes user access controls such as multi-factor authentication (MFA) and SAML-based single sign-on (SSO), which help to prevent unauthorized access to your accounts and data.

MASV is the world’s fastest, most reliable file transfer for videos and large files, and can be a lifesaver when navigating the choppy seas of a full-blown disaster or preparing your cloud disaster recovery in a video production workflow.

MASV lets you send up to 15 TB per file powered by industry-leading file acceleration, helping you easily transfer petabytes’ worth of video data to the cloud (or on-prem servers) using a simple browser-based UI or our desktop app.

We offer our own secure cloud storage for seven days for free, with additional storage available on a pay-as-you-go basis. And our cloud integrations with some of the world’s most popular cloud storage, asset management, and collaboration platforms are great for setting up automated backup or archive workflows – all while staying secure and compliant.

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