Data backup is not enough. If you are in a business that has very little downtime tolerance and high Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO), you need to check whether your data remains highly available to you at all times. You need to ensure that your service provider is replicating your data to alternate servers in alternate locations even as the data streams from your business location to the Cloud server. You need to ensure that the service provider has created server clusters that facilitate automatic switch over of servers in the event of a failure of the primary server. Your reputation and your business may depend on it.

How do you ensure this? First, read the Service Level Agreement (including all the fine print). Does the SLA promise you high availability and 99.9% uptime? If yes, your service provider must have provisioned for replication of your data to multiple servers. These servers may be located within the same data center or scattered across geographies / even third party service providers for ensuring high availability and disaster recovery. The replication servers are normally configured as clusters for failover operations so that the service levels promised in the Service Level Agreement can be met.

Replication is the process of copying the data to an off-site secure location to safeguard the information against man-made or natural disasters. Replication creates data redundancy. Clean data can always be recovered from the replication server if the primary server is corrupted for any reason.

Replication can be application specific, but this replication is sans third party tools. All features of the original application are replicated from the primary vault to the secondary vault.

Replication can happen at the file level or block level in synchronization with the level at which de-duplication, encryption or compression happens.  This feature facilitates granular restoration of data during recovery or seamless switch over of servers during failure.

Replication can be site based or capacity based. Site based license is considered advantageous as users can replicate any volume of data at the same price. Capacity based replication takes into consideration data volumes that are replicated while determining the cost of replication.

Replication opens up new markets and revenue streams. Managed Service Providers (MSP) can outsource replication to other Cloud service providers for increased scalability and efficiency.

Replication can be multi-level and multi-layered. More than one replication site can be set up. Many organizations maintain a “hot site” and a “disaster recovery site” for replication and high availability of data.