Let’s talk Disaster Recovery

Our Chief Revenue Officer Alex Kuczek interviewed Jan-Jaap Jager, Chief Revenue Officer at Acronis, about the importance of Disaster Recovery Plans, how to get prepared & what steps to take especially for small and medium-sized businesses. 

It was streamed live on Facebook and YouTube. You can watch the recording here: 

Here is the transcript of the discussion: 

Alex: It’s great to have you here. And thank you for the opportunity to introduce Disaster Recovery Plans to the Contabo community. Could you tell us a little bit about yourself? What is the company you’re with? And why are you guys the right people to talk to when looking for a Disaster Recovery Plan? 

JJ Jager: Sure, no problem. As you already mentioned, my name is Jan-Jaap Jager, but everybody calls me JJ. I have been with Acronis for a very long time active and also in the back end. In the last couple of years, I’ve been working mostly in the cloud space. When I joined Acronis full time, we started working on our cloud solutions. And that is basically where Acronis is today, with the majority of our business in the cloud space. Many of you probably know us from the past. We started originally in 2003, as a Singaporean company, where we got founded as a consumer-based company, we had our Acronis True Image, which is a household name for many of you. That was our key product for many years. And then over time, due to the request of partners, we went into small medium business and to enterprise type of business. And since the last eight years, we have our Acronis Cyber Cloud solutions, which are completely based on a cloud-based infrastructure, multi-tiered multi-tenant solutions. We are headquartered in Switzerland. That’s our financial headquarters, although still, our roots are in Singapore where we got founded. We are a global company. But we proud ourselves that we are very local, we do transactions in 150 countries, we are available in more than 33 languages around the world, we have 40 locations and offices. When it comes to the cloud space, we are very much focused on providing a local service, which means that we operate more than 30 data centers ourselves. Through our partner’s ecosystem, we have more than 300 data centers, in which we provide local services. And that is very important when we talk about disaster recovery. 

Alex: Thank you very much for that. So, let’s get straight to it. What is a disaster recovery? 

JJ Jager: Disaster recovery is if something doesn’t go like planned, you have an insurance, I always compare it to an insurance, to recover what you do on a daily basis. If you get sick, you want to make sure that you can go to a hospital, you can go to a doctor, and you don’t get overloaded with bills or rejections because you’re not insured. It’s the same in the IT space. In many cases, your protection front-end means that you try to prevent that something happens. But it’s no guarantee. It means that if something happens with your infrastructure or your information or your data, you need to be prepared that you have a Disaster Recovery Plan. A Disaster Recovery Plan is not saying I have a backup and that’s my Disaster Recovery Plan. That’s great. It’s a big step forward. But it also contains of multiple other steps as well that you need to take into account to make sure that the disaster recovery will also happen in the timeframes that you need it to be. 

Alex: So, obviously, we have all heard about the fire in the OVH data center a couple weeks ago, which was the moment for many people to realize, “Oh, I need a Disaster Recovery Plan”. But I guess this is not the only situation in which a Disaster Recovery Plan comes in handy. What are the other situations that you have seen in the years of your experience where a Disaster Recovery Plan was helpful for a company?  

JJ Jager: Yeah, the OVH case is a unique situation. How many times did you hear that a complete data center burns down? I would say this is kind of like not winning the lottery, but the chance that something like that happens is very, very small. It is a very good example of why you need to be protected against. But, the biggest case for disaster recovery today is not because of technical failure. Most of the disaster recoveries that we see in our company is just because of humans, it’s misconfiguration, or mismanagement or the wrong use of technology. Especially now with COVID a lot of people are not in corporate networks that are protected by the right security levels. Instead, they are at home, they’re on the road. And they basically have a different way of protecting their home security infrastructure. And it means that there’s much more exposure from that perspective. If you look at where the majority of the disaster recovery scenarios come from, it’s not because of technical failures, or datacenter burndowns. But it does show you that you need to think about it. And we always say that, don’t think that just having one backup is enough to be protected. For example, you could have had a backup on to your second server in the OVH data center, which would not have helped you. We always recommend three-two-one, which means that you always need to have three different backups in two different medias in at least one different location, so that if something happens, you’re indeed also protected in a different location. For example, last year we saw a massive increase especially in the United States. And it had nothing to do with technology or with human mistakes but with natural disasters. There were a lot of wildfires, there were thunderstorms and cyclones. We have seen that people who are in those areas are starting to think more about “Okay, my business is in this area, if I’m exposed, I can back up my hard disk locally in my office. But if my office burns down, or my office is impacted, I can still not work.” Disaster Recovery is also not about how quickly can I recover the data that I have? But it’s also about what data can I recover? What is the RPO (note from the editor: Recovery Point Objective) and RTO (note from the editor: Recovery Time Objective)? How quickly can I get back to business as usual, even without my own infrastructure that I normally have. 

Alex: That kind of makes sense. Many people say that it’s obvious that big corporations need a Disaster Recovery Plan. But what about small businesses and solo entrepreneurs? Do they also need a Disaster Recovery Plan? Or is it an overblown idea for companies of this size?  

JJ Jager: It’s the opposite. Even more if you go a layer down to your personal life. How much photos or videos do we take today? How many times do you hear a story and of course, we at Acronis hear it a lot, that people call us and say, “Hey, my phone is broken, can you help me restore it because there is precious data on it, the video of my kids doing the first steps and I cannot recover it”. It’s an extreme example. But that’s basically just emotional information. Just think about you as a single person, you operate your business, and you don’t have a fallback of financial support, or you don’t have a fallback of a huge team that can help you with whatever happens or you have a big insurance that basically pays for the damages, but you’re just a small or medium business or home office type of person. Imagine your important information about your financials, your customers or your online store which is basically your livelihood is gone. This is unrepairable. I think it’s crucial that everybody thinks about what is their Disaster Recovery Plan in the future. 

Alex: It is true that a lot of small customers are underinsured and underfunded. I agree that this could be an issue, but at the same time, they don’t really have that much time and resources to think about this, because they’re busy doing business. I’ve been there, I’ve done that and I remember how was it. The question is, are there ways for small businesses to get this comfort of having a Disaster Recovery Plan, without investing serious money and serious time into developing one? 

JJ Jager: It’s a very good question. Of course, that’s absolutely available, there are plenty of partners that offer those types of services, Acronis is one of them. There are plenty of other vendors out there in the market as well that offer easy access to some form of remote or geo-location backup and disaster recovery types of services. The huge differentiation in what is out there is the simplicity. If you talk about enterprise type of technologies, you mostly have IT people that can deal with managing and setting up this type of service so that it is operated in the right way. In a more simplistic way, a small medium business or a single person doesn’t have that knowledge per se. Sure you can spend time and learn it. But it beats the purpose. It needs to be simple and easy consumable. And that is where Acronis is a little bit different from other providers. We came from the consumer side, we started in the consumer side and the consumer side is very simple: If your solution is not easy to use, then it will not be used, and you’re not selling or you don’t get the reputation into the market. And that’s the concept that we have been always having. That means, if you work with Acronis, or with a partner that uses Acronis, setting up a backup is relatively straightforward. You select the files or the server location that you would like to back up, then you back it up. But then to make a disaster recovery that you can access at any time and within 15 minutes you can boot-up automatically a virtual environment that basically represents exactly the same infrastructure that you had on your dedicated server or virtual server regardless of its complexity. That’s what we have tried to simplify by saying if you have a backup with Acronis, it’s a three-click step where you don’t have to put any kind of settings in it because we have already a backup of your server and we can automate that Disaster Recovery Plan. That is the kind of information and process that is important if you want to serve those smaller customers in those businesses in those areas. 

Alex: Awesome. Before we talk about the details how Acronis can help, I would like to start one step earlier and just discuss what are the operational areas that should be included in a Disaster Recovery Plan? Like you’ve obviously mentioned data, but what are the other things that you should think about when preparing a Disaster Recovery Plan. 

JJ Jager: First of all, you define what is indeed your highest priority, and then you start defining categories of that, how long can you be without it, because it could be that you have some kind of server with some information on it and if you take a week to recover it’s no problem. If you put certain data on a different location, you always depend on the traffic and speed that you have. If you have done your categorization in the sense of which information is important, then you need to figure out what kind of devices are you going to back up. You may have a virtual environment, a dedicated server, you maybe have a cloud environment, Microsoft Office 365, or G Suite or Google workspace that you would like to back up. Maybe you have a mobile phone or an iPad that you would like to back up. You categorize them, which workloads you would like to protect as well in that particular categorization of importance. Then you decide about “Okay, if something happens, how quickly would I like to recover it?” It has nothing to do with the data or the device but how quickly does it need to be recovered? Is a day or two okay, or do you want to have it recovered instantly? Can it be a half an hour, can it be half a day? That’s the one thing and then the next thing is, where would you like to keep the data, meaning what’s your geo-redundant backup strategy and disaster recovery strategy. We always recommend to not have it in one place, but to have it somewhere else. How do you do that? How frequently do you do that? You take all those steps into account. If you’ve done that, then it gets actually towards the next step: Okay, how do I test it? Still a big percentage of people think they are secured if they have backups. Then when something happens, they try to recover the backup only to discover that the backup was corrupted or the hard disk is not working anymore, or some version of a file or some system didn’t work in a way that it was. This means that you need to start doing this testing schedule. Very important! Then the next step would be, if there’s indeed a disaster recovery, who’s going to be in charge? What are your internal processes, who’s going to react and who’s going to send which kind of information to which kind of persons to make sure that everybody that needs to be getting involved knows their tasks. Basically, you build not only an IT plan of how technology works, but you also create a workflow plan, how to deal with scenarios in which you have a disaster. 

Alex: I can totally imagine that. I know a lot of small businesses where there are no technical people. And it’s also the question whom to call and what are the steps to take. Okay, so let’s talk bigger detail about this. You’ve mentioned that Acronis as well as some other companies are able to help to simplify such a process. Once I’ve created such a checklist, what are the things that I need to have in my Disaster Recovery Plan? No matter it’s data, applications or devices that I use – I know what is that and I know how quickly I need to get it back. Then what is my next step? Where do I take it to actually make that happen without spending days on building my Disaster Recovery Plan? 

JJ Jager: It’s a very good question. Either you go to a service provider that has those types of services. We work with plenty of hosting providers in the world where those types of services are part of the infrastructure. But we also work with MSPs or hosts together where basically they take our solutions and install it. It’s relatively straightforward. If you go towards, for example, on the Acronis website for the cloud solution, there’s an express sign up, you sign up and within minutes, you get a confirmation and within one to two hours, you get activated into our online console. And within the online console, you can start registering your server that you have in whatever data center, and you build a backup plan. You can do that mostly in a minute or two, then you do a backup, the first initial seeding of your backup might take longer. You wait for that and as soon as you have done your backup, you basically go to the section that says “I would like to have a disaster recovery from this particular server” so that you can remotely in a different location boot up this server and work in the same exact same way as what you have in the Contabo data center, for example. And you do it with a three-click process, you can automate that whole process. We know how to capture the virtual IP, and then basically to flip everything over, so that we can run that in a virtual environment. And you don’t have to install anything, you don’t have to buy additional hardware or rent different storage. Everything is then operated automatically by Acronis. That means if you experience a disaster, you basically go into the console, and you can click on “Boot up my virtual environment”, and then you can start working from that environment, exactly in the same way that you do somewhere else 

Alex: So, it can be just set up in a few clicks on your website, then I can link it to my existing server, for example in the Contabo data center, and then just in case, and I am able to get the recovery point there? 

JJ Jager: Yes, and the great thing is, you know, disaster recovery isn’t just about making backups and recover these. If you look at the NIST Cybersecurity Framework, you talk about identifying, protecting, detecting, then responding towards the disaster, and then of course doing the recovery. All of those elements are part of the Acronis solution. The only thing that you need to do is install the agent. We also offer agentless approach, it’s even easier, but not for everything. What you do is you basically install on your server an agent that consists of vulnerability assessment and antivirus, anti-malware, anti-crypto mining, anti-ransomware. Then you have, of course, your backup solution in there and it’s also connected to disaster recovery. Coming back towards it because I really want to highlight it, it is very important to test your backup and disaster recovery. People think too often, I have my backup, and do not take into account that hard disks have and average lifetime of two to three years… 

Alex: …We know something about this at Contabo… 

JJ Jager: …you know, we go through tens of thousands of hard-disks a year just because they break. And it means that if you think you have something on this hard disk, think again, because you need to test it. That’s what we try to make possible as well. That means within our solutions, you can actually test for 2.5 hours each month free disaster recovery of your backup that you’ve done in the disaster recovery enablement within our solution. And you can do that every month, at least once. 

Alex: You can simulate that you had a disaster and see if you can actually recover that? 

JJ Jager: Yes, exactly. You can keep on testing. And that is not only good for yourself, but we also do it for our MSPs and service providers to make sure that they what they’re providing as a service to their customers is actually working. 

Alex: What exactly is the name of this product in the Acronis portfolio? 

JJ Jager: It’s Acronis Cyber Cloud and Cyber Protect. Cyber Protect is this all-inclusive one agent that includes security, antivirus, anti-malware, ransomware protection, plus backup and plus the disaster recovery. 

Alex: Okay, then let’s talk about something that is always important for small businesses and especially for Contabo customers who are known to be very smart in terms of the prices they pay and choices they make in terms of that. How much does it cost? 

JJ Jager: It depends, you can go to our website, and then you can download the simple security product Cyber Protect, or True Image for $50, which absolutely does a perfect job for a single Workstation, single server or virtual environment. But if you go in different kind of categories, where you would like to have a more professional service, the price depends on the service provider that offers it. Most of the time, we would recommend to go to any kind of service provider that has this type of service available. And then you have multiple options, either you pay per device you have if you store locally yourself, because then there’s no storage from this vendor, and then you pay a device-based pricing that could be a couple of euros or a couple of dollars, depending on where you are. Or you have a pay-as-you-go model where you pay per gigabyte. The gigabyte base prices depend on where you are, it’s between 16 cents to sometimes even six cents per gigabyte. There are also unlimited models for example, if you go to Microsoft Office 365 where you just pay per device and have unlimited gigabytes available. 

Alex: I understand there is not one single price one can get. 

JJ Jager: No, because it is about the value that is added. If you are an MSP you can add certain value, you have certain support. If you go to Acronis, we will support you and make sure that everything is managed. Every managed service provider or vendor has different layers of SLA’s or how they get supported or not. And with that you have different pricing concepts as well. 

Alex: I just want to make sure that people have some kind of feeling of what a level of expense we are looking at? Again, the Contabo community is very cost conscious. And we want to help them make the best decisions regarding the price. 

JJ Jager: Just one thing that we can share. If you look at a normal infrastructure, what are you using? You’re using security software, you’re probably using some patch management software, you should use some backup software, not even talking about disaster recovery. Then maybe you have some vulnerability assessment software or looking at your inventories that you have to make a list of all the things that you have, you probably have some kind of remote management software that you use to get access to your server. Right now, in this new world of COVID everybody works from home, so to support your devices that are remote, you have some remote software, it could be as simple as TeamViewer. All those five elements are very critical and key to protect and to make those particular environments accessible. But each individual one, you have, of course, individual vendors, and you pay an individual price for it. And that’s what we are trying to simplify it. If you really look at Acronis, we have this one agent, where all of those elements are part of one installation. It’s not only about cost savings but about what are the true costs of making sure that you don’t have this overhead of five different application, and you need to switch from one to another. But it’s also about how the level of security works if you’re integrated with each other. Because one security software doesn’t communicate always with your patch management or with your backup software. That’s what we changed because we have it all in one agent, we can communicate between the charter. That means that if you need to do a patch, all you need to do is to apply this group of patches to your system. You don’t have to think about the need to do a backup first. Now we basically do that automatically in the backend for you, then we see if the patch works well. If it doesn’t work well, we can actually recover from that particular backup automatically without you having to do anything for it. So that’s kind of like the integrated add-on security layers and automation. That helps, of course, a lot as well. Because the cost is important, but it’s also how you can save time, which is also cost. 

Alex: It is actually my next question, because obviously, it’s good to know how much do I spend on a monthly basis to make sure that my servers are protected and I have a Disaster Recovery Plan. But at the same time, it’s also the matter of time. Putting aside the initial setup time, how much time does it take to basically maintain this setup that we have discussed? 

JJ Jager: It depends. If you have a very active environments with a lot of exposures or attacking points from outside, or a very large infrastructure, then sure, you probably should monitor it more frequently. But the good thing is, within our case, we have very clear dashboards and automation reporting tools, that means that even an end-client who has an antivirus plus backup on their desktop can use it, just what I have on my desktop for myself. Every morning, I step up and look at my dashboard and see okay, how much malware has been prevented? Did my backup work? Are there patches that need to be installed? Mostly I don’t even have to do it because my administrator does it for me. But theoretically, if I want to, I can click on the patch apply it. It’s a relatively intuitive interface based on widgets. You can also define the information that you would like to see, and warns you if something needs to be done. Then we show you what the step-by-step guide is how to make that correction or to delete a certain file or to contain a malware that is in your system. 

Alex: Then why don’t we just try to apply the knowledge you have shared with us to it to a particular case, and do a case study? And I brought one case that is very close to my heart. My mom runs a boutique law firm in Poland. Years ago, I was trying to help her create such a Disaster Recovery Plan. Why don’t we try to do it together just to show people what kind of questions and things you need to take into consideration and then how this goes into tooling, so that it’s easier for the Contabo community to figure this out. So where do I start? 

JJ Jager: It comes back to an earlier question. What’s the Disaster Recovery Plan? Let’s make it simple and say you have an email server or you have an email client… 

Alex: ….Yes. Let’s say we have a Microsoft Office 365 to make it more interesting, we have a billing software on a server since everyone is working remotely. Then we have the web page and a server where we store customers’ data. Also, we have the mobile devices, laptops, PCs that our employees are working on. Let’s say we have a VDS at Contabo. What’s the next step? 

JJ Jager: You make a plan and classify the most important information. What’s the RPO and RTO? What are the SLA times that you would like for the individual systems? Also very important: How do you want to deal with privacy? Lawyers and accountants deal with very confidential information. I’m sure you can pick any kind of location where you can store the data, but you need to make sure that your data center is HIPAA-compliant, for example, GDPR-compliant in Europe. Let’s say you have now defined your whole plan; you went through all your categorizations. So how do I need to roll out my software? First, you register an account with Acronis. Then, you basically install the agent for your mobile phone, for your iPad, for your laptop, for your servers that you have in your infrastructure, they show up in the interface. What you do then instead of going to the individual devices and making a backup plan, you create a standardized backup plan or security plan, that basically cyber protects your environment. You create that which basically includes security and backups and can include also disaster recovery. If you’ve created that, then you say, okay, which devices would you like to add to this plan? Here you come back towards what’s your prioritization of importance of information? Let’s say you have a high priority plan for your financial data, the data from clients, and for example email, because that needs to be very quickly recoverable. So that’s your highest priority. And then you have a second priority that is maybe just an archive folder.  

Alex: Yes! Staying in the shoes of our legal office, I would say customer documents and emails are needed as quickly as possible, but you can survive without a website for a while. 

JJ Jager: You have those tiers. And you make three plans, high-priority plan, middle-priority plan, low-priority plan. For the high-priority plan, you say that you need to have your server, and these documents and your email. That’s how you apply it all step by step. If something happens, then it will have your Disaster Recovery Plan or the backup plan attached to that. You can pinpoint the location in our plans, so you could say the high-priority information needs to be in a Polish data center. You pick a Polish data center because it cannot leave the country. But you could theoretically also pick another location in Frankfurt or UK, you can do that all from the interface. The beauty also is, coming back then towards Microsoft Office 365, you don’t want to set up each individual account, what you can do is you can add your registration of Microsoft Office 365 into the Acronis backup cloud, and it pulls all your user information and also the hierarchy that you have. From a security perspective, it’s also separated in the right way. Each individual user, with their agent on their client, can do also themselves a lot of the recovery work or exploring work if it needs to be. 

Alex: You can also include Office 365 into your recovery? 

JJ Jager: Correct, and you will have it all in one dashboard and all the information gets consolidated.  

Alex: What about the website, though? A Legal Office website is not a major thing in terms of traffic. They just have a webspace package with Contabo where they have this website. Are they able to connect this as well do they need to have the total control over the server to use Acronis? 

JJ Jager: It depends, we do work with certain vendors where websites are created through control panels like cPanel and Plesk. We have integrations with them so that you can see not only the whole cPanel server, but also individual accounts. We do have individual integrations with certain website builders, that you can then recover as well. We are currently working on a WordPress integration that will probably be released at the end of this year, where you then also pull in a WordPress website that you have created. You could theoretically pinpoint the server where this website is built on and basically backup and disaster recovery that particular whole server with the website. 

Alex: As long as this on the on a VPS, so with a shared hosting account, this is a slightly different situation, I understand. Okay, it would be excellent if my mom is listening. I think there are quite a lot of people who are in the same situation as my mom, so I thought it would be a good example. From your experience, how long would it take for someone to build such a setup? Are we talking hours, days, weeks? 

JJ Jager: We activate an account for our vendors within a couple of hours if they registered through our Express process. If you go to any of the larger service providers that offers Acronis, you mostly have an instance access as soon as you register for it. And then I would say, within two, three hours, you can set everything up, depending on how many devices you have. Normally, if you have one device, literally it’s a couple of minutes. And then you sync the first one. The initial seeding is the biggest time consumer, depending on how fast your connection is. After that, it runs and you want to make sure that you check on it a couple of times a week. 

Alex: I know it might not be easy to answer, but this is the question my mom would ask me next: In what a price range would such a Disaster Recovery Plan be? I don’t expect that you will give me an amount to the very dollar, but are we talking about hundreds of euros or thousands of euros? 

JJ Jager: This would be in the tens of euros. If you look normally at a device for a workstation with 50 gigabytes, your average price in the market would be about 10 cents per gigabyte then you basically pay $5 for this particular instance. If there’s some premium service on top of that so let’s say $10 per workstation is a very normal price. 

Alex: I’m just trying to do the quick math. But it looks like we’re talking about less than 100 euros a month, right?  

JJ Jager: Absolutely. If you go really with high-end servers and terabytes of data, then of course, it’s different. Also, in data center locations that are more exotic, where internet traffic is much more expensive you can potentially pay more. But in most Central European countries, it’s very competitive. If you talk about databases where you have more volume then sure you pay a little bit more than just for a workstation or for a phone or Microsoft Office 365. Most of the add-ons, you will get them for $2-$3 on top of that, where you have the additional email security backup solutions attached towards those unlimited backups. 

Alex: Provided that I now understand how important it is to have a Disaster Recovery Plan, where do I start? Do you have any go-to resources that you would recommend to read first and that will allow you to start your journey to create a Disaster Recovery Plan? 

JJ Jager: Our site is a very good place to start with because we also provide a lot of general information, case studies and content about what the service delivers. Then we refer specific partners we work with, where our solution is completely integrated and automated. Through our website you can also start any kind of express sign-up process. This is more for commercial companies and MSPs though and not necessarily for end customers. End customers can buy the service that we offer online as well but mostly we drive our business to our partners. 

Alex: Can you just give me the names of your biggest partners? 

JJ Jager: In Europe we have Strato and Ionos, in the United States we have GoDaddy, Sherweb, Liquidweb. Also, we have smaller partners in smaller countries as well like Hostnet in the Netherlands. Then we partner with telecommunication companies like KPN, British Telecom and Softbank in Japan. In almost every country, we have a set of service providers that offer different services, including hosting providers that use control panels like cPanel. We are integrated with Plesk and cPanel, which means that you can always use those services as well with our plugins. You can also go through Acronis directly to find more information about our partners. 

Alex: Do you know any online-courses, like a 101 on disaster recovery? 

JJ Jager: Yes, we have our YouTube channel that is accessible to everyone. Just search for Acronis Cyber Protection or Cyber Cloud and you will find tons of videos about how our solution works. We do also have an official online training program. As soon as you register as a partner you get access to it. There we offer a step-by-step guideline from what is security, what are backups, what is a disaster recovery and we explain everything about protection and prevention. We have a huge range of sessions lasting from 15 minutes to two hours, plus online sessions where people can ask questions. We have evangelists available to answer questions in our live chat. All of those things are available for our partners and customers.  

Alex: Question from the audience: Many VPS are based on Linux, how are the backup gigabytes counted, is it only per used space or is the empty space included as well? 

JJ Jager: Only used space is counted. If you make a backup, and by the way Linux is supported, we do already a compression before the data is sent to our data center and then in our data center we compress the data again. That is basically what you will be charged for. For example, if you use 200 GB of a 500 GB hard disk, then we will probably back up less than 200 GB depending on how we can consolidate that efficiently. If you have multiple time stamps and snapshots of the changes, and you would like to keep every change on your backup plan, then of course over time this will increase. But if you say that you need only one last backup, then you will have as maximum what you are actually using.  

Alex: We have discussed the idea of how you can create an image in the Acronis cloud in case of a disaster. Obviously, this is not a long-term solution, eventually you want to get back to your original server. Is there an option to use the Acronis product to restore your backup to the original server? 

JJ Jager: Yes, sure if you have a critical server and you don’t have the time to recover from a backup that you have made and you literally need to recover in minutes, then you do disaster recovery. It’s also not the most economical way to run a disaster recovery for months or weeks or days. If you have multiple backups, you start doing a disaster recovery and you bring it up quickly so your website or your service is not down. Then in the back-end you take your other backup that you may have locally and restore that. If you don’t have a local backup, it is also fine and you can still restore from the cloud back to your original position. We have acquired a company from San Francisco which offers a technology that allows us to highlight the most frequently used applications and services on the backup and we can then restore these first. Then you can already start working with these apps. On the back-end, we start restoring all the files that you don’t use that frequently. There are certain tools and features in the software to make sure that if you restore from the cloud, it will be done in an optimized way as well because restoring from the cloud is not always the fastest way compared to if you have the local hard disks with a backup directly connected. 

Alex: A question from the audience which is more to me than to you JJ, are we at Contabo actually planning to start offering Acronis as the solution? We should be open that currently there is no integration. Of course, we are open for you guys to install Acronis client on your server and VPS. One of the reasons we are talking with JJ today is to make this option more popular among Contabo customers and to make sure you have a Disaster Recovery Plan in place. We currently have no official plan to launch a partnership with Acronis, but who knows what the future will bring. Right now, we recommend to use Acronis solutions directly with Acronis so that you are prepared in case of disaster recovery. Bad things happen and there are a lot of reasons why you might need that plan. 

JJ Jager: The misperception is that if I have my data in a data center, I am okay. I think we have proven that this is not the case. A fire in a data center at OVH, and I feel so sorry for those people and I never wish this to anyone, is an extreme case but it can happen every day, every minute and every second that a hard disk just fails. Sure, Contabo will replace the hard disk but will not guarantee that the data on that hard disk will be recoverable. That is not their responsibility.  

Alex: It is not only about the hard disks and data center fire because these are kind of extreme cases. But we have seen so many cases in which somebody just had ransomware attack, and we cannot really help anyhow in such case. You need to be prepared. 

JJ Jager: That is exactly where we make a difference because we have the antivirus included and integrated into one application. Restoring data out of our data center is very expensive. Everybody knows that ingress and outgress is a huge difference in cost. Data that goes out of our data center costs a lot of money. When we saw the spikes six, seven years ago with ransomware becoming more and more an issue, we also saw our customers were not protected well on the front-end. Sure, we can recover from the backup, but it will take a lot of time which is frustrating and cost money. That’s exactly when we said that we need to have prevention as good as recovery in one product. That is why front-end protection is as important since you don’t want to do recovery. Just make sure that you have a good prevention at the front-end then we don’t have to talk about disaster recovery in the back-end. 

Alex: Thank you very much for your time today, JJ. It was great to have you here and thank you for walking us through all the steps that are needed to have a Disaster Recovery Plan in place. 

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