Boost Kubernetes Disaster Recovery

Kubernetes is an open source system for containerized applications. It offers various disaster recovery capabilities including automated cancellations and self-repair, but it is not enough to rely on the built-in options because Faiz Khan Explain…

We all know how serious the risk is today for stored data. The danger has been compounded by the surge in cloud adoption in recent years and the constant realization among business leaders that they need more flexible infrastructure options. And while it has enabled businesses to become more agile, the shift to cloud flexibility has created new challenges in data management and security.

In particular, there is concern about the security of organizations’ Kubernetes applications, which have quickly become the default cloud container for many businesses. In fact, of the 84% of companies using containers in production, 78% are using Kubernetes, according to data from the Cloud Native Computing Foundation.

Unfortunately, as organizations have shifted to containerized strategies, the number of downtime events that lead to data loss has catapulted. These downtime events are becoming much more common due to the escalation of ransomware attacks, the increase in extreme weather events, and the persistent threat of human error. For example, 1 in 3 AWS users report that their organization has experienced data loss in the past year due to downtime events. This means that every organization must extend their cloud-native disaster recovery plan to cover their Kubernetes workloads.

Here are three tips to help every business evolve their Kubernetes backup and disaster recovery strategies as they seek greater resiliency in the face of emerging threats …

Establish a backup location

Businesses need a recovery plan in place before backing up. To ensure seamless and fast recovery of their Kubernetes clusters, organizations need to be clear about where their backups will be restored in the event of an outage. This task is much more difficult than it looks, given the complexity of Kubernetes components.

The goal is, however, simple. Organizations need to be able to quickly restore all application components where they want them to be and restore subsets of those applications when they need them. In an environment where the cost of downtime escalates, any action that improves both the recovery time goal and the recovery point goal is vital.

Move away from traditional disaster recovery plans for cloud native backup

The goal of every disaster recovery plan is to create a safety net for businesses to maintain their applications, infrastructure, and ultimately their operational activity in the event of an unplanned outage. But just as the Covid-19 crisis has caused organizations to rethink almost every facet of their business and even expose vulnerabilities in the way they work, it has also exposed the inefficiencies of traditional disaster recovery plans. These inefficiencies are further exaggerated with backing up Kubernetes applications.

The truth is, traditional disaster recovery is far too complex, expensive, and unpredictable for containers. It works by creating a parallel production setup that may not even be necessary in all cases, or by backing up only specific resources or objects, resulting in long disaster recovery times. Moreover, it does not allow application mobility with all its constructions and plans such as network configuration, security policies, configurations and data between cloud regions or sometimes even between clouds.

This makes traditional disaster recovery inefficient for companies looking to back up their Kubernetes clusters. Kubernetes is application centric, and these types of legacy disaster recovery solutions often fail to capture the application as a whole. Which means they can actually put organizations at greater risk of data loss or corruption. Additionally, the fact that Kubernetes updates and releases are so frequent (every 3 months or so) means that traditional disaster recovery may not be able to provide the right amount of protection.

Instead, businesses need a cloud-native backup strategy to seamlessly create their backups and restore them in the event of a disaster. Many businesses are turning to cloud-based Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) for its simplicity, flexibility, and how it reduces the financial investments that businesses have to make.

Security layer

Organizations urgently need to consider security in their Kubernetes management. Clusters can be complex to secure and are often abused in compromises that exploit their poor configurations. Especially since they tend to be multi-tenant, with teams of developers regularly added and removed from the system. Tracking permissions and credentials is a task in itself and, as we know, a significant security concern.

Of course, Kubernetes has security features, including network policies that protect internal application components and data services. This is an undeniable advantage, but also one that has the potential to hamper backup solutions operating outside of Kubernetes clusters. A cloud-based disaster recovery solution solves this problem, and the best news is that some are even adding ransomware detection capabilities as an extra layer of security.

Meanwhile, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) recently released its security guidelines for Kubernetes, highlighting the need for proactive breach prevention measures such as Kubernetes pod security, network separation and hardening, as well as as authentication and authorization.

With remote working becoming less of a movement and more of a long-term strategy, scalable cloud native backup solutions have become necessary for resiliency. Likewise, the escalation of threats to corporate data creates a critical scenario where business continuity is highly dependent on the ability of organizations to secure their cloud workloads. Indeed, the way we work and where we store our data has undergone a massive change in recent years. It is essential that business leaders modernize their disaster recovery plans accordingly with cloud-based backup for Kubernetes.

The author

Faiz Khan is CEO of Wanclouds

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