DRaaS: the reliable, low-cost approach to disaster recovery

Today, everyone in business understands that IT services and systems are critical to a business functioning and operating. Without a website, internal applications and key communication channels, most enterprises would be unable do business with customers. And the entire outfit would most likely grind to a standstill.

Some have mitigated this risk by migrating key applications to cloud based systems. However most organisations will still be reliant on “internal” IT systems of some form. It is operationally imperative to ensure that these systems are supported by a valid, tested and reliable business continuity plan.

Remember in this social media age, reputational damage – previously relatively containable – has the potential to be made known to a wider audience. Whilst a company may be able to survive a temporary halt to business, damage to a brand’s reputation is both insidious and far harder to recoup.

High costs and continued risks

It is therefore crucial that fast, immediate disaster recovery in the event of a catastrophe is available. However, many businesses may lack the expertise and resource required to provision, configure and test an effective disaster recovery plan.

Tape-based and server-based recoveries may fall prey to the same catastrophe as the rest of the business should the back-up be located near the primary server site. However, if this is too far away, there may be consequent recovery-time problems.

The alternative of provisioning and maintaining both a primary and secondary data centre – including bandwidth, cooling systems and back-up power – requires a huge investment and is simply unfeasible for the majority of companies.

Security and efficiency

Enter Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). By using a third-party vendor to provide “failover” to a cloud computing environment, systems and data can be protected across geographic risk zones at a sensible cost. Even, in the face of widespread disaster.

DRaaS offers complete replication of your primary data centre to a secure offsite data centre. And from which it is possible to spin up virtual servers and restore the data in the event of an outage. Any data currently held in the cloud can also be replicated to a second data centre, or even a completely separate cloud provider, in order to provide an additional level of contingency.

What to consider with DRaaS

Using the cloud for disaster recovery has many benefits. But there are certain qualities that businesses should look for in a DRaaS provider. First and foremost, a provider needs to be highly experienced. Trustworthy and credible. And always ensure that due diligence is done, and that they meet all the certification and qualification requirements.

Secondly, ensure that a DRaaS provider understands and meets your business’ needs. Recovery point and recovery time objectives need to be agreed upon. And by both your technical team and your key business decision makers to ensure realistic expectations. But once these have been decided upon, a good DRaaS provider will guarantee these SLAs are met.

Finally, always ensure that any disaster recovery plan is fully tested, to confirm that recoveries are secure and fast.