Disasters come in many forms, from severe weather events to extended power outages to cyberattacks. Whatever the cause, a disaster can bring any organization’s operations to a grinding halt. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, one-fourth of businesses shut their doors permanently after a disaster. A U.S. Small Business Administration study found that 90 percent of businesses fail within two years.
That’s why it’s critically important to have a disaster recovery (DR) plan. An effective DR plan covers every aspect of the organization, from personnel safety to facilities management to communication with customers. Depending on the nature of the disaster, any or all of these elements might come into play. Because IT systems touch almost every aspect of operations, they’re a natural focal point for DR planning.
Traditionally, DR required that organizations replicate their IT infrastructure. They would have to purchase and implement systems that would be activated in case of disaster, and manage and maintain equipment that sat idle most of the time. As a result, only the largest enterprises could afford full-fledged DR sites. Now the cloud has leveled the playing field, putting DR within reach of even the smallest organizations.
How DRaaS Works
Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) allows organizations to replicate their onsite systems and data in a cloud environment. Organizations that have moved their systems to the cloud can use intracloud DRaaS to protect their environment.
Specialized software provides the orchestration needed to transfer operations from primary to backup resources in a disaster. Users can access those resources from the cloud and continue to do their jobs. Operations failback to primary resources once they are restored.
Using the cloud provider’s infrastructure eliminates much of the cost and complexity of DR. Organizations simply pay for the resources and services they need and scale up or down as circumstances dictate. DRaaS also provides better assurance of business continuity. Even if the disaster impacts the customer’s entire site, the cloud provider’s offsite infrastructure won’t be affected. Of course, cloud service providers typically have redundant infrastructure and their own DR plans to ensure continuity of service.
It’s important to note that DRaaS is different than cloud backup, which simply replicates data to a service provider’s storage infrastructure. Cloud backup protects your data against loss but doesn’t provide for business continuity. Failover to the backup cloud resources is the critical feature that distinguishes DRaaS from cloud backup.
Choosing the Right DRaaS Solution
When selecting a DRaaS provider, you should ensure that the cloud infrastructure can support your organization’s server platforms. The solution should also support backup and recovery operations, allowing you to restore individual files and full virtual machines from backup if needed.
It’s important to evaluate the service-level agreement (SLA) to ensure that it meets your organization’s recovery point objectives (RPOs) and recovery time objectives (RTOs). The DRaaS provider should also be able to ensure acceptable network performance during normal and disaster operations. This is particularly important if you have large volumes of data, which require a lot of bandwidth for transfer to and from the cloud.
You should also consider the various DRaaS models, including self-service, assisted and managed DRaaS. Self-service is the least expensive but you are responsible for implementing and managing the solution. Assisted DRaaS provides you with tools and consultation with experts, while managed DRaaS allows you to fully outsource the process.
IronLogix has extensive experience in both DR and cloud solutions, and can show you how DRaaS can protect your business without the infrastructure costs associated with traditional solutions. From establishing RPOs and RTOs, to evaluating bandwidth and security, to ensuring SLAs protect your interests, we can help you implement a reliable, efficient DRaaS solution.