From an individual’s perspective, large-scale catastrophic incidents are relatively rare. While some parts of the world seem to suffer a substantially higher number of natural disasters (such as hurricanes, tornados, earthquakes, and floods) than elsewhere, on average many people will encounter few if any such events in their lifetime.
It’s this context that sees some businesses think of themselves as inherently immune to physical and technical disasters. That can be a costly mistake since a severe disaster could drive an otherwise profitable entity out of business. Disaster recovery plans, procedures, and processes are therefore fundamental.
Nevertheless, disaster recovery solutions are not created equal. A growing number of organizations are abandoning the traditional disaster recovery approach that involved a remote secondary site and are instead taking up disaster recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS). DRaaS is the hosting of cloud servers by a third party in order to ensure the client’s continuity in the event of a natural or man-made catastrophe affecting the client.
Here’s a look at why DRaaS is advantageous.
Reduce Recovery Costs
Establishing and running a secondary site that would pick up the slack in the event of a disaster affecting the production location is expensive. Other than the inevitable costs of servers, replication software, security, storage, and internet bandwidth, there are many non-IT expenses such as remote site employees, utilities, travel to and from the site, and leasing/purchasing the space.
These costs are eliminated with DRaaS since the responsibility for ensuring the cloud service is running solely falls on the service provider. You, therefore, pay a single fee for the entire service. It’s up to the service provider to ensure their pricing covers all their costs.
The subject of the cost we’ve discussed above is a classic example of how a cloud-based service like DRaaS simplifies the disaster recovery process. With a secondary site, you must deal directly with multiple stakeholders such as the owner of the space, utility service providers, local business licensing and the network infrastructure provider.
Your relationship with each stakeholder comes with its own purchase contracts, maintenance contracts, service level agreements, upgrade procedures, and other documentation. With DRaaS, you deal with the DRaaS provider only which greatly reduces the complexity of recovery.
Because DRaaS providers have to work with a wide range of systems in order to accommodate their dozens, hundreds or thousands of customers, their infrastructure is built for interoperability from the ground up. DRaaS solutions must work seamlessly with diverse operating systems and applications while ensuring nothing falls through the cracks.
With a secondary site disaster recovery setup, you must expend substantial time and resources updating the DR environment whenever there’s a significant system change in the production site.
Reduce Time to Rollout
Signing up for and setting up a DRaaS environment can be completed in a matter of hours (it can run into days for larger organizations with hundreds of systems). On the other hand, building a secondary disaster recovery site can require weeks or months of work.
Once again, it boils down to the degree of complexity. Just making sure all the numerous moving parts of a secondary site operate in the way they should can require plenty of meetings, trial-and-error, and troubleshooting. With DRaaS, you can be up and running fast.
Also, when you need additional capacity due to growing business needs, DRaaS upgrades can be completed in a matter of minutes with just the click of a button.
We’ve already seen that secondary disaster recovery sites are expensive to establish and run. What that does is force organizations to prioritize the protection of certain data while disregarding seemingly lower risk information.
Since DRaaS costs less, its expenditure predictable and is more scalable, businesses have more leeway to protect not just the most critical servers but in some cases, all the data in their custody.
Disasters are an existential threat to your business. Choosing the right disaster recovery mechanism can make the difference between whether your company survives a catastrophe or continues to run almost unscathed. DRaaS certainly has the advantages that make it a more compelling solution when compared to secondary site disaster recovery.