In an IT world where everything related to ‘as a service’ resonates more strongly, it is not surprising that managed data recovery has been talked about for some time. The Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) is the natural evolution of traditional backup towards which manufacturers and suppliers are turning to be one more line of commercial exploitation.

Traditionally, companies had a backup of all their information so that, in the event of a loss of information, breakage of a computer or any other unforeseen event, the organization could recover the data to the point where they were stored.

However, with the rise of Cloud Services and their possibilities, these solutions advanced, offering more functionalities that go beyond a repository; they guarantee the availability of the business.

Data is essential for businesses and they cannot afford to lose it. Therefore, it must be backed up and restored, either by setting up your own local environment or by using a third-party service to host your information. And that’s where DRaaS comes in, which has become an option more and more companies are considering.

What exactly is DRaaS?

All companies, whether they are large companies or SMEs, require a data recovery (DR) plan in case of failure. Although natural disasters are not very frequent, breakdowns in the company’s data-centers or a cyber-attack can be. However, the model followed so far has been to duplicate data-centers to prevent system collapse, at a high cost not suitable for all companies. With DRaaS, small companies can contemplate disaster recovery plans since it does not require any investment in infrastructure, licenses, maintenance or personnel, as it is a fully managed and flexible service, paying only for use.

Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) is the set of tools based on replication, by hosting an organization’s data on physical or virtual servers. This provides evidence of business availability and the ability to continue working in the face of natural or man-made disasters such as cyber attacks.

A different and much more complete approach to data recovery that is the current trend. Not surprisingly, this business is expected to grow by 36% by 2022. In this context, the major references at manufacturer level are Amazon, IBM or Microsoft.

From this point on, it should be clear that DRaaS is a far cry from the concept of a simple backup or a server where the data is held. This solution proposes to go further where the technology provider must be the specialist who helps to weave an effective contingency plan safe from almost any mishap.

DRaaS is provided in several different ways:

  • DRaaS with public cloud: e.g. Microsoft Azure, which provides a DR solution to the enterprise
  • DRaaS with a local service provider: a local company uses its private cloud to back up the company’s data and provide a disaster recovery solution. A key difference between this form of DRaaS and DRaaS with a public cloud is that the experience is much more personalized with a local service provider and involves human contact, face to face.
  • Private Cloud DRaaS: This is similar to DRaaS with a local service provider, however this option is suitable for companies with multiple processing centers in different locations and requires companies to configure their private cloud system and assign the service provider role to an internal employee.

Do companies really need DRaaS?

During an incident, recovery time is critical, because suffering an IT service disruption is a major problem for any organization. That’s why today’s businesses have no tolerance for downtime, so DRaaS (Disaster Recovery as a Service) provides a critical bridge that allows companies to operate remotely while normal processes are restored. While natural disasters are commonly associated with the need for DRaaS, five of the most common use cases are:

  • Facility shutdown
  • Network failure
  • Software, IT systems error
  • Local data center failure (not due to power failure)
  • Security related (malware attack)

Rapid recovery is vital to avoid costly downtime (both financial and reputational) and ensure that companies remain competitive and compliant. This means that by outsourcing disaster recovery as a managed service provider service, clients also avoid the complex and time-consuming organization of disaster recovery because they can count on the solution to work quickly.

As companies increasingly rely on ongoing operations and efficient data management processes, the need for more advanced recovery solutions becomes inevitable. After all, 90% of businesses without such disaster recovery capabilities close down after major disasters.

Perhaps the best way to judge whether DRaaS is really necessary in a business environment is to consider its benefits and the inherent drawbacks of implementation.

Benefits of DRaaS

  • Ease of use and automation: it does not require manual actions, so it is easier to check its correct operation in any situation.
  • Customization of the service: it is possible to configure the RTO (Recovery Time Objective, time between the disaster and return to normal service) and the RPO (Recovery Point Objective, i.e. the time elapsed since the last backup that marks the amount of data that will be lost) as required.
  • Fast recovery: Image-based backup allows you to take a snapshot of the workstation at a certain frequency and recover individual files or entire systems when needed in a matter of minutes.
  • Security: In the event of a security problem in your company’s infrastructure, your backups could be compromised. However, DRaaS provides this service through external servers and, therefore, better protected.
  • Mobility: the use of the Cloud allows employees to work from home in the event of a disaster.
  • Pay-per-use: It does not require costly investments. A monthly rent is paid for the use of the services and depends on the capacity of the computing power required (Processing, memory, disk, network). In other words, you only pay for the services you are protecting and only when you need them. With total transparency. In addition, the services are tax deductible (OPEX).
  • It gives the company a competitive advantage: there must be a relationship of trust between companies and their customers, and with DRaaS companies can feel confident that they can meet their customers’ needs, even in the event of a natural disaster or other unforeseen events.

DRaaS Cons

  • Dependence on a service provider: many companies cite dependence on an external provider as the main drawback with regard to DRaaS. Given the importance of a disaster recovery plan, many simply feel more confident in addressing recovery point objectives (RPOs) and timelines themselves.
  • Potential migration issues: Because DRaaS storage is completely separate from the rest of a business’ infrastructure, it also faces the risk of migration issues if a disaster occurs. This is especially likely in the case of a cloud-based DRaaS, but even a second infrastructure in a data center won’t help if you don’t have a way to access it internally when needed.

Is it suitable for a business?

The decision on whether to use DRaaS ultimately comes down to business requirements. Perhaps the main thing to keep in mind here is that, as a fully scalable option, DRaaS can be adapted to any company. If the benefits, already mentioned, are considered attractive, then this is probably the right decision.

Companies with limited IT experience will find the peace of mind that comes with a reliable DRaaS as this service provides a technical DR plan and a type of IT maintenance service. While some small businesses may find this option a bit costly to start with, it is possible to overcome even that setback with a cost model that is appropriate to the needs of the business.

The real answer here is simply to choose a vendor that is right for the business. While the service offers undeniable benefits in all areas of the business, a poor choice of supplier will always cause harm. As such, the following questions should be considered to ensure that DRaaS is the best possible bet for business operations:

  • Does the service comply with the RTO and RPO?
  • Is data handled sensitively?
  • Are access speed requirements met?
  • Are the applications compatible?
  • Are the cost models suitable for the budget?

Even if you do not need a full DRaaS service, asking these questions can bring your business closer to partial disaster recovery that will ensure that business operations can continue smoothly.

Conclusions

In short, and in conclusion, DRaaS makes it possible to reduce costs compared to traditional solutions, is more flexible and adapts to each customer. Furthermore, the combination of this modality with Infrastructure as a Service allows you to maintain and guarantee the updates of all the IT components of a business, so that you can focus on the development of the main activity of the business instead of investing time in the IT infrastructure.

DRaaS is becoming more and more prevalent in business, especially as cloud capabilities continue to grow and expand. As such, knowledge of this service is crucial to disaster recovery that keeps abreast of business models and ever-growing data storage needs.

However, as mentioned above, the potential downside of a poor DRaaS decision could be quite damaging, and may actually be worse than an internal DR plan.

To make sure that DRaaS works, it is always beneficial to look for professionals who can work together with the company to make the right decision. Together, you can develop a business continuity plan that you can trust, and gain business peace of mind for the future.