DRaaS (Disaster Recovery as a Service): A Complete Guide

Did you know, 4.7 million people were already working from home before the pandemic? That number only skyrocketed as things shut down. Now, even though things are slowly opening once again, many people have permanently adopted this mandate.

With the expansion of a remote workforce, many companies realized that relying on internal networks and local storage just wasn’t working.

Each day, more people are seeing the benefits of DRaaS (Disaster Recovery as a Service). They are making the switch to a more secure and cost-effective way of working.

We’re here to show you everything you need to know about Disaster Recovery as a Service, explained in a way that just makes sense. Keep reading to get our take on why this is pivotal to your business. 

What is Disaster Recovery as a Service?

DRaaS allows businesses to perform complete system backups, ensuring business stability and continuity in the event of a system breakdown.

Any reputable cloud service provider should offer this as part of a disaster recovery plan (DRP) or business continuity plan. The DRaaS will act as your new IT infrastructure in the event of a primary system repair or outage, allowing your organization to continue its day-to-day operations without interruption.

How Does it Work?

DRaaS uses a replication process to duplicate your data and send it to the cloud – the same data used in your production environment. It then makes use of cloud-based resources to create a complete infrastructure within which you can continue your work.

In the case of disaster, a disaster being a server malfunction or worse, your full system operations and user access are sent over to the virtual environment until your primary infrastructure is back up and running.

The Difference Between DRaaS and BaaS

DRaaS sounds like it’s backing up your data, which is what BaaS (Backup as a Service) does. It’s in the name! So what’s the difference?

BaaS is a process whereby a secure third party duplicates your data, but not the ability to process or manage it. Think of it as an automated backup system, which is great if you lose access to your core storage drives.

BaaS is often less expensive than DRaaS because it simply protects data, rather than the infrastructure as a whole.

While it can be a viable solution for companies that need to archive data for legal reasons, most businesses will still want to use BaaS with another disaster recovery tool to maintain business continuity.

This means, in the event of a disaster, and even if the original infrastructure is completely destroyed or taken captive, business can go on as usual.

The Different DRaaS Operating Models

There are three main models to choose from when working with a DRaaS provider. In order for us to gain a deeper understanding of Disaster Recovery as a Service, we need to take a closer look at what these three models do. Once you have more understanding of the models, you can decide which one is right for you and your business.

Managed DRaaS

In a managed DRaaS system, a third-party provider assumes full disaster recovery control. The organization will still need to maintain close communication with their DRaaS provider to ensure they are staying up to date on all their infrastructure, applications, and service changes, but the provider manages everything else.

This may be the ideal solution and service for you if you lack the skills or time to run your own disaster recovery.

Assisted DRaaS

If you prefer to retain some control over your disaster recovery plan, then an assisted DRaaS may be the right alternative for you. In this model, the service provider brings its own knowledge to the table, but the client is responsible for putting some, or all, of the plan into action.

Self-Service DRaaS

This is the ideal solution for businesses that have disaster recovery experts on staff, as it is also the most complex. However, it is typically the least expensive option.

In a self-service model, the customer handles disaster recovery planning, testing, and maintenance. The customer also hosts its own infrastructure backup on virtual machines. These virtual machines are usually in a remote location and are provided by the cloud host.

To ensure the processes move over in the event of a disaster, careful planning and testing are required. This is why it is imperative to work with professionals, whether that is in-house or externally.

What to Look For When Choosing a DRaaS (Disaster Recovery as a Service)

Whether you are thinking of working with a managed DRaaS or something in between, there are a few key things you need to look for when choosing to work with a service provider.

Reliability and Adaptability

Contrary to popular belief, disaster recovery solutions are not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ kind of deal. Every business has a unique set of requirements and a unique scope in terms of workload. This means you need to ask yourself two key questions. 

How adaptable is the service based on my needs? The answer should be: “Very adaptable! As flexible as you need!”

Second, you need to ask yourself, how reliable is my service provider? When worse comes to worst, will they be there? You can rely on the testimonials of other customers here or work with internal recovery experiments. Most DRaaS providers will set up a space for you to test your systems, which can show you how reliable and efficient they are.

Accessibility

You will need to be aware of how to access any internal applications in the event of a crisis. Make sure you understand every step a customer or worker will need to take in order to access a remote server. That is if there are any changes at all.

Security

Ensuring user identity and the security of data as they transport it between the on-site environment and the backup cloud facility is a vital part of the process.

If they do not protect the data from leaks and cyberattacks throughout the transition, then the entire purpose is void. A good service provider must be able to ensure absolute digital security.

A Help Centre

Finally, choosing and implementing DRaaS solutions may be challenging, especially if a business is in the midst of a disaster. In cases like these, you need to be able to go to your service provider for top-tier customer support.

This should include 24/7 engineering support, as well as prompt customer service to handle questions or emergencies. Support that is slow to respond or untrained to handle critical situations cannot meet the real-time demands of a busy organization.

The Benefits of a Good DRaaS

The main value proposition of any disaster recovery option is that it can get your infrastructure and data up and running and accessible again. However, it’s important to note that a good DRaaS system has a much higher value add for your business.

Cost-Effective

The cost of a DRaaS system is mostly determined by the number of virtual servers you’ll be running in the cloud, as well as the amount of storage you’ll need for your data. Still, this is likely to only be a fraction of the cost of establishing and maintaining a new or existing IT infrastructure in-house.

This makes DRaaS an especially appealing option for smaller businesses that have limited IT budgets. While this is inherently a premium service, compared to the cost implications a catastrophic loss or a malicious cyberattack could have, the cost of a DRaaS becomes swiftly justified.

Adds Capacity While Reducing Overheads

By utilizing the resources of DRaaS, you can delegate a significant portion of the responsibility and cost to your supplier.

While you are still obligated to ensure your provider has the most up-to-date information about your system, you will no longer need to worry about maintaining your own recovery infrastructure. This significantly reduces overhead costs to your business and frees up resources and work capacity for other tasks and processes.

Almost No Downtime

Although an existing backup system may include a disaster recovery option with some form of recovery time objective (RTO), a good DRaaS should ensure your workforce or customers, are virtually unaffected in the case of a disaster.

Making Safety Conscious Choices

No one wants to plan for the worst, yet, when it happens, you want to be prepared. Every single business out there should think about disaster planning and finding the resources they need to get a system off the ground.

A DRaaS (Disaster Recovery as a Service) plan, regardless of what solution or model you choose, is critical for the continuity of your business.

Contact us today to make your business more secure, productive, and cost-effective.

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