What is Disaster Recovery as a service (DRaaS)? DRaaS is a cloud computing and backup service model that uses cloud resources to protect applications and data from disruption caused by disaster. It gives an organization a total system backup that allows for business continuity in the event of system failure.
A DRaaS provider can ensure uninterrupted performance of IT operations and mission-critical systems in the event of a disaster with a comprehensive set of disaster recovery solutions, from managed backups and colocation to Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS).
DRaaS requirements and expectations should be documented in a Service-Level Agreement (SLA), then the third-party vendor provides failover and failback to a cloud computing environment, either through a contract or on a pay-as-you-go situation.
Failover and failback operations are critical disaster recovery plan elements that provide restoration and limit damage in disaster recovery scenarios. The failover stage is the process that starts when a system failure occurs to reduce the complications and damage that happens as a result.
Failback is the restoration of your IT environment from failover back to normal operations. You need to know what your failback strategy is because failover is designed to be a temporary state and there may be time constraints in transitioning back. Not to mention that, in many cases, only mission-critical functions are online in the failover environment.
Advantages of DRaaS
When it comes to your Disaster Recovery as a Service, the major advantage is the reduced time it takes to return applications to production. DRaaS can be especially useful for small and medium-sized businesses that lack the necessary expertise to provision, configure and test an effective disaster recovery plan.
Another major advantage to any company using Disaster Recovery as a Service is that you do not need to invest money and resources into owning and maintaining an off-site disaster recovery environment. DRaaS has provided companies many other advantages including:
- Security: Security in DRaaS is commonly misunderstood, so choose your provider wisely. For example, it is important to ensure that the provider is compliant with all the major regulatory bodies, including ISO 20000-1, ISO 27001, SOC 1, SOC 2 and SOC 3, HIPAA, HITRUST, and PCI DSS. In addition to making sure the data center facility itself is physically secure, you should also verify that your data is encrypted in-flight and at rest. DRaaS providers should implement automatic systems to monitor the well-being of your data. They should also be able to provide you with regular reports for any specified period.
- Less Resources Used: Virtual DRaaS uses scalable infrastructure and allows virtual access of assets with little or no hardware and software costs. As a result, you should see cost savings in software licenses and hardware. Organizations that have a DRaaS provider do not have to worry about backup servers, as the provider will be supported by a 100 percent redundant world-class data center facility.
- 100 Percent Uptime: Your business can never be sure when a disaster might occur. If one does, how much downtime is acceptable? Every second the power is out or your servers fail, means huge financial and reputational losses for your organization. With a DRaaS solution in place, you do not have to worry about this. With LightEdge as your DRaaS provider, we have uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) and backup diesel generators. We are also equipped with multiple power feeds that provides a redundant loop connectivity to ensure 100 percent uptime.
- Flexibility: Compared to other traditional methods of backup, DRaaS provides more flexibility for your organization. Any enterprise using DRaaS solutions can select from a variety of recovery services, depending on their specific business need. These can include workplace recovery, managed storage, data protection, and others.
- Support: Your DRaaS provider should be there 24/7/365. No matter what, they should have a live technician ready to answer questions or provide technical support – no exceptions. LightEdge’s facilities have 24/7/365 access to our Network Operations Center (NOC) technicians that provide onsite support with the highest levels of security and reliability. Our business continuity services are available when you need it most.
Disadvantages of DRaaS
What could be bad about being overly prepared for any disaster? Unfortunately, the biggest disadvantage to DRaaS is selecting a provider. What if you put your trust in the wrong provider? Your organization must allow your provider to implement the plan in an event of a disaster and meet the defined recovery time and recovery point objectives.
Before selecting a DRaaS provider ensure that your SLA includes defined recovery time and recovery point objectives. Otherwise, you could experience long than expected outages. Additional drawbacks include performance issues in the cloud and migration or testing issues.
Thankfully, LightEdge helps customers rely on your applications. We deliver complete protection and seamless recovery of mission-critical applications across multiple servers and storage. In addition, our customers can test without disruption. We validate and maintain an effective business continuity/disaster recovery plan with anytime, anywhere testing that will not interrupt production IT systems or operations.
What’s the Difference Between DRaaS and Backup as a Services (BaaS)?
Is there a difference between DRaaS and BaaS? Yes. A BIG difference. DRaaS has failover processing to the cloud, so your organization can continue to operate in the event of an outage or disaster. DRaaS remains in operation until IT repairs the environment and issue a failback order.
With Backup as a Service, your organization has to decide on which files you want to back up to a BaaS provider’s storage system. You are also responsible for setting up recovery time and recovery point objectives, as well as backup windows. The elements that a BaaS provider is responsible for is only data consistency and restoring backed up copies of data.
Consider this: 93 percent of companies that lose their computer systems for 10 days or more due to a disaster file for bankruptcy within one year of the disaster, according to the U.S. National Archives & Records Administration. In most cases BaaS, is not good enough and DRaaS is essential.
Who is Best Suited for a BaaS Solution?
This model is best for smaller businesses that use simple networks and infrastructures. BaaS solutions often cost less than other solutions, making it a go-to for businesses who require low maintenance options. As for your responsibility, backups require you to determine what data requires backing up and what data doesn’t.
Choose BaaS if…
- You can easily reassemble your infrastructure in case of disaster
- Access to data is not required frequently
- Longer periods of downtime and outages will not disrupt your daily activity
- You have a disaster recovery specialist in-house
- You need a cost-effective solution
Who is Best Suited for a DRaaS Solution?
DRaaS providers restore the backup as a whole, often restoring the infrastructure immediately including your databases, files, applications, software, and other critical elements. For infrastructure that has been custom built and is difficult to maintain, DRaaS offers your own infrastructure as a backup on a replicated server. Larger businesses that depend on their data often consider DRaaS due to the cost of replicating servers and infrastructure.
Choose DRaaS if…
- Your IT infrastructure cannot be easily and quickly rebuilt
- Your data requirements are increasing
- Uninterrupted performance of IT operations and mission-critical systems is important to you
- Meeting required RTOs and RPOs is critical
How to Map Out an Effective Disaster Recovery Plan
Now that we have a clear understanding of what DRaaS is and how it differs from simple backups, let us take a closer look at the process for creating your own DR plan.
An important thing to remember is that a business continuity or disaster recovery plan is a living, breathing document. This is not a “one and done” effort or expense. As your systems, software, and personnel change, your disaster recovery documentation needs to be updated and maintained accordingly.
Creating a plan is only the first step in the process. The five primary steps of the life cycle are:
The first stage, development, starts with an in-depth analysis of current processes, data, and critical infrastructure. Then you move into the implementation phase. This will happen in a sequence that starts will backing up data regularly. The other steps will not occur until a disaster does.
Then comes the testing phase. Testing is critical to ensure that data and systems can be restored during an emergency. Be sure to test at least annually. As changes like updating systems or adding personnel or new software take place, you should evaluate your plan’s effectiveness and make sure the plan reflects the changes. Quarterly assessments are recommended at a minimum.
Maintenance is key to ensuring that all necessary information is up to date. If your plan doesn’t reflect changes that have occurred to your organization or your infrastructure, it will doom your recovery and continuity efforts.
The two most essential questions to answer in the immediate aftermath of a disastrous event are:
- Who is responsible for what?
- How do we get ahold of all essential parties?
Contact information for all employees and providers essential to DR needs to be kept up to date and readily accessible. Also, each team and their roles in the event of an emergency must be clearly outlined, along with any key points of escalation.
Application Dependencies and Prioritization
Detailing which applications interact with others is essential to the plan. You should list the application you need to restart first, identify the apps that are mission-critical and those you can delay restarting, as well as, the level of priority to recover each.
RTO and RPO
Your backup/replication strategy and schedule will determine how recent the data you are restoring will be. You want to make sure the latest backup is not older than the Recovery Point Objective (RPO) you have set. Think about the potential re-work required when you determine yours. It will be different for every business and sometimes different for individual applications.
How Can LightEdge’s DRaaS Solutions Help Your Business?
Without a business continuity or disaster recovery plan in place, you are risking mission-critical systems, applications, and irreplaceable data. Aside from the threat of natural disasters, common mishaps like equipment failure can put a halt to operations and damage your reputation. Now that modern IT practices have started to blend physical with virtual, and cloud with on-premises, safeguarding your applications and data requires several tools and methods.
LightEdge is committed to keeping our customers’ IT operations, critical applications, and data protected. We provide the technology and resources our customers require to get back to a production state that meets their RTO and RPO requirements.
Maintain continuous operations with disaster recovery solutions deployed from LightEdge’s state-of-the-art data centers in geographically stable locations, on separate power grids. Gain cost-effective disaster recovery with flexible solutions that address your specific IT infrastructure requirements and scale according to your evolving business needs.
The reliable availability of business IT is essential to the management and livelihood of every company, large or small. All elements hinge on the dependability of your technology to deliver vital information right when you need it.
Redundancy is built into each of our data centers located in Des Moines, Kansas City, Omaha, Austin and Raleigh facilities. Each of our LightEdge facilities strive to deliver more than traditional data centers. We have created true Hybrid Solution Centers designed to offer a complete portfolio of high speed, secure, redundant, local cloud services and managed gateways to public clouds through our hardened facilities.
Want to learn more about LightEdge’s disaster recovery and business continuity services? Contact one of our disaster recovery experts to get started or to schedule your private tour of any of our data center facilities. We have disaster recovery, colocation, and business continuity experts standing by to answer any of your questions.
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