Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), like its cousin Backup as a Service (BaaS), provides technology to ensure business continuity, a target site and infrastructure, and the management of the process that it takes to ensure its success—all delivered to you as a service. The key for DRaaS is that the target site and infrastructure are in the cloud, rather than in a on-premises datacenter as a traditional DR solution might usually entail. The management is provided by a team of professionals who live and breathe DR and backups, which allows your IT staff to reallocate valuable time to business projects of greater daily importance.
What Is DRaaS vs. DR?
There are some key elements that make DRaaS distinct from its cousin, Backup as a Service (BaaS), and indeed both are distinct from their non-cloud counterparts. Read about this in the blog post on the topic, “BaaS vs. DRaaS: 3 Key Differences to Know.” In comparison to traditional approaches to DR and backups, the “as a Service” offerings usually include an element of cloud involved in the service.
Traditional approaches to DR historically were on-premises solutions that sent operations to another physical site. With a keen eye on regional weather events, these plans tended to leave out many of the threats surfacing in the modern age, such as cyber-attacks like ransomware and the speed to which customers were now expecting a full recovery. And the management complexities for DR have only ever grown as technology innovations have evolved and become more intricate.
With DRaaS, experts offer a managed service targeting recovery to a separate environment in a geographically different area either across the nation or globe, accommodating a new set of threats as they emerge. It’s a solution delivered in a subscription-based consumption model, which allows businesses to shift away from Capex models to more Opex for IT operations.
How Does the Cloud Make a Difference?
Whether you are targeting failover to the AWS or Azure clouds, DRaaS to the cloud provides additional flexibility after failover when sending the workloads to new environments, whether that’s facilitation back to the original location or to a new one. It also allows for reduced costs since you are not paying for hardware or resources you are not actively using.
The target of your replication or backup must be a cloud for it to be DRaaS, whether that cloud be a hyperscale cloud like AWS or Azure or a smaller hosted cloud environment in a vendor’s datacenter, such as InterVision’s. Budgeting for DR thus becomes easier because DRaaS is based on a consumption model of paying for what you use, along with on-demand elasticity to expand and contract as needed, all while remaining accessible for role-based access via the internet.
The other component that makes DRaaS distinct is that it is as-a-Service, usually delivered in three tiers: Self-Service, Partially Managed, and Fully Managed. These three areas vary by the selected DRaaS provider, since not all offer all three types. But this is where the most value of DRaaS comes into play. It is provided to you as a packaged service with SLAs and guarantees. You don’t need to manage the storage, the replication, or the connectivity—and if you use a fully managed model, even testing and iteration is covered on your behalf.
The SLA Factor
Many organizations who haven’t tested their existing DR plans at least once a year won’t have any reassurance whether they can feasibly recover from an actual event. Every six months should be the standard, not the exception. Here’s where a DRaaS provider can be of additional assistance. Many providers will not only assist in DR testing, but they will also offer guarantees of a successful test as well as strong service level agreements (SLAs) to back up their DR capabilities. This assurance alone is a priceless aspect to a CIO being pressured to provide proof of recoverability to a concerned board room.
In addition to SLAs, which include the RTO and RPO aspects of any reliable recovery plan, is the time that as-a-Service gives back to your IT team members to focus on the projects that are most meaningful to them and the rest of the business. This frees up time for competitive innovation, which can disrupt your market landscape rather than just keep up in it.
Strength Against Ransomware
With so many ransomware events in the news lately, it’s important to acknowledge that having a two-pronged approach to cybersecurity is the answer to the long-term resiliency of any business. The first prong contains all activities and tools that a business uses to prevent a cyber event. On the second prong is everything a business does to prepare for recovery if the first prong fails. It’s essential that both prongs receive equal attention.
DRaaS falls into the second prong, as it enables fast recovery from a cyber event, including ransomware. When paired with its slower, data preservation-focused cousin, BaaS; DRaaS can offer speed of recovery for portions of the IT ecosystem that haven’t yet been affected by malware. Read more about how DRaaS can help during a ransomware incident, as well as the steps we recommend taking, in our white paper, “Resolving Ransomware Incidents with DRaaS.”
Reliability Is the End Goal
In the end, a good resiliency plan should provide confidence in the continuity of your business no matter the disruption type. This planning takes dialogue with the rest of the business and all stakeholders to be sure nothing falls out of purview. If you are searching for solutions to strengthen your company’s IT stance, a good first step is to talk with a trusted peer about what they are doing, what pros and cons they’ve learned from that solution, and get their recommendations for third-party vendors to check out. Then reach out to those vendors to do a comparison of expertise, benefits, and results. But perhaps most importantly, you must have a conversation with the leadership of your business. After all, disaster recovery is a business decision, not an IT decision alone.
Read an earlier part of this blog series here: “DRaaS as a First Step for AWS Cloud Migration“