How Does Disaster Recovery As A Service (DRaaS) Work To Mitigate Risk?
Blunders will happen in the workplace whether it’s hardware/software, power failure, natural disasters or simply user error. In fact, human error accounts for 88% of security breaches. Any accidental click can cause chaos for a business. Even the most cautious person can make the mistake and place important information at risk.
This is why having a sound disaster recovery plan in place with secure data backups will come in handy when these incidents happen. In the event of a disaster, it’s vital that your business is able to get back to work as quickly as possible. An important part of this is ensuring that your business can access its data and IT infrastructure even if your on-site servers or hardware go offline – which is where disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) comes in.
DRaaS allows your business to mitigate the risk of various disasters taking your business offline by replicating your IT infrastructure on remote servers in a detached location. This makes it an ideal solution for businesses without the resources or expertise to host their own disaster recovery solutions.
What Is DRaaS?
DRaaS is a disaster recovery solution where some or all of your disaster recovery is handled by a third-party service provider. Primarily, this involves the DRaaS provider hosting a backup of your organisation’s data and IT infrastructure within an external cloud environment.
The basic premise is that should a disaster such as hardware failure, physical damage (such as in the event of a fire), or a cyberattack takes your IT infrastructure offline, your business can immediately resume operations via the DRaaS provider’s systems. These systems include cloud backups of your entire IT infrastructure and applications, along with virtual machines and computational power to enable normal operations to resume without on-premise resources.
This reduces operational downtime to minimise the cost to your business of a disaster and also eliminates the need to create your own off-premises disaster recovery systems.
How Does DRaaS Work?
DRaaS solutions work by replicating your organisation’s data, applications, and IT infrastructure on remote servers hosted within a third-party facility, rather than on on-premise servers or remote servers owned and operated by your organisation. In the event of a disaster, these servers can provide access to a virtual, cloud-hosting replication of your vital infrastructure.
Since these servers are remote, and because most DRaaS providers have a globally distributed architecture, they are unlikely to be affected even by large-scale disasters which take down your on-site functionality. As a result, they guarantee that your business can quickly and efficiently resume operations even in the case of a complete on-site shutdown.
As with most as-a-service solutions, DRaaS providers usually offer either a subscription or pay-per-use model. Both of these options represent a low-cost alternative to installing, maintaining, and testing your own disaster recovery solutions.
DRaaS Operating Models
There are three main models of DRaaS: managed, assisted, and self-service. Each one has its own benefits and use cases.
Managed DRaaS models typically entail the provider taking complete responsibility for disaster recovery. The provider will work closely with its client to keep infrastructure, applications, and service changes up to date, ensuring the virtual backup they host is ready whenever it’s needed. This model works best for companies without the internal resources or expertise to manage disaster recovery themselves.
Assisted DRaaS is a middle ground approach where the client retains control over specific aspects of disaster recovery, but the provider offers their own services, expertise, resources, and hardware to support and augment these plans. This is ideal for organisations that have unique needs that may be challenging for a third party to manage, but that still need additional support and resources to implement effective disaster recovery.
Finally, self-service DRaaS involves the client taking full responsibility for planning, testing, and managing their disaster recovery procedures. In this model, the DRaaS provider simply provides resources such as backup management software and the remote servers required to host backups and virtual machines. This allows organisations to retain complete control over their disaster recovery procedures whilst outsourcing hardware costs and requirements.
How DRaaS Mitigates Risk
DRaaS mitigates risk in several ways. First and foremost, it reduces the risk (and impact) of operational downtime as a result of any disaster that might take your on-premise IT infrastructure offline.
If your business is hit by a cyberattack, hardware failure, or even a natural disaster that takes out on-site resources, DRaaS allows you to quickly access a virtual backup of your infrastructure via the cloud. This eliminates the risk of lengthy and costly business downtime.
Secondly, it mitigates the risk of data loss as a result of any of the aforementioned disasters. With DRaaS, your entire infrastructure can be regularly and automatically backed up to a remote server, protecting vital data, applications, and other digital resources from being lost during a disaster.
Another way that DRaaS mitigates risk is by providing greater geographical distribution to your disaster recovery systems. Off-site disaster recovery systems for smaller businesses may be limited to the same city, region, or state due to budgetary or practical constraints.
This runs the risk of your disaster recovery systems being taken offline by the same geographical disasters that take your primary infrastructure out of action. DRaaS providers, meanwhile, usually operate multiple sites around the world and within highly secure and disaster resistant facilities, meaning that there’s much less risk of your primary architecture and disaster recovery systems being taken out by the same disaster.
Finally, DRaaS eliminates the risk of investing too much of your own time and resources into a disaster recovery system that you might never use. While there are advantages to setting up your own disaster recovery systems, they can represent a huge cost to your business, and if they’re never used, it can be easy to see them as a wasted investment.
With DRaaS, on the other hand, you can receive in many cases a better result in the event of a disaster at a much-reduced cost. Either by paying a subscription fee or only paying for disaster recovery when you actually use it, your business can reduce its disaster recovery spending significantly, and avoid the risk of investing too much into systems you won’t necessarily use.
Other Advantages Of DRaaS
Beyond the mitigation of risk, DRaaS offers a variety of other benefits. First, it’s a highly scalable option. Installing and maintaining your own disaster recovery systems comes at a significant cost and requires a good deal of planning, especially when it comes time to scale it up with your business.
With DraaS, you can quickly and easily upgrade and expand your disaster recovery systems simply by requesting greater coverage from your provider. This comes at a fraction of the cost, since you’re paying for access to pre-available infrastructure rather than building it from scratch.
DRaaS also has advantages when it comes to compliance. Rather than having to ensure your disaster recovery systems meet compliance and regulatory frameworks yourself, you can simply choose a provider that has already taken all of these into consideration. DRaaS therefore allows you to show regulators that you’ve put effective disaster recovery protocols in place without having to expend time and resources developing, testing and maintaining them yourself.
Finally, DRaaS is in many cases much more cost-efficient than handling disaster recovery in-house. The subscription and pay-per-use models commonly used by DRaaS providers are usually far cheaper than the cost of building your own solutions on-site. As well as cutting down on installation and maintenance costs, your business can also reduce its spending on IT personnel by using DRaaS solutions.
DRaaS solutions offer an effective means of mitigating risk for businesses in a number of ways. While it may be tempting to create your own in-house disaster recovery systems in order to maintain more control over how they operate, DRaaS can often end up being the smarter choice by providing cost-efficient, decentralised disaster recovery systems on-demand.