Adding Value to DRaaS

The prospect of an IT outage is one of the key issues that keeps IT professionals awake at night which is just one of the reasons that Johnny Carpenter, Director of Sales EMEA, iland, is a fervent proponent of Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS). Here Carpenter explains why.

In the past two years, 93% of organisations have experienced tech-related business disruption and, as a result, 1 out of 5 experienced major reputational damage and permanent loss of customers. Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) is a mainstream use of the cloud that helps protect against outages through an infrastructure and strategy that deals with worst-case scenarios.

Carpenter says the benefits of cloud DRaaS over on-premise disaster recovery are well-documented.

“Companies don’t have to double their infrastructure investments and run parallel systems as a backup. DRaaS also offers better protection against threats such as natural disasters because there’s no physical infrastructure to protect and it is easily scalable to grow with businesses.

When choosing a CSP for DRaaS, you trust them to protect your business during the worst possible scenario. So, you need to be clear on the capabilities and the SLAs they will deliver. This includes weighing costs as part of your budget planning and reviewing regulatory and compliance factors.

With cloud services you pay only for what you consume, which is undeniably preferable to paying for on-premise systems that may never be used. Nevertheless, CSP pricing models can be complex, making it important to know the cost implications should you need to fully failover your production environment to the cloud.

Your CSP should size the user environment accurately (at iland we use a tool called Catalyst to do this) for sufficient storage and resources to avoid any nasty surprises in the event of a failover. This also ensures straightforward and transparent pricing.

In a disaster scenario, IT teams will be stretched and under pressure. It helps if the DR environment chosen is based on familiar structures and terminology. For example, many IT administrators are familiar with a VMware-based cloud product that uses the same toolsets and terminology, which reduces the learning curve to respond faster during a disaster.

It’s also important to know how much of your DR set-up will be a DIY exercise and how much support you can expect from your CSP. Will it be a concierge onboarding service, or do you need to scope extra internal resources or additional consultancy to manage set-up? Look at the support level the CSP commits to provide. Could you ask them to press the failover button if they had to? Will they assist with failing back when the time comes?

Management is another critical factor. One of the benefits of cloud DRaaS is that in-house teams don’t have a second on-premise environment to manage. The environment is replicated without adding to the team’s administrative burden. However, visibility into the DR environment is essential and needs to be simple.

Finally, you need assurance that your backup environment is compliant with industry regulations to prevent data vulnerabilities that can compromise your customers and your business. Whatever requirements your business has to meet – HIPAA, GDPR etc – your DRaaS provider needs to guarantee compliance as well.”

Testing DR Plans

Carpenters says that DRaaS solutions should provide facilities to test DR plans without impacting the production environment.

“Incredibly, many organisations are still reluctant or even afraid to test their DR plans.

With cloud DRaaS, teams can run recovery tests in replica environments in a short time, generating a full report to detail the performance of every part of the DR plan and recovery orchestration. This gives full visibility into whether or not a business can come back online during a disaster and the order in which applications will recover. Testing in this manner is much more effective than annual testing of on-premise systems.”

Ed Says…

Beyond its primary purpose of disaster recovery, businesses can double down on their DRaaS investment with a replica virtual environment to support on-demand security testing, system upgrades, patch testing and user acceptance testing without disrupting their production environments.

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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine