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Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) products have surged in popularity as enterprise corporations increasingly migrate to cloud solutions for data centre management. Where many in-house corporate data centres previously relied on a combination of off-site strategies using tape drives to store file, code, and database archives, cloud solutions have now become normal in the industry for disaster recovery. Cloud DRaaS products rely on third-party software and/or hardware to schedule, store, and manage required backup files. By adopting “Zero Trust” policies, Software-Defined Networking (SDN), and using data encryption across the platform ecosystem, even the most sensitive information can be securely managed by DRaaS solutions that are integrated into data centre management for enterprise organisations, government agencies, and other groups that require continuity-of-service planning for operations.

What is DRaaS?

Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) is a solution offered by DRaaS providers to help businesses protect their data in case of unexpected events like equipment failures, natural disasters, or cyberattacks. With DRaaS, organisations can securely back up their data to a private cloud or a remote disaster recovery site provided by the service provider. This service ensures that in the event of a disaster, companies can quickly recover their critical data and applications, minimising downtime and data loss.

One of the key advantages of DRaaS is that it offers a self-service approach, allowing businesses to manage their own disaster recovery processes. DRaaS providers typically offer various options and service levels, including managed DRaaS for those who prefer a more hands-off approach. This flexibility helps organisations meet their recovery time objectives and ensures that they can continue their operations even when disaster strikes.

DRaaS is a valuable solution for businesses looking to safeguard their data and ensure business continuity in the face of equipment failures, earthquakes, or other unforeseen disasters. It's provided by DRaaS providers and offers options for both self-service and managed DRaaS, making it a versatile and reliable disaster recovery solution.

Advantages of Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)

Disaster Recovery (DR) serves as an essential safeguard for enterprise IT assets, shielding stored data and critical business information in the face of emergencies or natural disasters. These unforeseen events, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, fires, cyber-attacks, or human errors, can lead to significant data loss and potentially catastrophic consequences for businesses. Studies reveal that nearly half of companies without a data recovery plan face the risk of going out of business after suffering critical data loss.

It has been reported that almost half of companies that don't have a data recovery plan will go out of business in the aftermath of critical data loss. The DRaaS model, short for Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service, offers substantial benefits by relieving businesses of the burdensome costs associated with in-house software development, hardware provisioning, data center management, web security, and server maintenance. These solutions play a vital role in ensuring the continuity of data centre operations, especially considering the inherent risk that any hardware or software can encounter critical failures over time.

Using DRaaS brings considerable advantages to growing enterprises. It frees up valuable resources that can be allocated to other essential needs while providing access to industry-standard tools for service continuity. DRaaS solutions seamlessly integrate with version control, automated testing, and sandbox tools for managing the software development lifecycle. Real-time monitoring and scheduled backups of database files and code enhance platform security for uninterrupted production operations.

Effective disaster recovery plans must consider the utilisation of multiple data centres for archival purposes to safeguard against facility damage caused by natural disasters. Most public cloud hosts offer access to multiple international data centre locations across continents, ensuring high availability (HA) and business continuity in the event of a disaster striking.

What is disaster recovery?

With the rising frequency of man-made and natural disasters, coupled with our reliance on information technology, having a disaster recovery plan for your business is essential. So, what is a disaster recovery plan in information technology? At its core, disaster recovery is a set of policies and procedures that safeguard your business data and applications.

A disaster recovery plan describes scenarios for resuming work quickly and reducing interruptions following a disaster. It's part of data centre security and is developed in conjunction with a business continuity plan. A disaster recovery plan provides careful infrastructure monitoring so that a company's network, applications, and users don't experience any downtime.

Mapping disaster recovery involves planning for different levels of failure and the corresponding solutions for data centre failover support. One primary approach is to utilise multiple public and private cloud facilities with international data centre locations, like AWS, to ensure operational continuity even if one facility encounters issues. However, this can be costly and necessitates effective cost management.

Disaster recovery strategies differ for various scenarios, including complete data centre failovers, single server failures, and offsite backup for files, databases, and code. It is advisable to configure data centre applications with self-managed or cloud-based Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) for backup purposes. Managing total data centre operations separately enhances dual support planning.

DRaaS solution is available for application layers, databases, and web servers. These utilities support service continuity, version control, and High-Availability (HA) requirements. It's essential to recognize operating system backups, as they are a critical component of your disaster recovery plan.

DRaaS or a “bring your own licence” solution is required across multiple layers of a public cloud data centre for complex software operations to avoid data loss in the instance of critical failure at any level of runtime or billed on a “pay as you go” plan.

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Why disaster recovery benefits growing enterprises

For most business owners, disaster recovery serves as a practical safeguard to ensure that vital resources like software, customer records, and historical data remain intact even in the event of hardware failures in data centre operations.

Data centre standards mandate automatic mirroring of storage files using Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) drives, ensuring multiple backup copies are always available in case of single unit failures. These RAID drives play a vital role in business data backup services. Most other levels of data centre hardware operate on the same principle through tiered layers of protection.

Whether through managed Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) solutions, cloud services, or cloud storage, disaster recovery plans play a critical role in maintaining the resilience of growing enterprises. Aside from offering peace of mind, an active disaster recovery plan provides multiple practical advantages for intricate business operations. These include:
  • Cost-efficiency

    A complete disaster recovery plan has multiple components, including a DRaaS solution tailored to your needs. It should also define a clear Recovery Time Objective (RTO) to ensure minimal downtime. This plan includes actions to prevent issues, detect potential problems like equipment failures, and correct them. Managed DRaaS solutions, virtual servers, and a cloud-based computing service model are key components. DRaaS services offer scalable storage resources, making disaster recovery planning cost-effective.

  • Employee responsibility

    A disaster recovery plan is only as strong as the people who execute it. Assigning employees with the responsibility of taking part in a disaster recovery process will give them more investment in the company. Likewise, when specific roles and responsibilities are assigned, employee productivity and effectiveness will increase. As a result, your business will incur less downtime. Effective training programs for data centre security that alert employees to social engineering attacks can also be implemented through human resources.

  • Elastic scalability

    Technologies like cloud-based storage simplify the process of archive maintenance, enhance the effectiveness of backups, and reduce the cost of disaster recovery. Cloud models are easily scalable, meaning you can increase or reduce your data storage capacity as needed. Scalability matters for disaster recovery as there’s increased flexibility to replicate data and add new hardware through virtualisation. Data centre automation increases network management complexity and helps to reduce costs through more efficient allocation of Enterprise IT resources.

Challenges of disaster recovery

While new technology has made disaster recovery solutions easier to implement and oversee, many businesses are still unsure about what to do in a disaster recovery scenario. Generally, businesses lack a proper disaster recovery plan, either through the absence of one, or the inadequacy of an existing plan and disaster recovery toolkit.

  • Natural disaster planning: Disasters can and do happen, particularly if you’re in an earthquake or storm-prone area, so you need to be prepared for it.
  • Social Engineering Attacks: Human error in cyber-attacks is also extremely common and can threaten your business’ important data and applications.
  • Ransomware: One of the top attack vectors, yet many disaster recovery teams don’t have an understanding of ransomware.
  • Encryption of Archives: A complex, multi-cloud data centre needs to ensure file encryption across transmission of backup copies to off-site storage facilities.

Another challenge of disaster recovery is that a lot of disaster recovery teams aren’t involved in compliance plans and also don’t realise that cloud data is their responsibility. It’s vital that businesses formulate a proper disaster recovery plan to protect against all types of disasters and be adequately trained in information management.

Does your business need disaster recovery?

Having a disaster recovery plan helps businesses survive major disruptions and prevent the loss of money, customers, and vital workloads. It’s advisable that all businesses have a disaster recovery plan in place to outline protocols for getting back online following a minor or major data loss while reducing the overall impact of downtime. Disaster recovery is essential for business continuity and can save time and money in the long-run. In platform security, it is recommended to do professional pen testing, chaos testing, and fuzz testing on software, databases, and data centre resources in advance. Disaster recovery should be undertaken as and additional and separate part of the data centre security protocols. This allows network administrators to take advantage of new cloud DRaaS utilities for better protection and analytics.

Help with disaster recovery planning

Most businesses require third-party development experts and consultants to implement data centre security with disaster recovery planning. Canon Business Services (formerly Harbour IT) is a market leader in cloud and managed services, with our experts willing and able to help your business implement a disaster recovery plan and toolkit. We’re professional resellers and integrators of leading DRaaS solutions for hybrid cloud and multi-cloud data centre security. Schedule a chat with one of our expert team members for a Strategic IT Review to help your business with continuity of service operations, backup planning, and data security.

Frequently asked questions

What is an example of a DRaaS?

An example of DRaaS (Disaster Recovery as a Service) is VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery, a cloud-based solution that helps businesses protect their data and virtual machines by providing a means to recover them in the event of a disaster.

What does DRaaS stand for?

DRaaS stands for "Disaster Recovery as a Service," which is a cloud-based service model provided by DRaaS providers. It enables businesses to recover their data, IT infrastructure, and operations after a disaster.

What is the difference between disaster recovery and DRaaS?

The key difference between disaster recovery and DRaaS lies in their scope. Disaster recovery refers to an organisation's overall strategy and preparations for data and operations recovery after a disaster. DRaaS, on the other hand, is a specific service that offers cloud-based solutions for disaster recovery, often including self-service options and leveraging cloud resources.

What is the difference between BaaS and DRaaS?

BaaS (Backup as a Service) primarily focuses on backing up data and is centered around data protection. DRaaS, on the other hand, encompasses a wider range of services, including data backup, but extends to recovering IT infrastructure and applications. It includes disaster recovery plans and defines recovery objectives, making it a more comprehensive solution for ensuring business continuity in the face of disasters.

What are recovery point objectives (RPO) and recovery time objective (RTO)?

Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO) are key metrics in disaster recovery planning. RPO determines the allowable data loss after a disaster, specifying the point in time to which data must be recovered. For example, an RPO of one hour means data can only be lost within the last hour before the disaster. RTO, on the other hand, sets the maximum acceptable downtime for systems or applications, indicating how quickly they must be restored after a disaster to minimise business disruptions. These metrics help organisations tailor their disaster recovery strategies to meet data loss and downtime tolerances.

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