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Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)

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By: Nihad Hassan

March 26, 2021

As the world moves steadily to adopt digital technologies in all aspects of life, most data in the world are now created digital and never go to papers. Nowadays’, organizations rely on documents, files, databases, applications, and data to function. If a business loses access to its data, it cannot continue operating. Data is now considered the blood of organizations; they cannot continue to work without it.

We live in an unpredictable world where no one can project when a disaster could strike. For instance, organizations buy insurance to secure their infrastructures if a natural disaster, such as earthquakes, occurs. However, what if a catastrophe affected their business data? How can organizations recover from such incidents and continue their daily operations? As we all know, purchasing insurance will not compensate for your business data if it gets lost or damaged in a cyberattack.

Disaster recovery as a Service (DRaaS) is a cloud computing model which allows an organization to shift its data and IT infrastructure into a third-party cloud provider in case a disaster occurs. DRaaS allows the affected organization to return to work very quickly and sometimes instantly after a disaster.

Disaster recovery planning becomes an essential part of an organization’s business continuity plan. Numerous incidents can affect an organization’s IT systems, such as:

  1. Natural disasters, such as floods, storms, hurricanes, thunderstorms, fires, or earthquakes.
  2. Hardware failure caused by power outages.
  3. Human errors.
  4. File corruption.
  5. Cyberattacks such as Ransomware or other malware types.

The cost of downtime can have severe financial and reputation consequences on victim organizations. According to Gartner, downtime costs $5,600 per minute on average, based on many industry surveys. This sums up the average costs between $140,000 and $540,000 per hour, depending on the affected organization.

The DRaaS service model focuses on compensating for the damaged services and equipment quickly, resulting in minimal downtime and reducing losses to a minimum. For example, suppose your data center is affected by an earthquake in Los Angeles. In that case, your DRaaS provider may mirror your data and IT infrastructure to servers located in New York which has not suffered from a similar disaster.

How Does DRaaS Work?

DRaaS works by mirroring the real business data, applications, and IT infrastructure into a third-party cloud-based recovery infrastructure. There are different DRaaS service models available for client organizations to utilize; the most common is using DRaaS on a subscription basis (e.g., monthly, yearly) or pay-per-use.

The pay-per-use payment model requires some clarification. For instance, a client organization may not suffer from a disaster for months and even years; nevertheless, it must continue to pay fees for using the DRaaS service for the following reason. When purchasing a DRaaS plan, the DRaaS provider must replicate the client organization’s data to instantly recover IT infrastructure if the client organization suffers from a disaster. DRaaS providers price their pay-per-use service model according to the type of services that they must recover instantly. The following items are considered in the pay-per-use pricing:

  1. Replicating data storage costs.
  2. The software licensing costs of the disaster recovery programs.
  3. IT infrastructure costs.
  4. Bandwidth costs.

DRaaS providers will commonly charge for only the IT software license and data storage costs. If no disaster occurs, they will add IT infrastructure and bandwidth costs if a disaster happens. Other DRaaS providers will charge for the full recovery costs, whether the clients use the service or not.

If a disaster happens, the entire business operations and end-user access are shifted into the DRaaS environment (commonly based on virtualization technology) until the original infrastructure is available again.

DRaaS Benefits

The following benefits can be acquired from using DRaaS.

Reduce disaster recovery costs

The amount of money you need to spend when utilizing a DRaaS service is far less than using on-premises IT infrastructure to replicate your operation in case of a disaster. For instance, on-premise disaster recovery sites require mirroring your current IT infrastructure with all the costs of purchasing new equipment and maintaining it over time.

Remove disaster recovery plan overhead

By utilizing a DRaaS, the provider will become responsible for all your recovery and business continuity tasks. You are not required to maintain the DR physical infrastructure or worry about having a DR expert handle the operation if a disaster occurs.

Fast recovery time

DRaaS providers offer instant recovery and prevent interrupting business operations. It has a faster recovery time than traditional backup solutions that need hours to recover from backup and reinitiate operations again.

Useful as a second backup

Some mission-critical applications may need more than one DR solution. For example, an organization running mission-critical applications may utilize two DR plans for this specific application, one in-house and the second via a DRaaS provider.

Summary

Disaster recovery becomes an integral part of any organization’s strategy to assure the continuity of its IT operations in a disaster. This article shed light on the DRaaS concept and demonstrates its benefits compared with traditional in-house backup solutions.

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