There are all kinds of cloud services that benefit your business: storage, email, databases, and many more specialized application services that your business can leverage to reduce costs and increase competitiveness. But the most important cloud service for your business may be disaster recovery. Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) isn't a way to enhance your business; it's a way to save your business when disaster strikes.
Don't Confuse DRaaS With Cloud Backup
DRaaS offers a level of functionality that goes beyond what you can achieve by simply backing up to the cloud. Backups only deliver their value when you can use them to run your business applications. This means you need to bring up servers in the correct sequence, restore the latest data, take steps to correct any inconsistencies, and switch over your operations.
Without DRaaS, those steps are manual, time-consuming, and error-prone, particularly since they're rarely executed and when they are, the atmosphere is one of crisis. What DRaaS offers is a way to standardize and automate the recovery in the cloud so it happens smoothly, efficiently, and automatically, making the process both streamlined and routine.
DRaaS offers significant advantages compared to other disaster recovery solutions. Besides the speed and reliability, there are cost benefits. With DRaaS, there's no need to buy a roomful of standby equipment that's idle almost all of the time. The capacity is available in the cloud on demand, and paid for only when it's in use.
Because there's no secondary site to maintain, there's less ongoing support and maintenance required; system administrators don't spend time patching and updating the DR servers. This means the support team has more time to focus on supporting the production application servers.
Don't Confuse DRaaS for a Disaster Recovery Plan
While DRaaS offers a streamlined approach to disaster recovery, don't mistake DRaaS for a complete disaster recovery plan, either. Your business still needs a full disaster recovery plan that spells out how you will react to the crisis, from identifying the need to failover to the cloud, to the steps involved to bring up systems, and notifying business users of any change in how they access their applications or limitations in the functionality they can use until normal operations resume.
The complexity of disaster recovery planning is one reason that many businesses now rely on DRaaS. In addition to simplifying the execution of a DR plan, it provides a resource with the expertise to help your business develop a DR plan. The DRaaS vendor can help you ensure that your plan fully addresses your need to effectively provision and bring online DR servers.
Choose a DRaaS Provider Offering the Support and Services You Need
Because DRaaS is such an important service, choose your provider carefully. Make sure they have flexible solutions that offer the features you need, including industry-specific compliance certification. Understand how much of the DR process is automated, and what's involved in setting up and testing the automation. Be sure to choose a vendor who'll be there to support you; executing a DR plan means you're in crisis, and you want a service provider who'll assist you in making full recovery.
Disaster recovery planning is challenging but necessary to ensure you'll know how to react when things go wrong. Learn more about what you need to do to respond to disaster and how DRaaS can be part of your plan in our Guide to Disaster Recovery as a Service.