Ask yourself these questions – If your data center crashed at this moment (for any reason)…
- How would your company recover?
- Who would you call to recover your data and resume operations?
- How would you keep the doors open?
- How much data would you lose?
Be honest with your answers – your business depends on it. If your answer is “I don’t know”, it’s time to worry because you haven’t assessed the potential damage nor ways to mitigate them. It’s worse to have NOT assessed your disaster recovery risk than to have assessed it and found your plans to be lacking. In the latter scenario, at least you have some level of awareness and a minimum understanding of your risks.
Maybe you think an IT disaster won’t happen to you. Perhaps your data center resides in a geographic region where there are no hurricanes, minimal chances for flooding and the worst thing that mother nature throws your way is the occasional snow storm. I suggest you think again.
Consider these statistics:
- In the 2017 Disaster Recovery Journal / Forrester State of Disaster Recovery Preparedness report, 22% of organizations surveyed had declared a disaster during the last 5 years
- The top cause of declared disasters were Hardware, Software and Network failures (35.5%) followed by power failures (19.4%). Cyber Attacks caused 12.9% of declared disasters.
- Floods represented 16.1% of declared disasters – those were not nature-made floods. Those were burst pipes, spilled liquids and other internal water damage.
When evaluating your organization’s need for disaster recovery, figure out what your recovery time objective (RTO) needs to be. Evaluate how much downtime your reputation can afford, how much your budget (i.e., lost revenue, potential fees, etc.) can afford, and the probability of downtime. And, then, do an honest evaluation of your gaps in performance versus expectations.
Most organizations find it prohibitively expensive to build their own disaster recovery failover site. To build one requires a secondary site that is geographically far enough away from your primary site as to be on a different power grid and unlikely to be impacted by the same natural disasters (weather, earthquake, etc.). That secondary site requires redundant power, redundant data carriers, and redundant equipment. All that can add up to an unaffordable amount of investment.
A viable, and often superior, alternative is Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). DRaaS is:
- Replication and hosting of physical or virtual servers by a 3rd party
- A failover site in the event of a catastrophe at your primary data center
- Supplies both your data and applications so they can be quickly used by your employees and customers
DRaaS is useful for organizations:
- lacking expertise to provision, configure and test an effective disaster recovery plan
- who cannot, or are unwilling to, invest in and maintain an off-site DR environment
- with critical applications that must return to normal operation quickly
- that cannot wait for hardware and/or data shipments to restore operations
Be careful not to confuse disaster recovery with data backup. Data backup only protects your data. It does not provide the resources for the applications using that data to run. Likewise, Backup as a Service (BaaS) is different from Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). BaaS providers are responsible ONLY for data consistency and restoration. DRaaS providers are responsible for maintaining an environment in which a customer can run its operations until its on-premises environment has been repaired.
CloudSAFE has pulled together important information from industry experts to help you evaluate your DRaaS options. Download this infographic for tips on DRaaS Must-Haves, Essential Steps of Disaster Recovery Planning, Risk Classifications, and 22 points to use when evaluating potential DRaaS providers.
We’ll leave you with this very important step which should NEVER be skipped, even when using a DRaaS provider – TEST, TEST, TEST. Best practice calls for testing and adjusting DR plans at least once per year. These tests should include stakeholders from key business functions and departments so they can test the restored system and ensure it works the way they need it to. And, lastly, any failures and oversights that occur during testing should be carefully documented and used to adjust the DR plan and the next iteration of testing.
Image courtesy of Shutterstock / master_art
CloudSAFE offers Disaster Recovery as a Service. To learn more about our offering, check out our DRaaS solution page.