What Is Disaster Recovery as a Service? An Ultimate Guide to DRaaS Solutions

In times when information is becoming the most valuable currency, data backup and recovery are essential for operational continuity. That’s why more and more companies are investing in Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) – a cloud computing solution that protects them from losing IT infrastructure functionality in case of any power outages, equipment failure, cyberattacks, or natural disasters. How does this model work? And how to choose one for your business? Read on to learn all about DRaaS, including its main types, capabilities, and benefits.

What Is Disaster Recovery as a Service?

Disaster Recovery as a Service is a cloud computing and backup model provided by a third-party vendor to prevent data loss and IT systems disruptions. By ensuring failover, DRaaS helps companies protect their infrastructure and maintain business continuity in the event of a crisis.

The idea behind the DRaaS solutions is simple – if data is distributed in two different locations, there’s less chance it will be permanently damaged. That's why replicating an organization’s apps to a remote cloud environment of the third-party vendor helps to minimize loss and provide rapid recovery in case of a power outage (blackout) or natural disaster (flood, fire, etc). When those occur, affected systems of the first party can be swiftly restored and accessed from the cloud, allowing businesses to resume operations quickly.

Disaster Recovery as a Service solution is a vital part of disaster recovery planning that every organization and company should invest in. While we can’t completely prevent system disruptions that happen due to technical errors, cyberattacks, and many other outside factors, there’s a lot to be done to mitigate their harmful effects. Organizations may purchase DRaaS through a regular subscription or pay-per-use basis, depending on their scope, budget, and needs. Since data replication works in an as-a-service mode, the company doesn’t need its own resources to manage disaster recovery and can instead rely on the third-party provider.

Why is DRaaS Important?

The main reason why Disaster Recovery as a Service matters so much is data safety. Despite using the most state-of-the-art technology and taking significant preventative measures, all businesses will eventually encounter hardware failure, file corruption, human error, or natural power outages. And data accidents can be very expensive – according to a study conducted by Verizon, large-scale data loss can cost as much as $5 million to $15.6 million. Which means that DRaaS services can help you save up. Big time. They’re also critical for business continuity, the lack of which can lead to more financial losses, business reputation, or sometimes, even a total closedown.

How Does Disaster Recovery as a Service Work?

As mentioned before, Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service works a bit like a data repository – a DRaaS provider offers its infrastructure to the customer disaster recovery site and stores its data whenever a disaster strikes. This process is typically carried out in three primary stages:

1. Replication

The first step of DRaaS is data replication, which means copying the on-site data, apps, and systems to a secure off-site environment offered by a third-party provider. This process often happens in the cloud and involves both physical and virtual servers.

2. Failover

The second step is what happens after the disruption in the primary environment. DRaaS then automatically triggers failover to the secondary domain, ensuring critical systems and applications remain operational, which minimizes downtime. With failover, the key factor is timing – the faster the activation, the less data loss and the need for recovery.

3. Failback

The third step is failback – a process of moving the data from the DRaaS provider’s environment back to the original site. After failback completion, data replication begins again.

Disaster Recovery as a Service - Models

Companies and organizations can choose from three different models of DRaaS – each offering varying levels of flexibility, cost-effectiveness, and management options. Here’s a short rundown of these models' biggest strengths:

Assisted Disaster Recovery as a Service

Assisted DRaaS, sometimes referred to as supported DRaaS, is a model in which the organization shares responsibility with a third-party provider. While the DRaaS provider shares its expert assistance to mitigate the impact of disruptions, the customer still needs to implement some or all of the disaster recovery plans. This solution is perfect for companies that want to enhance their data protection but also like to maintain some part of responsibility in a crisis situation. This results in minimized downtime, streamlined recovery workflows, and reduced costs associated with maintaining dedicated recovery infrastructure.

Managed Disaster Recovery as a Service

Managed DRaaS is a model in which the third-party provider takes full responsibility for a company’s disaster recovery services. It involves managing and monitoring an organization's disaster recovery environment by experienced professionals – usually through replicating critical data and systems to an offsite location and continuously synchronizing changes. When a disaster strikes, the service provider takes charge of orchestrating the recovery process, ensuring minimal downtime and data loss. In this scheme, the customer is not responsible for any part of the data recovery plan – it’s a perfect solution for smaller companies that lack in-house experts and resources.

Self-service Disaster Recovery as a Service

Self-service DRaaS is a model that empowers organizations to manage their disaster recovery processes with specifically designed tools and platforms. This solution typically utilizes cloud-based infrastructure for data replication, allowing organizations to securely store and protect critical information. In the event of a disaster, users can access and activate their recovery plans independently, minimizing downtime and data loss. The self-service DRaaS model gives a company greater control and the ability to align recovery strategies with specific business requirements. It’s also the most cost-friendly, although it requires having experienced disaster recovery experts on board.

Top Benefits of DRaaS for Business Continuity

Business continuity is the bedrock of every company – that’s why each organization must have a well-planned and detailed strategy to maintain it. It’s the best way to instill confidence in stakeholders, save money, protect reputation, and ensure ongoing business sustainability. Backup and disaster recovery as a service are invaluable in this process - but how exactly does it help here?

Here are the most critical DRaaS benefits for business continuity:

  1. Reduced downtime
    Thanks to a rapid failover, the company can quickly resume normal operations, which minimizes productivity losses.
  2. Data protection and security
    DRaaS ensures the replication and protection of critical data in secure offsite locations or the cloud. This safeguards data integrity, confidentiality, and availability, protecting businesses from data loss, theft, or corruption.
  3. Cost efficiency
    Although investing in a third-party provider may be costly, it definitely pays off in the long haul. That’s because any potential downtime harms a company’s budget, and preventing it on your own is associated with maintenance, hardware, and software expenditures.
  4. Scalability and Flexibility
    DRaaS allows businesses to adjust their disaster recovery resources based on their evolving needs. It provides the flexibility to replicate and protect specific applications, systems, or data according to priority and business requirements.
  5. Testing and Validation
    DRaaS enables regular testing and validation of recovery plans without impacting production environments. This ensures that the disaster recovery strategy is effective and can be fine-tuned to address gaps or challenges.
  6. Met recovery point objectives
    Most companies set metrics like Recovery Point Objectives or Recovery Time Objectives that help them determine how long their systems can be down and how much data they can afford to lose before significantly damaging the system. Incorporating a DRaaS solution helps them meet those objectives during a crisis.

DRaaS vs. BaaS (Backup as a Service)

DRaaS services are not the only data recovery strategy a company can implement. Another popular method for protecting a company’s systems is BaaS (Backup as a Service). While both work by outsourcing the backup process to a third-party provider, they do vary on some levels.

Here are their most critical differences:

  • The type of protected data
    The most crucial difference between DRaaS and BaaS is the amount and type of protected data. BaaS is focused mainly on long-term data retention, whereas DRaaS preserves near-time data and the entire IT infrastructure, which makes it a more comprehensive option.
  • Time of data restoration
    Since DRaaS focuses on near-time data, its restoration time is much quicker. With BaaS, Recovery Point Objective and Recovery Time Objective values are usually higher, which can affect business continuity.
  • Costs
    Different scope of DRaaS vs. BaaS’s responsibility relates to their pricing. Due to DRaaS being more comprehensive and faster, it’s usually a more expensive option. It’s perfect for companies that don’t have their own infrastructure and are willing to pay more for a completely outsourced service. On the other hand, the cheaper BaaS solution may work out for the lowest recovery tier.

Types of Cloud Disaster Recovery

Disaster recovery services are more and more often based on the cloud solution. It’s a popular choice that allows organizations to recover and access their data in a timely manner. With cloud DRaaS, there’s no need for expensive on-premises disaster recovery infrastructure – this model simplifies the retrieval process with automated and faster failover and failback capabilities.

Cloud Disaster Recovery as a Service works in three different subtypes:

Cloud-to-cloud recovery

Cloud-to-cloud is a solution in which data is restored from one cloud-based environment to another. Since everything happens in a cloud, data replication, synchronization, and recovery are usually quick and seamless. It’s an excellent option for companies that don’t have a robust IT infrastructure but need a simple yet effective and easily accessible solution.

Hybrid cloud recovery

Hybrid cloud recovery involves restoring data and apps in an environment that combines both on-premises and cloud infrastructure. In a hybrid cloud setup, organizations have the flexibility to host specific workloads and data on-premises while leveraging the scalability and agility of the cloud for other applications.

Server-to-cloud recovery

Server-to-cloud recovery, also known as server-to-cloud backup and recovery, is a data protection strategy that involves backing up and recovering server data directly to a cloud-based storage infrastructure. In this approach, server data, including files, applications, and system configurations, is replicated and stored in the cloud, providing an off-site backup and disaster recovery solution.

What to Consider When Choosing a DRaaS Provider?

Choosing a DRaaS provider is not an easy task – to ensure you pick a service that aligns with your business needs, you have to zero in on many factors.

Here are the most important ones to keep in mind:

  • Reliability and Performance
    Your chosen provider's track record and reputation for delivering reliable and high-performance DRaaS solutions are a must. Look for guarantees regarding service availability, recovery time objectives (RTOs), and recovery point objectives (RPOs).
  • Scalability and Flexibility
    Assess whether the provider's DRaaS solution can scale to accommodate your organization's growth and changing needs. Consider if they offer flexible options to customize and adapt the solution to your requirements.
  • Security and Compliance
    Does your provider have robust security measures to protect your data during backup, storage, and recovery? This is crucial for complying with relevant industry regulations and standards, such as GDPR or HIPAA.
  • Cost and Pricing Model
    Sometimes the costs of DRaaS solutions can be tricky, as not all providers reveal them upfront. That’s why it’s essential to consider the total price, including ongoing subscription fees and additional data transfer or recovery charges. Evaluate if the pricing aligns with your budget and offers a good return on investment.
  • Provider Experience and Expertise
    It may sound like a no-brainer, but your DRaaS provider must have relevant experience and expertise in data recovery solutions. Consider their industry experience, customer references, and case studies to ensure they have a proven track record.
  • Integration with Existing Infrastructure
    Assess how well the DRaaS solution integrates with your existing IT infrastructure, including your on-premises systems, cloud platforms, and applications. Compatibility and ease of integration are crucial for seamless operations.
  • Type of used technology
    Connected to the point above, there are different disaster recovery software or platforms available on the market. The most important ones include brands like Microsoft Azure, IBM Power, VMware Cloud Disaster Recovery, and AWS. It’s always good to choose a provider who operates on the same systems as you.

DRaaS for Maximum Data Protection

Disaster Recovery as a Service is a valuable solution that every organization should implement as part of their disaster recovery strategy. It’s essential for business continuity and protecting a company’s assets. Choosing a DRaaS solution may be difficult, as there’s a lot to consider – from your company’s size to the right technology; the number of factors determining the best option can definitely feel a little overwhelming.

That’s why it’s always good to entrust this decision to professionals, such as Comarch Disaster Recovery Center experts. With more than 30 years of experience in IT services, Comarch knows how to handle your data in a safe and cost-efficient way. At the end of the day, it’s your biggest strength! If you want to make sure they get maximum protection, visit our website and find out how we can help you with a DRaaS solution tailored to your business needs.

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