As more small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) invest in cloud-based solutions, they need a cloud-based solution to back up and protect their business data and applications in the event of a disaster. And while SMBs are boosting their spend in the cloud, they often worry that Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) may be out of their reach. However thanks to the growing acceptance of cloud computing solutions among organizations of all sizes, DRaaS is now an affordable solution for SMBs. HOSTING breaks down the basics of DRaaS and explains why every SMB should invest in it.
So what is Disaster Recovery as a Service?
DRaaS is the replication and hosting of physical or virtual servers by a third party (typically by an experienced cloud service provider) to provide failover (i.e., a back up operations mode of your business operations) in the event of a man-made or natural catastrophe. So let’s say you’re a San Francisco-based business that sells high-end cookware imported from France. One day the City by the Bay is rocked by an earthquake (just a small trembler), crashing your e-commerce site so you can’t access any of your data. With DRaaS, there’s no need to worry because a copy of your servers containing all of your business critical information is also housed on another server located in a geographically-diverse location, such as Denver, CO (home to HOSTING headquarters). So before you can say, “Zut Alors!”, your business is up and running again.
Why should SMBs invest in Disaster Recovery as a Service?
If you’re running a business, you’re collecting data – lots of it. Your customers’ names, credit card information, purchasing history – all of that data helps your business operate efficiently while creating the best customer experience possible. With data being such a valued commodity, you would think that most SMBs had a disaster recovery (DR) plan in place. Yet 50% of U.S. SMBs don’t event have a DR plan. And 72% of SMBs worldwide that have a DR plan have never tested it.
By investing in DRaaS, all the heavy lifting is handled by your CSP. The service contains three basic steps:
- The CSP works with you to deploy a software-based replication technology that continually copies data changes in your environment (i.e., updating customer info, or adding new methods of payment) to the cloud.
- Images of your servers are created and stored as warm stand-by virtual machines (VMs). During this process, the recovery (backup) environment is defined, including the order in which your back up servers are booted up.
- If you and/or your CSP declares a disaster or simply wants to test your DRaaS, the CSP uses pre-built automation to boot the VMs and convert any physical servers as required. You can then log onto their environment through a customer portal that provides access to any testing or management resources you or your CSP needs.
Bottom line – Your CSP is responsible for storing and replicating your data offsite, while managing all your DR activities.
How do SMBs benefit from Disaster Recovery as a Service?
While the steps involved in DRaaS may seem daunting, keep in mind that the CSP is responsible for implementing and maintaining the solution. And DRaaS offers four key benefits.
- Better functionality at a lower cost – There is little upfront investment required to set up DRaaS. In general, the most significant cost is the storage of your data, and that is typically lower that if you stored it on your own.
- Simplified, less expensive testing – Many SMBs are already stretched for time and resources – making DR testing a “when I get around to it” activity. With DRaaS, the CSP handles all of the testing. All you need to do is validate that the applications perform and function as expected.
- Flexibility and scalability – DRaaS enables SMBs to adapt to changing business needs and IT environments. As your company grows, so does the scale of your DRaaS. Additionally, DRaaS deployments are tracked in weeks, not months or years, giving you a more up-to-date view of your environment.
- Pay-as-you-go pricing – With DRaaS, you only pay for the resources you use (our HOSTING colleagues in accounting refer to it as an OpEx model). This feature makes it easy for you to add additional servers or storage, avoiding burdensome CapEx spending. And you can start by protecting a handful of critical servers, ratcheting up as your needs grow.
Have questions about DRaaS? HOSTING has answers. Contact our cloud experts anytime with your specific questions. And view our on-demand webinar, Think You’ve Tested Your DR Plan? Think Again!, For more information.