Losing access to critical data for an extended period is every company’s worst nightmare. This can be triggered by something as malicious as a ransomware attack, as innocent as human error, or as uncontrollable as an earthquake or massive flooding. But regardless of the cause, an unexpected crisis can be potentially devastating.
A 2019 study commissioned by IBM found that unplanned downtime costs $9,000 per minute. This can cripple small businesses, which is why it’s crucial to have a strategy in place for disaster recovery.
Why is disaster recovery important to a small business?
Nearly every industry employs modern technologies to simplify and streamline workflows and processes. So it’s vital to ensure that these systems continue to operate efficiently and are not disrupted. However, many small businesses don't think about disaster recovery until a disaster strikes. And when that happens, they’re forced to be reactive, which can be detrimental if they don’t know what to do in a particular event.
With a proactive plan, however, businesses will have better control over the situation. This is because they have appropriate plans of action and preventative measures in place designed to mitigate the potential damages of disaster situations.
But because many businesses simply can’t afford to spend the time and resources needed to research, implement, and fully test disaster recovery plans, they are turning to an option that’s rapidly gaining popularity: Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS).
What is Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service?
Data backup involves storing copies of files and programs either in the cloud or on a remote server. With DRaaS, a third-party provider hosts a cloud-based replica of an organization’s entire IT environment. But instead of simply recovering lost data and applications, DRaaS allows the organization to maintain normal operations on the replica system in case its primary infrastructure fails.
The failover can be automated, like with Microsoft’s Azure Site Recovery, activating immediately when a certain event occurs. Or it can be set to initiate only at the request of the company. All in all, DRaaS takes the burden of preparing for a disaster off of a company’s shoulders and puts it into the hands of disaster recovery experts.
Getting disaster recovery on an as-a-service basis can be especially valuable for small businesses with limited IT resources and budgets. DRaaS effectively eliminates the costs of deploying, monitoring, patching, and maintaining an on-premises disaster recovery infrastructure. And businesses will have to pay only for the resources they use to support their disaster recovery efforts.
How does DRaaS work?
The primary steps involved in DRaaS are:
- Replication – The workload from your local infrastructure is replicated (not just backed up) or mirrored to the provider’s off-site server locations.
- Failover – When your local infrastructure is affected by a disruptive event, the access is shifted to the remote disaster recovery site with minimum to no downtime.
- Failback – Once you have dealt with the effects of the disaster and your local infrastructure is back to a normal working state, the access to such is restored.
DRaaS plans are typically purchased through a traditional subscription model or a pay-per-use model that allows users to pay only when disaster strikes. But since as-a-service solutions vary in scope and cost, it’s important to assess potential DRaaS providers according to your business’s unique needs and budget.
Why should a small business consider DRaaS?
For many small businesses, DRaaS is both more affordable and effective than in-house disaster recovery solutions. Here are five reasons to consider DRaaS:
1. You'll save money
In-house disaster recovery solutions can be very expensive, considering the recurring costs of maintenance and IT support. Although DRaaS is a significant investment, you don't need to invest in expensive hardware and software, saving you money along the way.
In addition, you won't have to pay for something you don’t or will never use. With an in-house solution, you will inevitably have unused storage space. With a cloud-based DRaaS solution, on the other hand, you can easily scale your resource allocation depending on your needs.
2. Your recovery time will be faster
The longer it takes for your business to recover from a disaster, the more money you lose. A DRaaS solution will have your infrastructure back up and running quickly, usually in 15 minutes or less.
And because it’s a cloud-based solution, you'll be able to access your data and applications from any location as long as you have an internet connection. So if a natural disaster leaves your office unusable, for instance, you will still be able to do business from another location.
3. You benefit from enhanced security
A key advantage of cloud solutions is that your data is stored in a remote facility that is maintained 24/7 by trained professionals. On top of offering baseline protections such as access control and authentication, the best DRaaS providers offer comprehensive physical security. They ensure that their data centers are protected against unauthorized access, common hardware failures, and natural and man-made disasters.
4. You'll get expert help and guidance
Reputable DRaaS providers typically have more experience with data security management and disaster recovery planning compared to in-house IT teams. With their knowledge and expertise, they are better equipped to implement strategic disaster recovery solutions that would meet your business’s unique operational and user needs.
5. Your IT team can focus on core operations
When your in-house IT team is solely in charge of the maintenance, testing, and IT support associated with disaster recovery, they won't have the time to focus on other critical IT functions. DRaaS simplifies IT management, freeing up your IT staff to tackle higher-priority projects.
We at Integrated Computer Services can help you prepare for various disaster situations, minimizing business disruptions and potential downtime. Call us today to future-proof your business.