Enterprise data currently ranks as highly as oil does, if not higher. For centuries oil has been considered one of society’s most valuable and valued resources. Throughout history, the governments or corporations who have controlled the world’s oil supply have controlled the global economy.
Fast forward to the twenty-first century, and the data economy, where the value of data is principally based on its ability to provide meaningful insights and drive strategic decision-making, resulting in improved revenue opportunities. The need for high-quality and quickly available data insights is growing exponentially in relation to the ever-increasing volumes that fall within the Big Data construct.
Because of the need to store, transform, and process this voluminous data, many global companies either have moved their IT operations to the cloud or are considering migrating to the cloud. To meet this ever-increasing demand for cloud-based infrastructure solutions, cloud providers, both public and private, are meeting this need by offering multiple solutions or services such as Infrastructure-as-a-cloud (IaaS), enterprise cloud computing, enterprise hosting services, and managed backup services, including Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS).
Note: The need to implement a robust disaster recovery strategy is imperative for every organization. A disaster recovery plan is not the same as a backup plan. A backup system is required to implement the disaster recovery plan should it be required. Both are integral to the overarching data management strategy.
Disaster Recovery as a Service: What, why, and how?
John Moore of techtarget.com describes Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) as the “replication and hosting of physical or virtual servers by a third party to provide failover in the event of a natural catastrophe, power outage, or another type of business disruption.”
DRaaS, as part of Accrets International’s IT infrastructure solutions, provides an off-site disaster recovery capability that has multiple benefits, including cost savings because organizations do not have to cover the cost of maintaining a secondary data centre. Equally, if not, more importantly, there is a recovery solution for the client in the event of an actual disaster, ensuring business continuity.
1. Why DRaaS?
Robust disaster recovery plans are typically complex and expensive. Therefore, under normal circumstances, they are usually only implemented by large multinational corporations, organizations, and critical businesses like financial institutions and government departments. The rise of the DRaaS paradigm has made disaster recovery accessible to all organizations, irrespective of size and industry.
Business continuity planning (BCP), including a DRaaS plan, is a critical part of any organization’s business processes. Without creating policies and procedures that provide the mechanism of preventing and recovering from potential threats, like natural disasters and cyberattacks, to the company’s IT infrastructure, cloud-based or not. This model must make sure that assets are protected and can be recovered in the event of a disaster, preventing data loss, minimizing downtime, or in the worst case, averting an entire or almost total shutdown of the company for any length of time.
2. How is DRaaS?
As highlighted throughout this discussion, DRaaS is becoming increasingly popular as a service that business organizations use to address the shortcomings in their disaster recovery plan. The emphasis on cloud-based infrastructure and the move away from on-premises IT infrastructure is facilitating the use of a combination of cloud backup and virtualization strategies to provide organizations with a robust alternative to disaster recovery.
The first step for a successful disaster recovery plan is to ensure that a solid backup strategy is in place. As noted above, without a backup of the total system, disaster recovery engineers will not be able to recover the system in event of a total or even partial failure.
Secondly, automation is key to ensuring the successful implementation of the backup plan. Relying on manual backups is risky. It is far better to automate the backups to run every day, persisting the backup to offsite storage.
Note: It is not necessary to back up the entire system every 24 hours. Incremental backups are designed to compare the backup and the live system to see what has changed since the last backup and incrementally add the latest changes to the backup.
Once the automated backups are in place, the next step is to consider what their disaster recovery plan should look like. The advantage of signing up with a specialist IT infrastructure company offering DRaaS is that the organization does not need to design and implement its disaster recovery plan. The DRaaS provider will create and implement the strategy should it ever be required.
In summary, there are several disaster recovery (DR) types ranging from volume-level restore to a complete system or image restore. Let’s take a quick look at each of these options.
- Bare Metal Restore: Succinctly stated, a bare-metal restore is a disaster recovery and restoration process that restores a failed server or computer to a new machine. A multi-step process involves the complete reimaging of an existing server to a new physical device. It includes the OS (operating system) reinstallation, software applications, data, and user settings.
- Volume-Level Restore: This recovery type is also known as a file or data restore. In summary, it is the process of copying files and data from the backup and restoring them to their original location or new location. There are several reasons for a file-level restore, including human error where the files are accidentally deleted or damaged. Lastly, a cyberattack that corrupts, infects or exposes the data is another valid reason for a volume-level restoration.
- Rapid rollback: This disaster recovery option is necessary to undo widespread file changes due to the files being infected by ransomware, deleted, incorrectly edited, or corrupted. As part of this process, the files being restored are identified, updated, and verified to ensure that their integrity is maintained.
The last step in this process is to test that the disaster recovery plan works. The salient point here is that the DRaaS service provider will add a regular testing schedule into the DRaaS Service Level Agreement (SLA).
The most significant benefit of signing an SLA for a DRaaS contract is that you, nor your company, need to worry about any disaster recovery details. The DRaaS provider will ensure that a robust disaster recovery plan fulfilling your company’s requirements will be drafted, implemented, and tested. This will ensure that, in the event of a system failure, partial or total, the plan will kick into action, minimizing downtime and saving your company time and money.