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Disaster recovery as a service has emerged over the past several years as an increasingly popular method for backing up vital data and applications, as well as for providing immediate system failover to a secondary infrastructure. While the technology is still relatively new, numerous DRaaS benefits continue to draw interest.
"As more and more IT is provided as a service, it simply makes sense that disaster recovery should become yet another of those services," said Richard Butgereit, director of catastrophe response at the Geospatial Intelligence Center. But conforming to the as-a-service model is not the only reason disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) is gaining traction.
Not sure your organization is up for making the change? Here are four additional DRaaS benefits to consider.
DRaaS provides a much faster, automated and more reliable recovery operation than traditional DR approaches.
"DRaaS solutions leverage data replication technologies, as well as automated and orchestrated recovery, to provide aggressive recovery point objectives and recovery time objectives," said Joseph George, vice president of product management for global recovery services at Sungard Availability Services. "Many of the newer generation DRaaS solutions that leverage the public cloud provide increased flexibility and offer a usage-based cost model that allows you to pay only for the resources you actually use."
2. Lower cost and enhanced reliability
One of the more persuasive DRaaS benefits out there is the potential for lower costs. Many IT services traditionally performed on premises are now available in the form of as-a-service offerings. DRaaS joins infrastructure as a service, platform as a service and software as a service as a popular cloud alternative to a traditional technology.
"These cloud-based services inherit high availability and disaster recovery capabilities natively," said Ted Wagner, vice president and chief information security officer for SAP National Security Services.
Any organization attempting to handle DR on its own will face additional costs and will have to invest in infrastructure and capital expenses.
"Large upfront costs and high monthly bills have kept many customers from benefiting from DR services," said Greg Arnette, director of data protection platform strategy at Barracuda Networks. "DRaaS has emerged as the next major leap in the overall data protection portfolio, and many backup companies are now offering DRaaS as a complement to cloud-based backup."
3. Improved administration
Using DRaaS lowers the administrative burden placed on IT and frees up team members to handle tasks that provide greater business value.
"DR is seldom seen as providing significant value to the business and, thus, companies are reluctant to spend money and time on running a comprehensive DR program," said Ned Bellavance, director of cloud solutions at Anexinet. "By engaging with DRaaS, you no longer need to commit those resources and, in all likelihood, the cost of DRaaS will be less than what you would pay to manage and maintain a solution yourself."
Brian Gill, CEO of Gillware, agreed. "For many organizations, a third-party service provider will do a better job at administering a very specific disaster recovery stack than internal IT staff," he said. "It's also one less thing for internal staff to get heavily trained on."
On the other hand, Gill warned that DRaaS benefits for administration don't absolve an organization's internal staff of regularly monitoring and auditing backups to ensure their completeness and to verify that the organization hasn't been burned by configuration drift and other inattention-related issues.
4. Seamless redundancy and scalability
One of the major DRaaS benefits is peace of mind, as there are generally no loose ends to chase or worry about.
"Your data is stored in multiple places -- no more single point of failure," said David Stills, director of IT at Saalex Solutions, a managed IT services provider for small- to medium-sized businesses. "Since DRaaS is on a virtual platform, it can grow or shrink on demand."
DRaaS not only provides cost-effective redundancy for all critical business information systems, but it also enables routine validation testing.
"This is effectively an insurance policy protecting the company's vital systems from natural disasters, cyber incidents and other devastating business disruptions," said Miles Feinberg, vice president of service development at managed IT services provider Synoptek.
Considering the significant time and costs of a recovery, it's worth considering DRaaS as part of your organization's disaster readiness plan.