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There are many vendors out there now in the growing cloud disaster recovery market and each offers a different level of service and support. Here are eight factors that might indicate your vendor needs to be replaced.
- If security provisions of the disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) vendor were insufficient to convince you to remain in the environment. Protecting data during a disaster is often the most important reason to move to the cloud, while insufficient protection is the primary reason to leave that environment. If you cannot be assured that your systems -- especially if they are virtualized -- as well as your data and databases are secure from unauthorized access by an intruder, do not use that DRaaS vendor. Security provisions should be a part of any service-level agreement (SLA) you execute with a provider.
- If a cloud provider only supports one or two tests of your DR plan during the year, that can be grounds to move elsewhere. Some firms provide unlimited testing, at no extra cost, which is a great benefit.
- If the DRaaS vendor tells you it will guarantee achievement of your recovery time objectives (RTOs) and recovery point objectives (RPOs), and then fails to achieve those metrics in tests.
- If you have specific SLA requirements, and the cloud DR provider fails to achieve them during tests, you may want to move elsewhere.
- If you're gambling that the vendor has sufficient resources to ensure that your systems and data will be protected, available and accessible when you need them. If you have reason to believe these performance requirements have been compromised, consider making a change.
- If the DRaaS vendor tells you it has resources to provide you with a disaster recovery plan, get it in writing. If the vendor doesn't have the resources, or simply won't do it, walk away.
- If the cloud DR service claims to have many data centers, but in reality, it only has a few, which are located relatively close to each other. This could put your assets at a greater risk of loss if one of the vendor's data centers has a disruptive event and is unable to move your assets to an alternate data center.
- If the vendor only has two ways to access the internet, and they are provided by the same carrier. Ideally, there should be several internet service providers with diversely routed circuits into the internet.
Additional advice for dealing with DRaaS providers
Organizations should check their contracts to see what options are available to them if the DRaaS vendor fails to provide the required level of service. These options should be included in the SLA.
If all brick-and-mortar data center operations and associated DR activities are moved to the cloud, it may be difficult to return to the original -- or an alternate -- environment. Ensure there is a backdoor available so that you can leave the vendor if it doesn't support your requirements.
As more cloud DR vendors enter the market, competition for clients has become more intense. Check vendors to see if they can handle a full range of data center and DR activities.
All providers under consideration should have a liberal DR testing policy and the resources to ensure your tests are successful. There should be sufficient physical space to accommodate your hardware; for example, if you use one of their cages for your equipment racks. There should also be an adequate amount of emergency power available to support all customers -- including your organization -- in that location. If the nature of a disaster means you need additional servers over those you have under contract, the provider should have the resources to help you flex your needs as requirements dictate.
By researching the options carefully, understanding your short- and long-term requirements, knowing your RTO and RPO requirements, and documenting those requirements for DRaaS vendor candidates, you can increase your chances of making a sound decision.
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