No one likes to think about experiencing a disaster, for much the same reasons we don't like to plan our own funerals. We don't like inviting that kind of trouble into our lives, considering the consequences of a fire destroying all our work or a flood making it impossible to carry on business. A clearer understanding of DRaaS, disaster recovery as a service can demonstrate its inherent value and prove why it should be part of every company's toolbox.
What is DRaaS?
It's impossible to fully describe DRaaS without understanding the DR first. Disaster recovery is, essentially, a kind of IT doctrine that acts like a self-managed and self-administered insurance policy. It's designed to kick in once a disaster has occurred, and it works to either repair the damage caused by the disaster or establish workarounds that allow the company to operate while damage is being repaired.
Thus, DRaaS is disaster recovery offered on an as-a-service basis. It's commonly cloud-based and comprises several individual points ranging from remote backupsystems to cloud-based file storage systems. There are some DRaaS tools, such as remote-site operations, that operate on a purely physical basis, but this is just one option among many.
The Value of DRaaS
DRaaS delivers several key value points for its users.
Flexibility in coverage.
The term “disaster” encompasses many points, from flood and fire to ransomware and hacker attacks. Thankfully, the response to many of these disasters is the same: Revert to a remote backup and access files stored therein to carry on business as normal. With DRaaS, it becomes a lot easier to make the shift.
Prevention of downtime.
We all know downtime costs businesses big time. The costs vary from business to business—one company put together a cost-of-downtime calculator to plug in your specific numbers—but the costs are there all the same. With DRaaS, a company can go from disaster to at least limited operations much faster than without, which carries enormous cost savings.
One of the biggest problems disaster recovery programs face is they often go untested. By establishing disaster recovery plans with DRaaS, you effectively embrace the concept of disaster recovery and begin planning and training for it. Like a fire drill in an office building, DRaaS encourages the testing of systems currently in place. Given that 20% of respondents in a recent study haven't tested their disaster recovery plans in the last year, it's a point worth addressing and one that helps ensure you're ready to go when disaster strikes.
Why Mid-Sized Businesses Especially Need DRaaS
There is a range of general reasons why businesses need DRaaS, but the mid-sized business has its own specific set of reasons.
You're not already doing it.
A 2016 study from Actual Tech Media revealed that 80% of small- to mid-sized businesses were still relying on some kind of disk-based technology — or even tape-based — to back up important files. Imagine trying to transfer all the files on every endpoint you've got to disks. Now imagine updating those disks every day — or even every hour — to accommodate all the new data you've generated in those timeframes. That's a big job in itself; now imagine reversing the flow to new hardware after a disaster. That's a lot of time from disaster to even partial recovery, which leads to the next problem.
You can least afford downtime.
We mentioned already that downtime costs businesses. These numbers vary, of course, but there's a bigger issue with the mid-sized business: It can afford losses least of all. It cannot pivot as fast as the small business and segue into backups faster. Small businesses also have less data to back up, so disks and tape might well get them at least somewhat back into the game faster. Enterprise-level operations have more resources to absorb losses and carry out backups, plus their sheer volume of data makes it likely they're already using cloud-based systems. The mid-sized business lacks both advantages, so it must make provisions for itself.
You're a bigger target.
Mid-sized businesses make better hacking targets. Small businesses often don't have the resources to make a hack worthwhile for anything more than the script kiddie who wants to prove his or her skills. Enterprise-level businesses have the richest pots of resources, but also the heaviest security. Mid-sized businesses have resources enough to be a rewarding hack but less security than your larger brethren. That puts you on ground zero for hacking and makes that disaster much more likely to come to pass. Natural disasters don't care about what size your business is, but they could hit you hard, and your potential viability is at stake.
You're taking on the world.
When considering the fullest extent of downtime costs, remember: It's not just lost sales to consider. It's also the potential boost to the competition. If you're no longer selling your flagship product because you're recovering from a disaster, will your competitors quietly wait until you come back? It's also the loss of face: Will your customers wait until you've recovered to buy your flagship product? How long can you survive in the field if you're not actively selling, and can you put the pieces of your shattered business back together sufficiently rapidly after the disaster comes to pass? If you don't like the answers to those questions, then DRaaS is worth considering.
How to Get Started Putting DRaaS in Place
If you're ready to stop hoping disaster never strikes your business and start planning for when it does, get in touch with us at UTG. We offer a wide range of DRaaS solutions, from business continuity systems to remote backups and beyond, which can help you get back in the game faster whether you've just been hacked, hit with ransomware, or suffered fire, flood, earthquake, or another natural disaster. So get your DRaaS ducks in a row before a disaster can affect your ability to operate, and drop us a line to get the process started.