IT disaster recovery, cloud computing and information security news

Why exploring DRaaS should be one of your business continuity New Year’s resolutions

Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) is becoming more popular as a business continuity technology. Mick Bradley looks at what is currently possible using DRaaS and how the technology will develop in the future.

2018 was another year of IT outages and cyber attacks. Despite significant cyber security budgets, malicious attacks and careless mistakes from employees have unnecessarily interrupted business processes, leading to financial losses as well as diminishing customer confidence. With this in mind, many organizations are looking at how to better secure their IT systems to make sure we don’t see more of the same in 2019.

Unfortunately, despite investing in the latest security technology, there is often nothing that can be done to stop these incidents from happening. Even with the tightest security, some attacks still manage to sneak through. If organizations want to mitigate these risks, one thing they can do is invest in minimising the impact on customers and end users. However, Arcserve research has shown that despite the fact that nearly half of global IT decision-makers feel like they have less than one hour to recover business-critical data before it starts impacting revenue, only 26 percent are extremely confident in their ability to do so.

So, how can organizations address this issue? How can they make sure that 2019 is not another year punctuated by unnecessary disruptions to business processes?

DRaaS: a viable solutions for business continuity

Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) has emerged as viable solution for getting things back to normal as quickly as possible. DRaaS provides a cloud-based solution that is quicker and more cost-effective than hardware-based alternatives. Basically, you have a virtual machine that has access to your backed-up data and is able to restart in the cloud if needed. In the unfortunate incident of a breach or attack, all you need to do is point your interfaces to the cloud and your organization is back up and running.

When you think about some of the main threats like ransomware, the cloud can provide an ‘air gap’ between organizations’ data and anyone that wants to access it. You can back up business critical data to the cloud as needed and switch off the connection when it’s done. This is a significant difference to on-site solutions, where the connection has to be continuous. The cloud also provides many security features by default, providing additional security for business-critical data.

What’s next for DRaaS after disaster recovery?

DRaaS is still very much in its early stages but, looking forward, the idea of not just mitigating the effects of disasters but avoiding them altogether looks set to become more prominent. As more intelligent predictive analytics solutions are developed, organizations will be able to start looking at proactive disaster avoidance.

By collecting data from multiple sources and analysing the different components of disasters, organizations will be able to automatically migrate data and workloads to data centers / centres that aren’t at risk, thereby avoiding disasters. For example, if a hurricane is predicted to hit data centers situated in coastal areas, predictive disaster avoidance can prompt organizations to move everything they need to data centers that are located away from the endangered areas.

Assessing the cost before taking the leap

Adopting cloud-based solutions certainly provides many attractive benefits for business aiming to ensure business continuity. However, businesses shouldn’t bow to the pressure to instigate a full-scale transition to the cloud without first evaluating all the available options and assessing how much it will cost them, in terms of time and resources. It is important to take a balanced approach that considers the practicalities of migration, factors such as hidden costs, before deciding on the perfect strategy for business continuity.

Organizations should also test their cloud provider for the services they deliver versus the services they put on their data sheets. For example, if the response time for an urgent case is set to an hour, it is important to test and see if this can actually be achieved. 

In today’s digital-first world, customers and end users expect nothing short of seamless and secure interactions with the organizations they choose to engage with. The level of sensitivity around how data is used and stored is also higher than ever. However, regardless of the challenges and threats, the expectations remains unwavering and organizations that can deliver the experiences that customers want will be able to set themselves up for long-term customer loyalty and confidence.

The author

Mick Bradley is VP EMEA at Arcserve.

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Business continuity can be defined as 'the processes, procedures, decisions and activities to ensure that an organization can continue to function through an operational interruption'. Read more about the basics of business continuity here.

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