Every business is data dependent and is thinking about how to make sure that data, and the software that runs it, is guaranteed to be available. They are worried about how to make sure it’s there, when and where it needs to be. Every day of the year. Even when something goes wrong.
Businesses of every size and description are looking at their aging tape backups or onsite backup equipment and realizing it is time to upgrade. Downtime ruins companies. And eventually, every system goes down. In the past most companies took care of this themselves. These days, many small and mid-sized businesses don’t have full-time IT personnel, and when they do, they are busy working on mission-critical operations. Even worse, those existing tape backup systems are very rarely tested. You may have no idea how hard it will be to recover your lost data from those tapes, or how long it will take.
The good news is that there are many excellent choices now for outsourcing the work of backup and recovery to third parties. The hard part for many companies – especially those without dedicated IT resources – is that there are a lot of options out there. Each has its various strengths and weaknesses. It can be confusing at best and overwhelming at worst. It’s a reason to delay solving the problem, and it keeps your company at risk.
Cloud services make it much easier.
There’s good news, however. There are many cloud-based solutions to help companies take care of their critical data and systems. Cloud-based services are often referred to as “Software as a Service” and abbreviated as “SaaS.” Newer cloud-based services replace “Software” with more specific terms and adjust the abbreviation accordingly. These cloud services are helpful in a number of ways. Most importantly, they take your data and systems backups offsite, so that if something happened to your hardware or your offices, you’d still have the data in the cloud.
There are a lot of services that claim to do this however, from Backup as a Service through Managed Disaster Recovery as a Service.
So we’ve put together a little guide to the options and the jargon. What should you be looking for in a Data or Disaster Recovery system? How can you judge your recovery needs?
6 Keys to Assessing your Disaster Recovery Needs
Before you look at any vendors, you should spend some time deciding how much protection you need, how much you’re willing to spend, and what kinds of losses and business interruptions you can tolerate. Keep in mind, that downtime can be very expensive. In addition to financial costs, you may have legal risk, you may lose sales, and your clients might get upset, damaging your hard-earned reputation.
When looking at recovery solutions, consider each of these factors:
- Data risk – How much, if any, data is at risk if all things function as they should? If you backup once a week, for example, you could lose up to a week’s data. Services that offer monthly, daily or hourly backups change the amount of data at risk. How much data is tolerable for you to lose?
- Recovery time – How long will it take, from the time you experience an interruption, until you have fully recovered? This will give you a sense of what could happen to business operations, and customer service.
- Data coverage – What is being backed up? Your daily files? Email? Archives? What data do you need covered and to what extent?
- Systems coverage – Are your software systems also backed up? Are all of your systems covered or are there some that you can reboot or reconstruct later?
- Continuity – What kinds of losses would create a business interruption? How disruptive would it be? How long would that interruption last? How long an interruption can you tolerate?
- Resource requirements – There are several things to consider here. Budget is an issue, of course. You should also check how much manpower and expertise you’ll need to keep it running smoothly. Systems need to be regularly tested to ensure that when it matters they really work. What is the process for recovering from a loss and who is responsible for managing and executing the work?
Cloud-based services designed to help: BaaS, RaaS, DRaaS and MDRaaS
So what are the options and jargon out there and what do they mean?
BaaS – Backup as a service
Backup as a Service is protection for your library of content. It’s useful if you have large file archives. It backs these files up to the cloud and can restore them to your physical storage media. It is useful for companies that have to retain records for regulatory or legal purposes, and also for any kind of company where the work product is stored in files. This could be anything from a creative agency, to an architecture firm, to magazines and journals. Manufacturers looking to save archival product designs and technical specifications should have this kind of backup as a minimum. Medical, legal and financial companies will all need these items as well.
BaaS protects you from accidental deletions and storage equipment failures. The BaaS provider will manage, test and maintain data backups, they are ONLY responsible for data recovery after the failure event and will only restore it once you have reassembled your IT infrastructure – databases and systems that your organization uses every day to manage customer data, or human resources, orders, operating systems, etc.
RaaS – Recovery as a Service
RaaS, like BaaS, also offers data backup. Unlike BaaS, RaaS can also restore applications, which reduces the number of days of downtime. However, you still need to have dedicated in-house staff and resources to be able to implement and manage any recovery plan that relies exclusively on RaaS. One of the key issues with RaaS is that the data used for restoration will most likely not be the latest data. RaaS does not use real-time replication of data. Therefore there will be some data loss. You will need to talk to the specific vendor about how much data loss is possible and compare that to your business needs. RaaS is the best recovery choice for companies with business operations that don’t rely very heavily on technology but do have IT resources available.
DRaaS – Disaster Recovery as a Service
While data loss is inevitable with BaaS and RaaS, DRaaS uses near real-time replication of data through data mirroring technology, minimizing data loss. In addition to recovering data files, DRaaS also recovers hosted applications, system configurations, and critical IT infrastructure. Furthermore, data recovery time can take only minutes instead of the days and hours it would take for an in-house recovery team using BaaS or RaaS. However, DRaaS (like RaaS and BaaS) is unassisted and requires a robust in-house team (a large ongoing investment on its own) to carry out the actual recovery in the event of a disaster.
MDRaaS – Managed Disaster Recovery as a Service.
The reality is that disaster events are often unpredictable, and it is easy to underestimate the resources and support that will be needed to restore business operations. Relying solely on in-house resources for disaster recovery is not only an expensive investment, but it is also risky in the event of infrastructure damage or geographic factors that may keep the IT team from carrying out and implementing the plan. With BaaS, RaaS or DRaaS, last-minute support, guidance, and expertise is, as many businesses learn at the eleventh hour, non-existent.
With DRaaS, it is up to the client, not the provider, to restore your services.
With MDRaaS, it is up to the provider – Sky Data Vault – to restore the client’s services. They handle everything.
Once you realize you’ve had a loss or service interruption – whether it’s one file that’s been corrupted or accidentally deleted, all the way up to a ransomware attack or a natural disaster – one phone call restores your data, applications, and operations.
This is why MDRaaS is considered the gold standard of disaster recovery services. It is real-time protection, with the fastest possible recovery time. The only thing your organization needs to do to recover is to call the customer service number. With MDRaaS, the provider takes responsibility for every single aspect of recovery before, during and after the event. This includes planning, testing, management, implementation and execution, no matter the scenario. MDRaaS from Sky Data Vault includes a customized and comprehensive disaster recovery plan for the business based on the organization’s key needs.
MDRaaS puts the entire burden of backup and recovery on the provider. You save resources, costs, and hassle every day. As such, MDRaaS can often be your most cost-effective choice, while also being the most comprehensive solution. When something goes wrong, you can focus on your people and your business. You won’t be worried about technology issues. They are taken care of.
You probably need a new backup and recovery solution. You need to consider what is at risk, what kind of losses you can accept. Then you need to ask potential vendors how much protection they offer, how quickly you’ll be back to business as usual, and how much work it takes on your part to maintain and test the system, and recover from a loss. You may want to use BaaS for your library and MDRaaS for your daily operations. Look for a provider – like Sky Data Vault – that offers both.