Aug 03 2022

How Small Businesses Can Implement Disaster Recovery as a Service

In the event of an outage or cyberattack, make sure your data is protected.

Businesses face a wide variety of threats to their data, including data breaches caused by cybercriminals and natural disasters that physically damage IT infrastructure. In the event of data loss, the ability to recover data becomes vital for businesses to minimize downtime and further losses. Yet, many businesses still lag in this regard: According to a survey by SysGroup, 75 percent of companies lack a disaster recovery plan.

Consequences can be dire for businesses that suffer from a significant data loss. Up to 40 percent of businesses fail to survive a disaster, either natural or human-made, says the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and 68 percent of businesses have no written disaster recovery plan, according to Nationwide Insurance. Before disaster strikes, experts say, businesses of all sizes should take steps to minimize risk.

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How DRaaS Has Changed Risk Management

For small businesses, a comprehensive disaster recovery strategy can seem daunting, but the field has come a long way. In the past 10 years, disaster recovery technology has evolved from onsite backup servers to cloud services. Disaster Recovery as a Service represents the latest approach.

With DRaaS, data backup is managed by a cloud service provider. The as-a-service model enables small businesses to lean on a trusted partner instead of relying on their own resources.

“Traditionally, organizations needed to host their own data center, with their own IT equipment and the manpower to manage that location. That costs a lot,” says Naveen Chhabra, principal analyst at Forrester. “But now, disaster recovery hosting providers are scaling up their business, helping customers reduce their investments and delivering roughly similar services and capabilities.”

To prepare for a disaster, small businesses using DRaaS don’t need to maintain large, expensive, duplicate infrastructure, data centers or subscriptions to third-party management tools.

READ MORE: Learn what hardware can improve your organization's business continuity plan.

Organizations Can Scale DRaaS to Meet Their Needs

The scalability of the cloud enables businesses to upgrade storage space to accommodate fluctuations in data traffic. With DRaaS, a business just pays the bill; the service provider handles IT maintenance tasks such as patching and upgrading software. “You can give a group of applications to a DRaaS provider to manage for you, and next year, if you want another group of applications, it should be scalable,” says Chhabra. “I don’t see any limitations on the scalability.”

Major vendors such as VMware, Microsoft Azure and Veeam offer different solutions, including website recovery, complete backup, archival storage for rarely used data, and cloud-based disaster recovery. It’s up to organizations to identify their needs, with an understanding of all the features the vendor offers, such as visibility, management and security. “Organizations need to build these services based on what providers bring to the table,” says Chhabra.

DR solutions should be tested frequently — Chhabra suggests once a month — to assess how the vendor is performing. Such testing can help small businesses spot underlying, unexposed issues, he says. “Identify the technology capabilities that the service provider is offering to you. It should not be based on just the data movement or copying data from one location to the other.” 

Ultimately, an investment in DRaaS — as well as regular testing and assessment — will act as a bulwark against the growing threats that businesses face. Weather conditions may get worse and more frequent, threat actors may develop more sophisticated malware, and the challenges of the pandemic remain, but with a solid disaster recovery strategy, retaining vital data becomes easier.

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