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A Disaster Recovery Plan That is Cost Effective

February 21, 2014

All facets of cloud computing are undergoing phenomenal growth, perhaps none more so than Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). Peak 10’s technology partner Cisco reports that global DRaaS and cloud-based business continuity has a CAGR of 55.20 percent and will be a $5.77 billion market by 2018.

Except for beginning with cloud computing infrastructure from day one, the cost/benefit to a business of using cloud services for disaster recovery (DR) compared to do-it-yourself is compellingly in favor of the cloud model.

It’s easy to see why ─ and here’s some information you need to know in order to help your customers and prospects understand the benefits.

Over the past five years or so, the mantra for businesses large and small has been IT consolidation and virtualization for cost reduction ─ do more with less. While most IT organizations are focused less on operations and more on strategic business technology, setting up, managing and maintaining their own DR center goes in exactly the opposite direction. Duplicating a data center in its entirety or as a subset ‘just in case’ is a poor application of resources given the alternatives that exist.

Not only that, increased regulatory oversight and compliance demands increase the complexity and sophistication of a DR site. The degree of specialization in both the skills and resources needed to operate a secure, compliant back-up site will be expensive, especially for smaller and mid-sized organizations. Strict adherence to agency and industry compliance, complemented by cloud scale and flexibility to accommodate marketplace dynamics become enormous advantages in this regard.

Suddenly, the DR planning discussion becomes one of a cloud implementation strategy rather than an infrastructure and facility design, implementation and funding project.

Getting Started

Prospects need to know what they have, how much of it they have, where it is and how long can their businesses can survive without it before they can provision a back-up site to send it to, regardless of whether they build their own DR capabilities or use DRaaS.

It is essential for them to identify their critical data requirements. They should Inventory their current data types, amounts and actual locations. They also need to identify their applications and, more importantly, the functions their application data performs and who works with It the most.

Next, they need to determine how long their businesses can function without having access to their data and applications; i.e. what are their recovery point objectives (RPO) for each data type and business process? Less than a day, two days? They should be categorized by priority of recovery importance.

It’s About Sharing

It is because multiple customers can securely share the optimally designed and robust IT infrastructure upon which cloud computing is delivered that makes DRaaS and other cloud services so cost effective. When prospects take into consideration that the applications and data in question are their companies’ business-critical and mission-critical workloads, then there can be no room for compromise.

Ask your prospects to consider what it would take for them to provision an equivalent service on their own. There is more to it than they may have considered.

Server, storage and networks of sufficient power and capacity are the most obvious. Sometimes the need for redundant DNS servers or Windows Active directory servers is overlooked. These in-reserve assets need to receive the same modifications, maintenance, upgrades, patching and testing as their production environments. They must accommodate the constantly changing business environment and resulting new IT demands.

Will they have to rent, purchase or build more space to house them? Will they need additional cooling? How much more power will be needed? Back-up generators and uninterruptable power supplies are essential, as are adequate bandwidth capacity and Internet redundancy.

Logical and physical security are at least as important here as the primary facility. Firewall management, intrusion detection and prevention, virus and spam filters and vulnerability assessments are a few additional considerations. So is annual compliance auditing.

It may take weeks or months of staff time to set up and/or run an in-house DR solution and site. Will they need to hire more employees? Also, there is no guarantee that the best people be available during a crisis when they are needed most.

With the right DRaaS provider, all these concerns and many others disappear. The challenge, of course, is that businesses must trust that their DRaaS service providers can implement the plan in the event of a disaster and meet the defined recovery time and recovery point objectives.

The Move is On

It’s clear why enterprises are moving DR to the cloud. It is a huge cost and resource savings, in comparison to putting together a replication site of their own. It replaces upfront investments with understandable and projectable monthly bills and ensures higher performance and reliability by the cloud provider 24/7/365.

From infrastructure to recovery cloud services, security best practices to compliance audits, local presence to geographically dispersed data centers, Peak 10 has many of the essentials that businesses require for superior, cost-effective BC/DR.

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About Peak 10

"Our values are the foundation for everything we do at Peak 10, and are ultimately what enable us to earn our customers' business and their trust."
David H. Jones,
Board Member, Peak 10 + ViaWest