A bank was undergoing its annual compliance audit recently to verify that it satisfied the many regulatory requirements financial institutions are subject to, it failed because of disaster recovery. The bank had a disaster recovery (DR) plan and a remote DR site capable of doing the job. The problem was that the back-up site was 20 miles away; in other words, too close to the production site.
Floods, tornadoes, earthquakes and terrorism usually come to mind as the big reasons for DR planning, even though these mega-events account for barely five percent of the causes. But, we are seeing a transition occur. Business and IT are broadening their thinking when it comes to DR for two reasons.
First, DR is a necessary element of Business Continuity Management (BCM). BCM is a corporate discipline with many components including crisis management, data governance, contingency planning, supplier management and others. People are waking up to the fact that upwards of 90 percent of a company’s worth and revenue-generating potential can be tied up in IT-related functions and simply keeping the doors open. Preventing outages and restarting critical activities as quickly as possible following an outage can be the difference in a business’ continuing viability.
Second, industry and government regulations include specifications for data protection, storage and recovery under both normal and extraordinary circumstances. In the financial and healthcare industries in particular, DR planning and implementation are required and subject to audit, as the bank example illustrates. Protecting private personal data includes the need to be able to access and provide data on demand, as well as knowing precisely where it is stored. Once considered a nice-to-have, DR has become a have-to-have.
Businesses intuitively know that siting, operating and maintaining their own disaster recovery site and data back-up capabilities is a poor use of resources, and probably not as effective as outsourcing disaster-recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS). DRaaS is one of the industry’s fastest growing segments. Peak 10’s Recovery Cloud service is becoming one of our most in-demand services as well, both through direct customer engagement and through channel partners.
Small- to mid-size businesses (SMBs), which can lack the necessary expertise to provision, configure and test an effective DR plan, are quick to recognize DRaaS’ value. It’s their own backup DR site with none of the expense of their own facility, hardware and storage, security systems, physical infrastructure, or staffing. It is monitored 24/7/365 by trained technical staff. Services are flexible and can adapt quickly as the business’ needs change.
A customer recently put its entire IT production environment in the Peak 10 cloud, adding Recovery Cloud after the fact. Typically a DR site is a mirror or a very robust subset of the production site. In this case the Recovery Cloud was about one-third the cost of the production environment. Realistically, these economies of scale cannot be replicated outside the cloud.
Hybrid cloud adoption by SMBs is another factor in DRaaS growth. It enables end users to concentrate more on organizational core activities using their private cloud, while other applications, data and services are maintained and managed by the cloud service provider. The hybrid model also equips the business to employ a rapid deployment model to scale applications quickly to match increased usage requirements.
In the fast and furious world of IT transformation and cloud evolution, it may be time to re-think your own DR readiness and strategy in a new light.