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How to Create A Disaster Recovery Plan That is Cost Effective

June 18, 2014

All facets of cloud computing are undergoing phenomenal growth, perhaps none more so than Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS). Our 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.

Excluding costs related to deploying cloud computing infrastructure for production, the cost/benefit ratio for using cloud services for disaster recovery (DR) compared to an in-house solution deployed on self-purchased infrastructure, is compellingly in favor of the cloud model.

It’s easy to see why. 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. Thus, most IT organizations are focused less on operations and more on strategic business technology.  The extensive process of setting up, managing and maintaining one’s own DR center goes in exactly the opposite direction of this trend. Duplicating a data center in its entirety, or even only a subset on a ‘just in case’ premise, is a poor application of resources given the alternatives that exist.

Additionally, increased regulatory oversight and compliance demands add to the complexity and sophistication of a DR site. The degree of specialization in both the skills and resources needed to operate a secure, compliant fail-over site will be expensive, especially for smaller and mid-sized organizations. A compliant, cloud-based DR solution, complemented by inherent scale and flexibility to accommodate marketplace dynamics, becomes an enormous advantage 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

You have to know what you have, how much you have, where it is, and how long can your business survive without before you can provision a back-up site to send it to, regardless of whether you build your own DR capability or use DRaaS.

Identify your critical data requirements. Inventory your current data types, amounts and actual locations.  Identify your applications and how frequently they access dependent data sets.

Next, how long can your business function without having access to critical data and applications; i.e. what are your recovery point objectives (RPO) for each data type and business process? Less than a day, two days? Categorize by priority of recovery importance.

What’s Ours is Yours

As multiple customers can securely share the optimally designed and robust IT infrastructure upon which cloud computing is delivered, DRaaS becomes very cost effective. Given that the applications and data in question are the company’s business-critical and mission-critical workloads, there can be no room for compromise.
Consider what it would take to provision an equivalent service on your own. There is more to it than you 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 your production environment. They must accommodate the constantly changing business environment and resulting new IT demands.

Will you have to rent, purchase or build more space to house them? Will you 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 you need to hire more employees? Also, there is no guarantee that the necessary people be available during a crisis when you need them most.

With the right DRaaS provider, all these concerns and many others disappear. The challenge, of course, is that the business must trust that the DRaaS service provider 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 rapidly moving DR functions to the cloud. They realize significant cost and resource savings, in comparison to putting together an in-house replication site. They replace risky upfront investments with understandable and stable budget-friendly monthly expenses.  They also enjoy the higher performance and reliability provided by the cloud, 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 practically everything a business requires for superior business continuity and disaster recovery, with a cost effective and predictable pricing model. We’ve made it our business to ensure that your business is always up and available.

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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