What to Look for in a DRaaS Solution

AUGUST 17TH, 2018
Have your eye on Disaster-Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS)? You are not the only one. A report from MarketsandMarkets estimates that the global DRaaS industry will reach $12.54 billion in 2022 — up from $2.19 billion in 2017. The increase represents an impressive 17.29 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR). According to the report, the MSP segment of the market expects to grow at the highest rate as organizations look towards capable third parties for hands-on guidance. The rise of DRaaS is fueled by the enterprise's growing need to simplify backup and disaster recovery. In addition to providing a secondary recovery site, DRaaS offers the promise of reducing infrastructure investment, recovery costs, and staffing needs as many of the most tedious administrative tasks are offloaded onto the service provider. With the cloud as its foundation, DRaaS offers a fast, efficient, and cost-effective way to backup and restore critical data in emergency situations. While the benefits of DRaaS are not unrealistic, they aren't necessarily a sure thing either. There is a multitude of options on the market, and you may find that the definition of this offering varies from one provider to the next. With that in mind, we've outlined some criteria to look for in a DRaaS solution.

Credible Track Record

DRaaS has seen substantial growth in recent years, yet the market is technically still in its infancy. For this reason, it's imperative to set your sights on finding a vendor that has the credentials to “back up” their claims. Scan credible review sites to read feedback from customers who offer details on their experience with the company in question. Any DRaaS service provider can talk the talk. It's those who've assisted customers in real-world disasters who truly walk the walk.

Rock-solid Infrastructure

Most organizations bind to at least one set of regulatory standards. A service provider and their IT infrastructure will go a long way in meeting compliance requirements. Some data center features to look for include state of the art security, redundancy across all essential network components, and a location that is both close enough to keep networking costs affordable, yet situated far away from disaster-prone areas (if possible). The Uptime Institute is an excellent resource for getting familiar with data certification requirements that can help meet applicable standards — compliance-related or otherwise.

Flexible Service Terms

The beauty of cloud computing is all in the flexibility. Though not created equal, all DRaaS solutions should embody this element from various perspectives. For starters, it should offer your choice of recovery destinations as well as the option to restore entire systems or individual files. Flexibility also extends to control by allowing you to add or subtract resources as needed. No two organizations are the same, so look for a service provider that is willing to tailor a solution around your business requirements.

Recovery Transparency

A comprehensive DRaaS solution should provide intimate knowledge of the recovery process. Before entering an arrangement, ask the service provider for specific details on the following:
  • How long does it take to restore a system or data set?
  • How well will your failed systems perform when ported to the cloud?
  • How long will the provider maintain the recovery environment? Are there additional charges?
  • How long does it take to transition from your backups to your live system operations?
  • Is there any risk of data loss or downtime when failing back to your live operations?
In short, you need to know exactly what actions the service provider will take if you experience a failure at your place of business.

Comprehensive SLA's

The ability to recover your systems hinges almost entirely on the DRaaS solution you choose. However, service level agreements must cover many critical issues beyond backup and recovery. This includes transferring data to and from the cloud, accessibility, scalability, and location as you have the right to know where your information is physically stored. DRaaS SLAs should also be thoroughly examined to ensure all your concerns are addressed. We highly recommend getting together with your legal team and key stakeholders to help you negotiate terms that best suit your organization.

Regular Testing

A disaster recovery plan has very little value if it can't get your systems back up and running in a timely fashion. Testing that strategy is the only way to ensure everything goes as planned. A DRaaS provider solution should perform tests on a routine basis — all without disrupting your day to day operations. At the conclusion of each test, the vendor should provide documentation detailing how your DR plan performed. Those findings will ultimately determine your level of disaster preparedness.

Dedicated Support

Customer support is critical for any professional service, but especially when it concerns your business continuity. Should a disaster take place, you need to know what support options are available. Can you get someone on the phone, or are you limited to email or community support in a forum? What hours are the support team available? This is critical because doesn't operate on a schedule. Ideally, you want around the clock support 24/7 with access to as many communication channels as possible.

Do Your Homework

The combined pressures of compliance requirements and cybersecurity threats will likely keep DRaaS interest high for the foreseeable future. While the current market is plagued by inconsistent service options, vast pricing plans, and other issues, some due diligence ahead of time can help you secure the best solution possible.