Why Disaster Recovery as a Service is a Must for Businesses During (and After) the Pandemic

By Kenna Poulos

When a natural disaster occurs, businesses worry about things like the safety of their employees or possible damage to an office space. But there’s another important factor to consider: the status of their data centers. 

When Hurricane Sandy struck the East Coast in 2012, many data centers in New York and New Jersey were flooded and companies without a back-up plan suffered. Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) solutions are made for moments like these, ensuring businesses have a plan in place for any worst case scenario.  

And while the current pandemic isn’t a natural disaster, its effect on data centers is similar. Right now, businesses and their data centers are at risk, but instead of facing water damage and power outages—they are grappling with overuse and cyber attacks. As businesses look for ways to mitigate all potential damages during COVID-19, they should consider investing in DRaaS solutions. It will keep their data centers safe–and get them back up and running quickly if they do fail. 

DRaaS Solutions Can Prepare Data Centers For Extra Use

With company- and school-wide work-from-home mandates in effect, data centers are handling an influx of traffic as employees and customers perform their daily operations online. If not already prepared to handle this extra usage, data centers could crash. And if they do collapse, a company could experience downtime and incur financial loss. Every minute of downtime can cost anywhere between $926 and $17,244.

DRaaS allows companies to remotely monitor their data centers to ensure they don’t crash. For example, while working remotely, teams can check in on a server to be sure that it’s ready for deployment. With DRaaS, teams can also update data centers from afar to meet current needs—like to support increased usage patterns.  DRaaS solutions also implement continuous data protection so that data is replicated as it is written to storage (in other words, it’s constantly being updated). So if a data center collapses due to overuse, a DRaaS solution will step in and lower the number of recovery point objectives (RPOs): the number of files that an organization must recover from backup storage for normal operations to resume after data is compromised. With fewer RPOs, less data is lost—no matter the catastrophe at hand.  

Protect Against COVID-19 Cyber Attacks with DRaaS

When businesses made the quick switch to remote work, very few had all of the necessary security measures in place. Many jumped into a fully remote workstyle without VPNs, two-factor authentication or other security-related best practices, thereby making their data centers vulnerable. Worse, hackers have seized on this opportunity, striking at a faster and more frequent rate: the World Health Organization has reported a fivefold increase in the number of hacks, malware attacks and email scams. 

If a cyber attack does occur, a company could face data loss and a myriad of additional consequences like reputational damage, a loss of intellectual property and financial distress. A study from IBM estimates that the average cost of a data breach to a business is $3.86 million. For small businesses, the financial costs are even greater: 60% face bankruptcy within six months of a cyberattack. 

A DRaaS solution can protect a company’s data centers from hackers—or, at the very least, lessen the blow. Because instead of backing up your company’s servers to separate disks that can eventually be restored, DRaaS solutions back them up to the cloud. This puts all of a company’s data in an accessible location that can be operationalized or restored at a moment’s notice. And because these cloud environments are secure, isolated and only visible to specific tenants, companies and their data are secure and safer in case of a cyber attack.

Choosing DRaaS Over Traditional Methods 

Fifty percent of businesses have experienced a disaster bad enough to cause downtime, yet 30% of all businesses do not have a disaster recovery solution in place and 90% of them will not survive a catastrophic incident without one. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, companies are rediscovering the importance of a disaster recovery solution. In addition to DRaaS, there are several options to choose from, including backup as a Service (BaaS) and recovery as a Service (RaaS). And while BaaS and RaaS will help a company recover from a disaster if and when one occurs, they aren’t quite as effective as DRaaS. 

For example, after a disaster or ransomware attack, companies have to first determine whether their data is free of infection or damage. Most solutions do this through a process of trial and error and can extend downtime to be as long as four to five hours. DRaaS solutions, on the other hand, immediately identify whether data is safe to use so downtime is only about one to two minutes long. 

And unlike other disaster recovery options, DRaaS solutions offer predetermined failover plans. So in the case of a disaster or cyber attack, companies and their IT teams have a clear understanding of what they need to do next. DRaaS solutions reduce panic during a crisis situation and reduce its effects by adding processes. But to ensure that these failover plans are functioning properly, companies need to be able to test them. And while traditional disaster recovery options limit the number of tests companies can run, DRaaS solutions allow users to test backup plans as often and comprehensively as they like.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a helpful reminder of how unpredictable our world really can be. But with the support of a DRaaS solution, companies can protect employees, data and revenue from whatever the future holds. 

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