When Plan B goes wrong: Avoiding the pitfalls with DRaaS

When it comes to Disaster Recovery (DR), attention tends to be focused on major disasters like terrorist attacks, floods or large fires. In reality, these types of events are extremely rare – the circumstances under which most businesses require DR are far more mundane.

Jim in accounts deletes a vital spreadsheet, a server crash takes the company ERP system offline, Val opens an infected email attachment and ransomware begins to spread through the network – incidents that companies experience at least once every year.

Or even more regularly.

The human factor

When Computing magazine surveyed IT decision-makers, they discovered just 54% had a company-wide DR plan in place. More concerningly, 50% of those businesses test their provisions infrequently – once per year or less.

Why are businesses failing to test their “Plan B”? There are several potential reasons including a lack of available time and resources for testing or a lack of political interest in DR. Other businesses may avoid testing so they do not have to acknowledge failures – and the cost of fixing them.

In all these instances, disaster recovery is heavily reliant on manual processes. This makes them slow, error-prone and completely reactive. Given that DR is often invoked to reverse errors caused by human error, relying on processes that may further compound the issue is ill-advised.

In the age of data-driven operations, DR must become smarter, faster and more proactive. And this is where Data Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) can help to build a Plan B that works.

A fail-over mechanism is essential

Traditionally, effective disaster recovery relies on a co-located secondary data centre that takes over in the event of a failure at the primary site. This is a significant administrative and cost overhead – one that is beyond the budget of most small and medium-class organisations.

With the advent of cloud resources, this function can now be outsourced to a Data Recovery as-a-service provider. This means that virtually any business can begin implementing – and testing – a proper Plan B.

Not only can they scale their DR provisions at will, but they also have the option of applying intelligent technologies to managing fail-over and recovery processes. Using automation will limit the potential for human error throughout the recovery process and accelerate many low-level admin tasks. This will free up staff to focus on other activities that help restore operations.

Seek professional help

There is a multitude of potential DRaaS services to choose from – but not all are the same. To avoid problems with your Plan B, consider:

  • Scaling – do we need to specify capacity requirements in advance? Are we likely to over-or under-provision?
  • Security – will our security provisions be replicated in the cloud, or are we leaving data potentially exposed?
  • Complexity – as our on-premise IT complexity increases, will our DRaaS partner assist with replication into the cloud?
  • Egress – Adding data to the cloud is cheap, but what are the costs if we want to get it back, or to migrate to another service?

Answering these questions is vital to ensuring Plan B continues to deliver value now – and into the future. For more help and advice on avoiding DRaaS pitfalls, please get in touch.

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