There are disaster recovery (DR) steps you can take right now — even if you have few resources and no long-term plan. They may not be elegant, and they certainly won’t have the desired recovery time objective (RTO) you’ll ultimately want. However, if disaster strikes, they’ll save you from the worst consequences.
At Deft, we believe you can only start where you are. It’s our job to take the resources and capabilities you have and help you make the most of them. Even if you can’t partner with us for Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) to keep your business available 24/7/365, these steps will put you in a much better strategic place in the short-term.
Just remember: This is only for the short term. These are ways you can stabilize your data. Suppose you want to fix the problem and know you’ll be covered in a catastrophe. In that case, you need to meet with a DRaaS provider like Deft to implement an all-encompassing strategy that balances your budget with your appetite for risk.
When you have a real plan stretching from big-picture data security to the minutiae of step-by-step recovery plans — and the experts to help you execute it — you can have peace of mind regarding issues like cyber-attacks, data loss and power outages.
Disaster recovery plan step 1: Have a copy of your data off-site and on a different media type
Before you do anything else — even before you schedule a meeting with us — create a physical copy of your company data that you can store offsite. All the backup copies in the world won’t mean much if you’re storing them in the same facility that went offline in the first place.
Setting up one of the below options is a must-do in the short-term and will stand alongside a DR plan for the long term:
This method may not have as short a recovery time as the disk-to-disk-to-tape method outlined below, but it is comparably inexpensive and readily available — right now — to get your process started. It also has a significant benefit that other options do not: The resulting file to be stored is immutable. It can’t be changed once it is created. (For more about the benefits and cons of immutable storage, read this article.)
Tape is one of the least expensive physical formats you can use to save your critical data. Leveraging tape is probably the least expensive option if you deal with large (think petabytes) amounts of data. It’s not without its downsides, though. It still has a reputation for long recovery times, limiting its popularity. That’s a carryover from the days before dual-path processing, however. Today, recovery speeds have dramatically increased. If the capabilities aren’t available for this method, a shortcut to the shortcut may look like storing a set timeframe of data on-site — say seven days — then regularly vaulting it to a cloud service or a backup as a service vendor for safekeeping. You won’t be able to restore the latest version of your data, but you’ll at least have a copy from somewhat recent history.
Prices for SATA drives have come down so much since their inception they are almost competitive with push-to-object storage. You can ease your organization’s ability to recover substantially for just a bit more spend.
None of these will give you what you’re really looking for: A return-to-normal operations that’s nearly instantaneous. These SATA drives will do their job though, avoiding the very worst outcomes in case of a disaster.
Disaster recovery plan step 2: Standardize your definition of DRaaS
Before you go looking any further, make sure you know exactly what you mean when you use the term DRaaS. Many vendors benefit from confusion around the definition of Disaster Recovery as a Service, slapping the name on a wide range of services — from replication to hosting to just about everything in between. Those may all be good things to have, but that doesn’t help when trying to make a quick decision between two DRaaS providers only to realize they’re talking about wildly different things.
For true Disaster Recover as a Service, you need to be presented with something that’s full service. In this case, you should be looking for a provider who can create a comprehensive recovery plan, replicate your applications and data, automate failover and failback, configure your network to run during recovery, and test everything on a regular basis.
Think of it this way: If you’re getting DRaaS, your partner commits to a well-defined SLA. They will ensure your data is recovered and your systems are operable within a predetermined amount of time, doing absolutely everything to make it so.
A DRaaS provider has all the advantages of scale, managing the response for a whole range of partners.
Disaster recovery plan step 3: Find a DRaaS provider for the long-term
Most businesses did not start, prosper and grow with the dream of someday managing data storage, but that is what many companies end up attempting to do.
Corralling the large amounts of data that a growing business depends on can quickly turn into a substantial line item — and headache. While there’s a tendency to believe things can be handled cheaper in-house, using a DRaaS provider to manage your data’s recovery strategies might actually save you money. Per Gartner research, the price businesses pay to a DRaaS provider is, on average, 30-50% cheaper than the costs of setting up comparable infrastructure with your own IT team.
The costs are, however, always specific to your situation. At Deft, we’ll work closely with you to get a big picture understanding of what works best to keep your data safe and recoverable in case of an emergency.