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June 2, 2023 | Matt Pacheco

BaaS vs DRaaS: What Are They and How Are They Different?

When it comes to backup and disaster recovery, there are ways certain services can overlap or work in tandem, and there are also distinct differences between solutions. While some businesses may be able to get by with Backup as a Service (BaaS), for example, others will need Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) to rest assured they will be able to recover critical workloads if faced with a disaster. This article will cover key characteristics, similarities, and differences between BaaS vs DRaaS.

What is Backup as a Service (BaaS)?

Backup as a Service (BaaS) is a backup solution offered by managed service providers (MSPs) for businesses looking to back up and protect their data for restoration at the file or system level. Instead of worrying about internal management of backups, organizations can work with a third party that offers reliable and secure backup services and use their team’s time to focus on other priorities.

What is Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)?

Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) is a cloud-based solution for protecting data and applications and full restoration at the system level, but is more focused on how these pieces can be recovered according to your recovery time objective (RTO) after a disaster. It’s not unusual for BaaS to be a service included or added to DRaaS. While BaaS includes data backup and data recovery, DraaS can include always on replication, as well as disaster recovery planning and disaster recovery testing.

Common Features of Backup as a Service (BaaS)

Centralized Data Backup

Centralizing data makes it easier to manage, and centralized data backup accomplishes this as well. Backups of virtual machines, databases, applications, operating systems and file systems can be managed in a more streamlined manner when centralized. This can simplify the process, saving time and money.

Simplified Scalability

As needs grow, BaaS can grow with them. Because the solution is housed within a third-party data center, system capacity can be increased or decreased without having to make any changes to the existing infrastructure. Cloud-based resources are highly scalable compared to on-premises frameworks, allowing you to change your backup requirements at a moment’s notice.

Security and Encryption

BaaS providers tend to have a number of security and encryption measures in place. Encryption can ensure the protection of your data in transit and at rest. Physical security measures can include firewalls and intrusion protection systems to mitigate attacks, as well as access control measures that limit who can is authorized to access the data. Working with a BaaS provider can reduce your organization’s risk of data breaches, improve compliance with various data protection regulations, and improve peace of mind around the security of your data.


Working with a service provider that offers BaaS can reduce many of the upfront and operational costs associated with setting up and managing a backup system. Organizations don’t need to buy any hardware, software, or other infrastructural pieces when working with a provider. They also don’t need to worry about the costs associated with managing a data center, network, or staff. Instead, the business is generally charged on a pay-as-you-go model for what they need in any given month or year. Moving from a capital expenditure (CapEx) to an operational expenditure (OpEx) model like this can save money for many organizations, especially those with small or highly variable workloads.

A chart showing how BaaS vs DraaS can lead to saving money for organizations with variable workloads

Common Features of Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)

DRaaS shares many features with BaaS, but also has an increased focus on disaster recovery efforts highlighting its specific role in safeguarding businesses from unforeseen disruptions, making BaaS vs DRaaS distinctively different.

Quicker Disaster Recovery

Recovery time objectives (RTO) should be determined by the maximum amount of time a business can go without their applications recovering and returning to normal. DRaaS can provide quicker disaster recovery that meets organizational objectives, as quickly as minutes or hours after the disaster occurred.

Continuous Data Protection

Continuous data protection (CDP) can be used in conjunction with DRaaS. With CDP, data is copied at regular intervals so it can be more easily retrieved in the event of a disaster. Even if data is lost or corrupted, it can be recovered with CDP.

Failover and Failback Mechanisms

Failover and failback mechanisms are complementary processes in disaster recovery. When a disaster strikes, failover moves the data and applications from the primary site to a backup site. After everything is over, the move back to the primary site, or in some cases, a new production site, is the responsibility of a failback mechanism. DRaaS can help streamline these processes and help make them faster depending on your RTOs and recovery point objections (RPOs).

Compliance and Regulations

Depending on your industry and line of business, specific disaster recovery features may be part of your compliance and regulatory standards. Organizations that need to abide by guidance set by GDPR, PCI, and HIPAA/HITECH, for example, may need to meet certain business continuity and disaster recovery standards in order to be deemed compliant. DRaaS can help you meet these standards.

BaaS vs DRaaS: Key Differences

BaaS Protects Long-Term Data Retention

Long-term data retention is important for data that needs to be stored for longer periods of time. Certain financial and healthcare information, for example, needs to be kept for longer to meet regulatory requirements.

DRaaS Protects Near-Term Data Retention

DRaaS, on the other hand, is focused on getting your applications back online and processing data  – retained for weeks or months instead of years or even decades. Data that is stored for shorter periods of time can also be recovered more quickly. DraaS is typically beneficial for protecting things like web server logs, transaction logs, and email.

How BaaS Data is Protected

Data is protected with BaaS by being stored in a purpose-build backup infrastructure or it can be copied to an offsite environment, which can be used to restore lost data in the course of normal business operations. Data recovery efforts can take longer than with DRaaS.

How DRaaS Data is Protected

Data is protected with replication, copying data as it changes to a DR site that can be used for failover post-disaster. Keep in mind that the speed in which this takes place is dependent upon the network and infrastructure designed to meet your RTOs and RPOs.

Complexity and Manageability

Complex environments can typically use DraaS or BaaS, or a mix of both, however, it depends on…

  • Your RPOs
  • Your disaster recovery needs
  • Your workloads
  • What you’re backing up

Business Continuity

Both solutions help with business continuity in different ways, but DRaaS will help an organization get back to their normal operations faster. For businesses where every hour without certain workloads is detrimental, their business continuity relies on a service like DRaaS to keep moving forward.

Cost of Recovery

When it comes to cost, BaaS is the more affordable option. However, this affordability can come with a greater length of time to recover. Organizations that have lower recovery needs or less mission-critical items can likely get away with just BaaS.

Time to Recovery

DRaaS, on the other hand, normally costs more than BaaS to operate, but can provide a much faster recovery time for the most important datasets. Organizations looking to use both DRaaS and BaaS could consider how they can prioritize their datasets, moving those that are the least time sensitive for day-to-day operations to BaaS solutions, while leaving the most critical workloads to DRaaS solutions.

How to Choose Between BaaS vs DRaaS

In many cases, making a choice about backup as a service and disaster recovery as a service isn’t an either/or question. Incorporating both services can help provide greater data protection, recovery, and compliance. However, for businesses looking to save money and start small, BaaS can be a solid first step. BaaS typically offers multi-year data archiving to support organizations with data retention compliance regulations, and less stringent RTO requirements.  DRaaS is a better fit for businesses looking to recover applications quickly from a disaster to resume standard business processes.

An infographic of how to choose between BaaS vs DRaaS

How a Managed Service Provider Can Help 

Whether you want to start with a baseline backup solution or prepare your organization for disaster recovery, working with a managed service provider (MSP) can take the load off your IT team and bring you back to business as usual quickly. TierPoint offers DRaaS and BaaS solutions to improve IT resiliency and ensure data availability. We work with several vendors that take the risk out of recovery and backup, leaving your team free to focus on other matters.

Are you ready to master your disaster recovery strategy? Download our eBook and explore the objectives and processes that make up effective disaster recovery plans.

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