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March 2, 2021 | Matt Pacheco

Top 3 FAQs About Cloud-Based Disaster Recovery

Data is piling up in organizations, challenging their IT staff’s ability to keep pace with security and backups. A single data breach, ransomware infection, equipment failure, or an unexpected power outage could quickly become a catastrophic event, especially when it results in vital data loss. Backup and disaster recovery (DR) are increasingly critical insurance against a variety of IT disasters. Cloud-based disaster recovery has gained popularity as a lower cost, faster to implement, and less time-consuming DR solution.

Cloud-based disaster recovery comes in many different models, with different costs and benefits. It’s important to consider these multiple factors when selecting your disaster recovery environment. In a recent webcast on disaster recovery, TierPoint’s Vice President of Product Technology, David Hines, and Zerto’s Director of Technical Marketing, Gijsbert Janssen van Doorn, discussed common questions about cloud-based disaster recovery.

What are the most common types of cloud-based disaster recovery?

A major advantage of cloud computing is the wide variety of options to choose from, including private cloud, public cloud, and Software as a Service (SaaS). The same is true for cloud-based disaster recovery.

Disaster recovery solutions, like Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS), can help IT teams that lack internal expertise and the time to manage their own environment. A DRaaS provider takes care of the infrastructure and disaster recovery application while the customer manages his own data and DR environment.

Also read: Is Disaster Recovery in the Cloud Better?

Public cloud-based disaster recovery, like DRaaS, provides the cloud infrastructure. But unlike DRaaS, the customer owns, implements, and manages its own DR software.

In-cloud disaster recovery isn’t so much a type of disaster recovery as a use case. In-cloud is simply cloud disaster recovery for mission-critical applications. DRaaS or public cloud-based disaster recovery are good options, as long as they are used to back up another cloud application or cloud storage – not a legacy or onsite production environment.

Finally, there is disaster recovery in the private cloud, which is entirely owned and managed by the end-user. A company may implement a private cloud environment in its own facility or pay a cloud provider for dedicated private cloud infrastructure. Either way, the customer shoulders the infrastructure and staffing costs.

“Private cloud is great for companies that have an IT group with enough skills and time to create their own DR solution,” said Hines.

The advantage of private cloud disaster recovery is the dedicated resources. With public cloud solutions, the infrastructure is shared to minimize costs, which can result in inconsistent performance. With a dedicated private cloud, the customer pays for the resources regardless of whether it uses them.

“That gives you additional assurance that, if disaster strikes, you’re not going to be worried about whether your applications will be available at the time and performance level I need,” said Hines.

An organization may use any of these models in combination with other types of cloud or non-cloud applications and platforms. Multicloud environments are ubiquitous today, as companies strive to provide optimal environments and resources to their different workloads. That may mean having one application in a private cloud with another on the public cloud while using software as a service for other applications.

“There is enormous flexibility with cloud-based disaster recovery,” noted Hines. “You can have one environment that is dedicated and strictly controlled, which you pay more for, and another environment that is less controlled and less expensive.”

Why do businesses choose cloud-based disaster recovery?

One indication that you need cloud-based disaster recovery is a rapid or constant increase in your company’s workloads and cloud data. A rapid growth in data and workloads can challenge IT departments to keep pace, especially on a limited budget. Cloud disaster recovery can be scaled up quickly, for much less upfront commitment, than an on-site data center.

Time is another benefit of cloud-based disaster recovery. Many IT teams today are tasked with executing digital transformation projects, which take up most of their time. Cloud-based disaster recovery takes the burden of backups and DR maintenance from your IT staff, so they can focus on more critical projects, said van Doorn.

Cloud-based disaster recovery also provides security advantages and can help to mitigate malware and ransomware attacks by protecting your backup from infection. Separating your production environment from your DR environment, you prevent malware from spreading from the production systems into your recovery data and applications, noted van Doorn. If ransomware hits your main system, you still have an up-to-date backup that is free of infection. Cloud-based disaster recovery could save you considerable money in ransom fees and security costs.

“If you have both the backup and production systems connected over the same network, there is a risk of a ransomware or other attack propagating across both infrastructures,” he explained. “Separating them provides an air gap that gives you an extra line of defense.”

How do costs compare between cloud and non-cloud disaster recovery?

Cloud-based disaster recovery carries fewer infrastructure costs than does a physical, non-cloud DR environment. Customers of cloud-based DR and DRaaS pay a subscription fee to use the cloud provider’s hardware, software, network, and other infrastructure components. As with all cloud services, customers share the infrastructure costs. That offers major savings compared to the cost of building your own, dedicated DR facility, which includes utilities, security, hardware, software licensing, security, and the facility itself.

“One of the reasons that [in-house] DR is challenging to organizations is the cost,” Hines said. “If I have expensive systems running my production applications and housing my data, it’s a daunting expense to fund DR systems of sufficient scale to replicate and recover my production systems. “

Management and administration is another cost of both on-site DR and private cloud-based DR. Once you’ve created the DR environment or data center, someone needs to manage and monitor it to ensure the system will be available.

“Businesses fall into the trap of building it, then letting it drift and degrade over time,” noted Hines. “We’re all stretched very thin in the IT industry, and some things like backup and DR tend to take a back seat. That’s dangerous.”

Fortunately, cloud services such as DRaaS can ensure backups and recovery processes aren’t left to chance. Additionally, using a professional DRaaS service means that your DR environment follows industry best practices with experts on hand to troubleshoot any problems.

“You have to ask if your organization can do this all on its own or would be better off going to a provider for help,” said Hines.

“Providers such as TierPoint offer a variety of technologies and services to make DR successful,” he said. “We can assess a customer’s production environment, help them do business continuity planning, and guide them in selecting the right mix of solutions and services.”

Watch the full cloud-based disaster recovery conversation and learn more

Get more advice and insight on disaster recovery and the cloud, watch Hines’ and van Doorn’s webcast. Interested in learning more about Disaster Recovery in the cloud and bolstering your disaster recovery plan? Contact us today and read our Strategic Guide to disaster Recovery and DRaaS.

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