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DRaaS is becoming the first choice of disaster recovery options for businesses. By 2018, more organizations will be using Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) than traditional recovery services, according to research by Gartner Inc.  The average yearly growth rate of the DRaaS market is estimated to be 46% through 2021, according to research firm MarketsandMarkets.

There are many good reasons for companies to embrace DRaaS, but according to TierPoint Product Manager Dale Levesque, there is one overriding motivation: decreased downtime.  An outage of a company’s IT systems can bring its operations to a standstill, causing not only loss of productivity but loss of revenues and, potentially, lost customers.

“The need to reduce downtime has become much more important, critical even,” notes Levesque.

During TierPoint’s recent webinar on The Unique Challenges of Disaster Recovery in a Hybrid IT World,  Levesque pointed to research from the Ponemon Institute that estimated the average cost of downtime to companies has gone up 38% over the past several years. (Click here to calculate your company’s downtime costs.)

Live Webinar 8/9/17 @1pm CT: The Unique Challenges of Disaster Recovery in a Hybrid IT World - Register Now

Enter DRaaS, which offers significantly faster recovery times than traditional shared-storage DR or expensive secondary data centers that were once a standard solution for large corporations. While traditional DR solutions can protect data and enable companies to recover after a disaster, they don’t do it quickly.

“It can take 24 to 48 hours to bring up your servers and re-hydrate your data,” explained Levesque. “With DRaaS, on the other hand, your recovery time can be minutes.”

Downtime is the biggest, but not only, reason to adopt DRaaS. In his webcast, Levesque identified five additional factors driving DRaaS  adoption:

(1) Cybercrime is on the rise. Cybercrime, particularly ransomware, is increasing at an alarming rate and is a top cause of business downtime. The Ponemon Institute estimates that cybercrime is responsible for 22% of downtime, more than double the rate from weather related disasters such as tornados and floods. (In fact, weather accounts for just 10% of downtime.) Outages caused by cybercrime have a long-lasting impact and can affect multiple systems. Worse, they can cause more than monetary damage. When the WannaCry ransomware attack hit the UK’s National Health Service last May, it locked doctors out of patient records, forcing them to halt treatment or work with limited patient information, putting thousands of lives in jeopardy.

(2) DRaaS is now more affordable. As with most cloud services, DRaaS can cost less for a company, especially companies that can’t afford, or justify, traditional enterprise-level DR. In its June 2017 Magic Quadrant for DRaaS, Gartner noted that a major driver for customer adoption of DRaaS is cost reduction or cost avoidance, with 61% of the customers surveyed by Gartner citing that as a primary goal.

“DRaaS requires less IT, it’s easier, and you don’t have to have duplicate servers, power and cooling equipment,” explained Levesque, adding that the cost of DRaaS continues to fall. “Four or five years ago, DRaaS was about 25% of what traditional DR costs. Today I’d argue it’s probably just 10%, and it’s gone from an industry average of $200 per server to $100 per server.”

(3) SMBs demand enterprise-level DR. 80% of small businesses have experienced downtime at some point, with costs ranging from $82,200 – $256,000 for a single event, according to IDC’s report The Growth Opportunity for SMB Cloud and Hybrid Business Continuity. That’s a lot of lost revenue for a small business, and a major reason that SMBs are turning to DRaaS to reduce downtime.

Levesque credits SMBs with being the early adopters of DRaaS, before larger enterprises realized the advantages of cloud DR.  “They said ‘downtime is expensive, we need the same enterprise class protection the big companies have.’ With DRaaS they can protect a small environment. “

(4) Hybrid IT complicates DR. Almost every company has a hybrid IT environment with some mix of on-premise or collocated servers, multiple cloud applications, cloud-based storage, and team members who are logging in from multiple locations and devices.  Implementing and managing backup and recovery for all of those systems in a cohesive manner is simply more than most IT managers can do on their own.

“We no longer have homogenous workloads. Now companies need to protect their Office 365 and their virtual machines in AWS or in a private cloud and their colocation sites,” explained Levesque.

A good DRaaS provider will have the expertise and the technologies to manage the DR for a variety of hybrid environments.

(5) DRaaS vendors add more options. As IT environments become more complex, DRaaS providers are expanding their capabilities and developing more flexible technologies. Two features that DRaaS vendors may provide include recovery of individual files (vs entire servers) and point-in-time recovery that lets a user pick any time during the past month to restore, both of which are extremely useful in recovering from a malware infection.

“Vendors are recognizing that people may want to failover to multiple sites, not just one, or bring up workloads and copy them to another environment,” explained Levesque.  The pressure on IT organizations to keep systems up and running 24×7, coupled with the increasing complexity of IT environments, will continue to drive DRaaS adoption, said Levesque.

“In the past, you could afford to be down for hours, even days in some cases, but today it’s not okay to be down for even an hour.”