08 March 2021  —  Acronis

What is offsite disaster recovery?

Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud
for service providers

Offsite disaster recovery (DR) is a business continuity strategy where an organization’s production systems and data are replicated and maintained in a location away from the office and production systems themselves.

There are two methods used for offsite DR:

  • Production systems are replicated to an offsite data center or server.
  1. Hot data center. When a disaster happens, the system automatically fails over to a hot data center or at-the-ready offsite server and will fail back once the production system is back up and running.
  2. Warm data center. If you have a warm data center, your production system will also fail over to your offsite DR system, but you will lengthen your Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs) and lose data depending on how often you run your backups.
  3. Cold data center. In cases where you have a cold data center, you will need to install systems, applications, and data before you can use these systems, increasing your recovery time objectives (RTOs).
  • Production systems are replicated to a private or public cloud. When a disaster happens, your systems will automatically fail over to the private or public cloud infrastructure and fail back to the production system once it is back in operations. 

An offsite DR strategy is an important component of the 3-2-1 backup rule, which stipulates that you keep your data in three places, across two media, with one backup stored offsite, such as in the cloud.

Benefits of offsite disaster recovery

If you replicate your systems to an offsite server/data center located at least 150 miles from your production systems, you significantly improve your chances of recovering from a disaster. In these cases, your internal IT team will be responsible for developing, testing, and executing your offsite DR strategy, from replication through failover to failback.

Unfortunately, it can take days or weeks to recover from a disaster if you are replicating to a cold data center. You will need hardware, software, and staff to install the software and load the data before you can fail over to the offsite DR system. While a cold data center is an inexpensive DR option, it can significantly increase RTOs.

Instead, many organizations choose a disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) alternative. Cloud-based disaster recovery is a cost-effective and scalable option.

  • It shifts the responsibility for DR management to your third-party cloud provider, eliminating the need to purchase redundant hardware/software and hire IT staff to manage the time-consuming DR orchestration process.
  • It reduces your recovery time objectives (RTOs) to minutes, even seconds. Physical or virtual data and applications from your primary systems are replicated to a cloud data center, keeping the environment on stand-by and at-the-ready for a quick failover when a disaster happens. Quick recovery avoids expensive downtime, which can cost an average of $5,600 per minute.
  • You can easily scale up cloud resources as your business (and data volumes) grow without the need to purchase more hardware and software.

Do I need offsite disaster recovery?

Disasters come in many forms, including natural disasters, such as a hurricane, tornado, fire, flood, or pandemic, and human-made disasters, such as accidentally deleting critical files or a cyberattack – all of which can destroy or bring down your production systems. Disasters such as these will also impact your onsite DR systems. Yes, a cyberattack can affect your local backups, rendering them useless for recovery. In many cases, cybercriminals will target both your production systems and your local backups. There are many reasons why it is vital to have an offsite DR strategy. Offsite DR is NOT a nice to have, it is an absolute requirement to ensure business continuity.

Offsite versus onsite disaster recovery

While offsite DR has critical advantages, onsite DR can also be beneficial for different reasons.

  • For certain kinds of outages, such as a hardware or software failure, onsite DR helps you mitigate data loss and reduces your recovery point objectives (RPOs). Onsite DR replicates data near real-time via a local area network (LAN) versus a slower internet connection or wide-area network (WAN) used with offsite recovery.
  • You can reduce recovery time objectives (RTOs) when a disaster happens or latency when you need to recover selected files/folders. It is faster to access an on-premises system using a LAN versus traversing an internet connection to access a cloud infrastructure.
  • You can better predict the ongoing costs of an on-premises DR solution. With DRaaS, costs will increase when a disaster happens because your organization actively accesses the cloud infrastructure for day-to-day operations.

However, if your organization chooses an offsite DR strategy that relies on maintaining servers or a data center located away from the production site, there can be several disadvantages.

  • If you have a cold DR site, you must invest in and install hardware and software at the time of the disaster. This can take time and will increase your RTO.
  • If you have a warm or hot site where hardware is already in place, you will be paying for redundant hardware or software used only when a disaster happens.
  • Whether you are maintaining a warm or hot site, you will need to maintain the hardware and software at these offsite locations.
  • You will need to hire technical staff to develop, test, and execute your offsite DR strategy.
  • Your team must ensure that your DR strategy meets all regulatory compliance requirements.

Acronis’ DR solution protects all your systems and data

DR strategy choices can be tough to make, but there is good news. Acronis offers solutions for both large and small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that can ensure you follow the 3-2-1 backup rule using one solution and a single pane of glass.

For example, larger organizations with IT budgets and staff can manage DR in-house with Acronis Cyber Disaster Recovery. This solution is built on top of Acronis Cyber Backup and ensures quick failover of your critical physical, virtual, and cloud workloads to the Acronis cloud or an on-premises DR site, reducing downtime from days and weeks to hours and minutes.

Small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with smaller IT budgets and minimal IT staff can engage an Acronis managed service provider (MSP) that can deliver a DRaaS solution built on the Acronis Cyber Cloud. With a DRaaS solution, an MSP can monitor, deploy, test, and remotely manage all of your data and provide multiple layers of protection, including backup and disaster recovery.  

About Acronis

A Swiss company founded in Singapore in 2003, Acronis has 15 offices worldwide and employees in 50+ countries. Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud is available in 26 languages in 150 countries and is used by over 20,000 service providers to protect over 750,000 businesses.