What is DRaaS? (Disaster recovery as a service)

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Disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) is a cloud-based solution that third-party cloud providers offer to small and large businesses to ensure data protection, limit downtime, and shorten Recovery Point Objectives (RPOs) when a disaster happens. DRaaS is offered through a contract or as a pay-as-you-go model, with payment based on any combination of storage, bandwidth, RAM, compute cost, and licensing fees for the backup software, depending on the disaster recovery solution provider. Service Level Agreements (SLA) can impact costs and documents the service an organization can expect from the provider.

With DRaaS, an organization’s systems and data are replicated to a public or private cloud infrastructure. If a disaster strikes the primary site, the primary systems will fail over to the recovery service, and the organization can continue operations. The DRaaS provider or vendor is responsible for the failover process.


How does disaster recovery as a service work?

Cloud computing enables disaster recovery as a service, or the third-party replication and hosting of physical or virtual servers, which provides failover in the event of a business disruption or outage. Here are the primary steps involved in the process:

  • Replication. Data residing in a primary site is duplicated and sent to a disaster recovery service provider who hosts the environment remotely. It is important that replication includes virtual and physical servers or delivers a “hybrid” solution since most organizations have infrastructure that relies on both. When data is frequently added or altered, the DRaaS solution should allow regular data snapshots to avoid data loss during failover.
  • Failover. End-user access moves to a secondary site hosted by the disaster recovery service provider during a catastrophe. Speed is of the utmost importance for DRaaS solutions, as any downtime can be detrimental to the business.
  • Failback. Data moves from the DRaaS provider’s environment back to the primary site. It is important to restart replication processes as soon as failback is complete to ensure continuous protection.
Failover solution by Acronis protecting Customer's Infrastructure

Is disaster recovery as a service right for you?

The 3-2-1 backup rule drives many organizations to embrace DRaaS. This rule stipulates that to ensure total data protection in the event of a disaster, you need to have:

  • Three copies of your data, one production version and two backups
  • Two formats for your backup, e.g., network drive, external hard drive, cloud, etc.
  • With one of those backups stored off-site, like in the cloud.  

The cloud makes it easy to meet the third requirement, eliminating the need for organizations to create disaster recovery data centers, back up systems and data to offsite virtual machines (VMs), or to disks and tapes that are stored off-site. Since backups are stored in the cloud, you can recover your systems and data quickly.

When considering a DRaaS solution, you have three different types to choose from:

  • Self-Service. Buy the solution and have your in-house IT team run it.
  • Assisted. Buy a solution that is supported by a DRaaS vendor who can offer advice or assistance as needed.
  • Managed. Outsource your DRaaS to experts who can devise your plan and manage failover and failback for you.

Choosing the right disaster recovery software or service could mean the difference between success and failure following a business disruption. Ensure your business continuity by safeguarding your data, systems, and applications – no matter what happens.

DRaaS for small business and enterprise

No organization is immune from a disaster. Whether your organization is a small-to-medium-size business (SMB) or international enterprise, losing critical data or customer information can cause severe damage. If you are a smaller business, the risks are greater because your organization may lack the personnel and budget to protect against risks – potentially putting you out of business.

You cannot function without access to your most critical data for an extended period. Whether the cause is human error, a ransomware attack, or an unforeseen natural disaster, the results can be devastating.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all disaster recovery solution. By combining backup computer software technology with a reliable IT disaster recovery strategy, you can stay up and running. But the disaster recovery solution requirements are as unique as your business. 

RTO (Recovery Time Objective) vs RPO (Recovery Point Objective)

Make decisions based on the following to determine which course of action is right for you.

Recovery Point Objective (RPO). The maximum amount of time that you are willing to lose data on your systems because of an event. Recovery Time Objective (RTO). How fast you can recover from the moment of a disaster to the moment you return to normal operations.

You can use three different destination options to back up and restore business-critical data: a local data center, in the cloud, or a hybrid approach.

With a local data center, business-critical data is stored off-site in a physical location but recovering from a disaster can take days or weeks. This is also the most expensive option, as additional facilities, systems, and staff are required.

Cloud-based disaster recovery is the most cost-effective and scalable option. With this option, a cloud data center is used to store critical systems (whether physical or virtual), data, and applications. Cloud disaster recovery (DR Cloud) allows an organization to keep entire virtual environments ready, reducing the recovery time from a business disruption or outage to minutes or even seconds.

A hybrid cloud disaster recovery (Hybrid DR Cloud) method uses a public cloud and a private data center (physical or cloud). This option provides the greatest degree of flexibility, keeps costs down, and meets any regulatory and compliance needs.

With all three methods, be sure to evaluate the pros and cons of each against individual business requirements.  

Benefits of DRaaS (Disaster Recovery as a Service) for customers

Businesses today have no tolerance for downtime, so DRaaS provides a critical bridge, allowing businesses to operate remotely while normal processes are restored. While natural disasters are commonly associated with the need for DRaaS, five of the most common reasons an organization uses DRaaS are:

  1. On-premises power outages
  2. Hardware and network failures
  3. Software, IT systems errors
  4. On-premises data center failures (not due to power outage)
  5. Security-related attacks

Quick recovery is vital to avoid costly downtime – both in terms of financial and reputational damage – and ensures your business remains competitive and compliant. By outsourcing disaster recovery to a DRaaS vendor, your organization can also avoid complex, time-consuming disaster recovery orchestration so you can count on the solution to work fast.

How does DRaaS protect the end-user?

With the future of remote work, end-user devices need DRaaS protection more than ever. Devices will continue to remain outside of the office firewall and are susceptible to malware and ransomware on an almost daily basis. 

While business applications and servers may be secure in a data center or the cloud, end-users working on laptops from home offices are not. These devices are more vulnerable and may also have more unique, and more recent, copies of data since remote work is now the norm. 

A great DRaaS solution covers all endpoints. If there is an internet connection, the device can be protected. For example, IT can use a disaster recovery solution to create a virtual instance of a laptop until new equipment is delivered to the end-user.  

Cost of disaster recovery services (DR Cloud) and downtime

Disaster recovery is often seen as a hard cost when it should be considered an investment. It is important to calculate the return on investment (ROI) of keeping data, systems, and applications secure. You can get the information you need by reviewing your budget to capture costs, such as infrastructure expenses (from staff to IT hardware) and calculate revenue losses. Your costs also depend on whether you choose a self-service, assisted, or managed DRaaS solution.

Disaster recovery as a service is cost-effective. Your business can access DRaaS for a predictable, flat monthly fee. On the other hand, if you choose NOT to opt in, your organization can lose up to $100,000 per hour of downtime, which is the average loss reported by 98% of organizations.  

Staying open for business just got easier

Given the wide range of risk accidental, malicious, and natural disasters that can threaten your business continuity, having a modern DRaaS solution is vital to ensuring your organization’s ability to withstand any catastrophe. 

An easy to deploy and managed disaster recovery solution like Acronis Cyber Protect Cloud Advanced Disaster Recovery delivers quick failover of your critical workloads to the cloud, improving your business continuity capabilities with ease. Ensure instant data availability of all critical workloads making your infrastructure more resilient and cost-efficient – no matter what kind of disaster strikes.  

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