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7 reasons to move DR to the cloud

By Mike Gault, CEO of Guardtime, special to Network World
February 11, 2013 03:23 PM ET

Network World - This vendor-written tech primer has been edited by Network World to eliminate product promotion, but readers should note it will likely favor the submitter's approach.

It's well-known that disaster recovery is vital to sustaining a business. Organizations simply cannot function without their IT systems. That first wave of DR solutions dating back to the 1970s created a safety net for computer systems, but still involved days of downtime. Modern-day disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) are a world apart.

If you remain unconvinced, grab a coffee and review with us the seven reasons why your business needs DRaaS today.

[ ANALYSIS: Disaster recovery in the cloud: Vendors jump in; enterprises wade

RELATED: Four questions to ask your cloud disaster recovery provider ]

1. Fast recovery. How much downtime is acceptable? If your servers fail, or if there's a lengthy power outage, or if a major natural disaster strikes, how long before you start losing money? The answer is, immediately. Even with a remote backup, the time it will take to get up and running again depends on the location of your backup and the capabilities of any remote systems. With a DRaaS solution in place you can work out your recovery time objective beforehand and rest assured that the downtime can be kept at an acceptable level. Service level agreements (SLAs) will see to that. [Also see: "Disaster recovery trial by fire ... literally"]

2. Safe backup. All too often companies keep backups at, or near, their existing setup. Some disasters will take out your on-site network and the backup along with it. If your company is the victim of a cyberattack or data tampering, then the backup may also be targeted. With DRaaS you have a remote backup that is securely stored. In short -- your data is safe.

3. Decreased infrastructure. Forget about having backup servers. You'll save a lot of cash because you no longer need to fork over for data storage and the attendant maintenance requirements. You can also free up some space or potentially close down your secondary backup site. The savings also extend to IT resources, freeing up IT staff for other tasks when they would have been running backups and testing data integrity. Your DRaaS provider should test and validate your backups regularly.

4. Flexibility. DRaaS solutions allow you to assess your business needs and work out which systems, or even parts of systems, you actually need to maintain. You can fine-tune your backup plan by selecting vital data to be backed up and specifying the recovery point objective that dictates the maximum gap between your most recent backup and a failure.

5. Only pay for what you use. Rather than going to the expense of a complete mirror site, like traditional disaster recovery plans, DRaaS allows you to specify the important systems and data. Since infrastructure resources are shared with other companies using the same DRaaS solution, you only need to pay for what you actually use. There is no wasted capacity or inefficiency.

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