Disaster recovery: in-house vs. outsourced

Disaster recovery: in-house vs. outsourced

by Veniamin Simonov, Director of Product Management at NAKIVO

Businesses fundamentally work with their customers on the basis of trust and loyalty, but in the event of a data-loss disaster, these relationships can be compromised. Although many organisations have disaster recovery operations in place, data can still be at risk if these systems are not foolproof. Failed disaster recovery can cause irreversible damage resulting in the loss of customers, revenue and productivity, and can even threaten the entire business operation.

One of the most significant factors to consider when developing this disaster recovery strategy is whether it should be developed and operated in-house or outsourced via an external provider. So, what’s the difference and which is best suited to your business?

‘In’ versus ‘out’

Traditional disaster recovery (in-house) and Disaster Recovery as a Service (outsourced; DRaaS) use different types of business infrastructure and resources. Traditional disaster recovery relies on internal infrastructure to manage data protection and recovery operations. This is where the appeal of traditional in-house solutions lies – businesses can ensure complete security of their data and applications as no third parties are involved.

On the other hand, DRaaS is recognised as an advanced category of computing that protects both applications and data from both natural disaster and human error. Able to recover data in one location by enabling a full recovery in the cloud, outsourced solutions such as DRaaS do not wholly rely on the success of the expertise held by a business’s in-house disaster recovery team. Traditional in-house solutions require designated staff that are competent enough to design, implement and maintain a disaster recovery plan – and this is no mean feat.

Although traditional disaster recovery tools are kept on-site and are therefore secure, data recovery may be more difficult should you not have the required personnel on hand to initiate the process. Although the costs associated with in-house recovery solutions are often complex, all depending on the detail and specific processes required by your protection strategy, they are still incredibly popular to date.  However, building a disaster-resilient infrastructure requires significant investment in purchasing servers, storage and IT equipment, and the development of a well-equipped, knowledgeable and dedicated maintenance team.

Reduced costs, heightened security

Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) eliminates much of the costs associated with building a traditional in-house disaster recovery solution. Building the primary in-house data backup site of an in-house solution, hiring an expert IT team, as well as purchasing the necessary equipment can make a significant dent in your budget – this is without the unexpected additional costs which come with your implementation plan and testing phase. With DRaaS, however, you can protect yourself from the unpredictability of in-house costs, and instead pay a third-party vendor only for the services you use.

With cyberattacks becoming more sophisticated year on year, businesses that rely solely on traditional disaster recovery methods may find surviving these attacks increasingly difficult. A combination DRaaS and in-house solution however can provide advanced data backup support. As DRaaS providers are incredibly knowledgeable and best equipped to deal with these threats, it is in their interests to address existing and potential security risks within their product’s functionality. This means that the combination of outsourced DRaaS expertise and in-house knowledge can create the strongest of disaster recovery strategies.

Speed, agility and scalability

Most DRaaS solutions offer remote control of processes and, in the event of a disaster hitting a primary data centre, essential data can be recovered in just a few clicks. However, both in-house and DRaaS solutions offer reduced business downtime, lowered costs and efficient site recovery. In addition, the ease of use and scalability of both DRaaS and in-house can address the demands brought by potential business growth via instant updates to the systems. Both scalable, DRaaS and in-house disaster recovery options offer various capabilities that help businesses overcome growth bottlenecks through easy scalability. At times, a business’s choice of system all boils down to whether it wants staff to manage it on-site, or whether an external contractor will be taking responsibility.

However, one thing to consider is that DraaS providers offer highly secure backup infrastructure that fully adheres to regulatory and compliance requirements both nationally and internationally. For many businesses this brings reassurance that they will always adhere to regulations in the event of a data-loss disaster. With in-house systems, staff need to ensure that regular updates are conducted and that any manual processes follow stringent processes and regulations.

Third-party troubles

Benefits aside, there are a few key considerations for those keen to proceed with a DRaaS solution. Although the underlying technologies are heavily encrypted and hugely secure, they aren’t completely foolproof. Organisations with particularly sensitive data may wish to consider whether they are comfortable allowing third-party access to datasets – a necessity for off-premise, third-party managed DRaaS.

Furthermore, like many modern technologies, DRaaS is reliant on a steady internet connection. With a poor connection, data backup to an off-site storage area such as the cloud – on which DRaaS is reliant – will not be completed properly or in a timely manner.

Key considerations

Ultimately, there are three main points to assess when considering implementing a DRaaS solution. To decide whether it is the most suitable option for your business, you must fully assess your disaster recovery requirements and decide on how strongly they are connected to your business. Furthermore, research is essential. This means that you must fully assess the whole range of DRaaS solutions on offer before making a decision.

Something often overlooked by businesses is conducting a proper assessment of internal IT infrastructure. It is vital to judge both its strengths and weaknesses, and whether the business has the proper financial resources to hand in order to implement a DRaaS solution before making the investment. Successfully implementing DRaaS relies on good assessment, proper process and IT staff that have a basic understanding of the protection of business data workloads. However, staff need not possess extensive knowledge of technical data backups – this is where DRaaS suppliers can fill in the knowledge gaps.

Winner of the “Best of VMworld 2018” Gold Award for Data Protection, NAKIVO is a US-based corporation dedicated to developing the ultimate VM backup and site recovery solution. With 20 consecutive quarters of double-digit growth, 5-star online community reviews, 97.3% customer satisfaction with support, and more than 14,000 paid customers worldwide, NAKIVO delivers an unprecedented level of protection for physical, virtual, and cloud environments.

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