Small businesses are increasingly seeing the advantage of software as a service. It’s a model that opens up new possibilities to them. There is little or no capital investment and a convenient pay-as-you-go subscription model. It’s no wonder that many SMBs are now using cloud business software they would never have thought of installing on servers on their own site. Cloud storage is even simpler. The data for entire small business can be uploaded without having to worry about investing in extra hardware or complex technology. But what about ‘Disaster Recovery as a Service’ or DRaaS for short – is that just for the bigger organizations, or does it have something to offer smaller enterprises too?
Beyond Data Storage
Sending data back-ups to the cloud is already a step forward. It’s typically mush safer than using local disk drives or burning CDs or DVDs to store data. However, in the event of an IT disaster, it may take more than a simple data download to restart operations. Floods, fires, lighting and even traffic snarl-ups can damage servers or make them inaccessible. And that banal but fatal disk crash can have the same effect too. Effective disaster recovery solutions must therefore handle a range of different potential problems and let organizations rapidly get their IT working again in all cases.
What Should DRaaS Providers Offer?
Your business may be small, but that doesn’t stop it from having the same requirements as bigger corporations. Computer downtime may be just as catastrophic for you as for them. So if DRaaS looks like a good idea, make sure you’re getting all you need.
- Recovery time. Making your IT available online may take a few hours, or as little as 5 minutes. Compare this with what your business needs and what it costs – and also with the other solution of trying to do it all by yourself.
- Special server platforms. Your enterprise may also be using particular applications or platforms in order to do business. Or you may require your data and applications to comply with specific regulations (health, financial or other). If you want to use DRaaS, make sure your provider gives you not only the right technical resources, but also any necessary regulatory compliance.
- Data back-up or online computing environments? Not every DRaaS solution includes both back-ups and replication of your computing facilities. If you want both items covered, check the service agreement before you sign up.
- Getting back to normal afterwards. Using a replicated cloud-based data center may be a godsend if your own IT facilities are out of action. However, when they’re back, you’ll want to transfer your operations back out of the cloud and into your normal IT environment again. So check to see if your DRaaS provider will really be there to help you complete the entire recovery process.
So Do Small Businesses Want DRaaS?
The possibilities above motivate small companies to look for smarter online solutions for safeguarding their data and their computing ability. There’s evidence to suggest that they’re taking action too, according to recent (2012) data from Gartner, the market research company. As many as 90% of DRaaS set-ups are for organizations running just 3 to 6 enterprise applications, with between 2 and 5 terabytes of associated data storage. While it’s better to think out your own solution rather than just copying what other SMBs are doing, statistics like these suggest it’s worth taking a look at DRaaS.