Jul
7

Outsourcing Disaster Recovery 101

Outsourcing Disaster Recovery 101

July 7
By

Offloading your responsibilities on to the shoulders of an outside party is a common business practice. A Forrester study revealed that 42 percent of respondents use some form of outsourcing for disaster recovery. That’s not the biggest shocker, but now it’s time to find out why outsourcing IT backup and recovery solution is a good solution for resource management.

1. Outsourcing Means Expertise at Your Service

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Simply coming up with a game plan makes disaster recovery a tough cookie to package. You’ve got to make sure all critical business processes have been identified. Probable points of failure have been thoroughly accessed. Backup and recovery systems put into place. Outsourcing affords access to the expert support needed to design and implement an effective business continuity plan. Being able to guide clients through a successful project is the mark of a valuable IT service provider.

2. Easy Implementation

A company that outsources disaster recovery isn’t entirely removed from the process. Some client actually enjoy a great degree of control over management functions. For example, you may have access to a web-based interface that lets you manipulate both the backup and recovery process at your command. Whether it’s scheduling backups, choosing the files you want to restore, or designating recovery destinations, the luxury to get up and running with little to no training is entirely possible.

3. Outsourcing Lowers Costs

Outsourcing is one of the most cost effective decisions you can make for your business.  According to a study conducted by Computer Economics, 92 percent of respondents cited that outsourcing disaster recovery resulted in costs that were either identical or lower than in-house efforts. Since they’re footing the bill for the hardware and infrastructure management, service providers are able to pass immediate cost savings along to the customer. Moreover, a favorable pricing model translates to transparency that makes costs easy to predict and manage.

4. Productivity and Profit Potential

Taming IT is challenging enough. Add disaster recovery to the mix and you’ve got the potential for full-blown madness. Managed solutions provide both an expert staff and infrastructure to support the customer’s data protection requirements. The service provider literally handles the heavy lifting in terms of implementing the technology, maintaining the software, and making scalable upgrades. Meanwhile, client staff is freed up to focus on aspects that enable IT to be more productive and have a greater impact on the bottom line.

5. Stability and Reliability

Recovery objectives are tough to meet when your IT department is already swamped. The going gets tougher when your network is thin on resources. Unfortunately, failure to restore data in timely fashion can be costly when the stakes are so incredibly high. Customers come to a BDR specialist expecting an infrastructure that meets their performance and availability demands. Whereas in-house projects may leave things up in the air, a managed solution can deliver peace of mind with bulletproof SLAs that guarantee recovery times from the start.

6. Data Protection

Security – both physical and digital – should be tightly integrated into business continuity planning. By outsourcing disaster recovery, companies can take advantage of a data center and infrastructure that is remarkably more secure than their own. Maybe you just need somewhere to keep a copy of your backups. In that case, there’s managed storage solutions that act as an off-site safeguard for your data. Everyone has their own data protection strategy in place, but security is one of those things you simply can’t have enough of.

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7. Compliance Support

Today’s businesses must satisfy a number of compliance regulations just to keep their doors open. SOX PCI DSS, HIPAA, FedRAMP and FISMA are among the many standards that have changed data center practices across multiple industries. For some vendors, expertise comes in the form certifications and credentials for specific regulatory mandates. These services offer immeasurable value when considering that they can help organizations save countless amounts in unplanned penalties.

Disaster Recovery Outsourcing Considerations

Outsourcing doesn’t completely absolve IT of all responsibilities. This sort of arrangement still requires careful planning and seamless interoperability between two environments. IT managers should keep the following factors in mind before offloading a single function:

Credibility: The continuity of your business isn’t something you can trust in the hands of just any vendor. Expertise, infrastructure, support, and location (domestic or international) are among the many factors to consider when choosing an outsourcing partner.

DR functions: Disaster recovery is a broad term that encompasses a wide range of functions and processes. Companies must think carefully about which aspects they want to outsource and which shall remain in-house.

Communication: Your ability to communicate as efficiently as possible is crucial during an emergency. Communication becomes doubly important when a third party is involved, so make sure you understand who to contact and how in a crisis situation.

Recovery options: The biggest difference in DR service providers is often the recovery options they offer. Be it bare metal or virtual recovery, those options should mesh with existing preferences and capabilities.

Compliance requirements: The aforementioned compliance standards influence both the access and distribution of your data. Finding a solution that helps in meeting regulatory requirements should be at the top of the priority list.

The Ups and Downs of Disaster Recovery Outsourcing

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The question of whether outsourcing disaster recovery makes sense comes down to the individual firm and the risks they’re willing to assume. Like just about every single business decision a company is forced to make, this one comes with a set of pros and cons. An IDC study found that organizations lost an average of $4 million per disaster when choosing not to outsource. On the other hand, organizations that did outsource lost an average of $1.1 million per disaster, highlighting the fact that simply putting sensitive business data in the hands of an outside party introduces new risks of varying consequences. Clearly there’s a lot to think about here.

Business continuity isn’t a single event or process. It’s a collection of integrated processes that encompass everything from backup and storage to data security and recovery. If existing DR solutions don’t cater to these elements, organizations won’t stand a chance when disaster strikes. By mastering the delivery of a function or two, IT managed service providers can help enterprises remove their doubts about outsourcing and position themselves as champions on the business continuity market.