How do you evaluate DRaaS providers? Here are our three recommended considerations
So, you’ve decided that it’s time to invest in disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS). You know that your organisation needs to take DR seriously, and you think that the low upfront costs and ongoing flexibility of a cloud-based service will suit you best. You’ve built the business case and got sign-off from your business leaders. The hard part’s over, right?
Next, though, you need to actually choose a DRaaS provider – and this is where things can get really tricky. It’s a busy marketplace, with a number of expert parties clamouring for your attention.
Here, then, are three important questions to ask when evaluating potential suppliers.
How well do they understand your context and challenges?
You might think that DRaaS is a neutral service, something that looks very similar no matter what sector you are part of or which markets you operate in. But this isn’t the case. The kind of data and applications you need to back up and the protection they need; the speed at which you need to recover access to different elements; the regulatory frameworks you are subject to and need to demonstrate compliance with – all these elements vary according to the nuances of your organisation, and in turn affect the kind of DRaaS solution you need. As such, choosing the right DRaaS provider means ensuring that they have specific experience and expertise working for organisations like yours. Beyond this, they should have processes in place to ensure that get to know the precise objectives and operations of your business, so that, in the event of a disaster, they truly understand your priorities and parameters. DRaaS might seem like an out-of-the-box solution – it’s not.
What are their testing and feedback procedures?
DR is a dynamic landscape. It needs to respond to ever-evolving technologies and IT infrastructures, and ever-developing cyber threats. As such, the best DRaaS suppliers are the ones who continually review and update both their technologies and their procedures, in line with broader industry changes. Of course, most suppliers will tell you that they take a flexible, proactive approach to innovation, but you can check this more tightly by asking for concrete examples of their testing and update processes.
What do their datacentres and infrastructure look like?
This question is all about ensuring that the technical hardware behind your proposed DRaaS solution – and the connectivity with your own organisation – is up to standard. You should check where your proposed supplier’s datacentres are located, ensuring that natural disasters are not particularly likely to be a problem, and that they have access to carrier-grade connectivity.
What is their own DR plan?
Perhaps the best way of testing the honesty, integrity – and thoroughness – of your proposed DRaaS supplier is asking them what their own DR strategy looks like. After all, not only should they have one, it should also be more robust and comprehensive than anything they are offering you, for if theirs fails, all their clients fail. What’s more, they should be prepared to talk about it. Like asking where your travel agent goes on holiday or your restaurant manager goes to eat, asking your DR supplier how they handle their own disaster recovery is a striking insight into their attitudes and capabilities – the perfect foundation for making a sensible decision.