With cloud services developing so rapidly that it seems as if every new application and platform is being sold “as a service”, it appears that business information systems are slowly being freed of the risk that is associated with keeping hardware and data on-site. As one might expect, disaster recovery is evolving as a result of cloud services to such an extent that disaster recovery itself has become institutionalized as a service. The driving movement of Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) coordinates well with a business that is using several cloud services while also allowing them to have their own applications and data integrated into the DRaaS providers system. Although this service is similar to life insurance in the sense that stakeholders likely hope to never have to take advantage of its function, DRaaS acts as a proof of concept that the virtual migration of a business’s information system to the cloud can change collective operations altogether. Furthermore, a service such as this that is truly effective may change a business’s understanding of what a disaster means.
While it is important to recognize what DRaaS implies regarding the future of information systems, (small to large) business operations, and future expectations for disaster consequences, it is valuable to acknowledge the benefits of using a service of this kind. Unlike other “as a service” cloud models, DRaaS providers have several responsibilities that extend beyond keeping a program running. The most competitive disaster recovery providers store data and applications in the cloud, virtualize servers, and perform regular backup functions. These backup duties can include regulating the backup process, taking retrievable snapshots of data within particular time frames, replicating information, and transferring stored backup data on to hard drives. When disaster becomes relevant, a DRaaS provider must also be able to then restore a business’s information system, which may potentially involve hardware solutions as well depending on the client. Nonetheless, these providers are true to their cloud model in the way that they integrate a business’s information system into their off-site servers in order to generally maintain a fluid IT experience even when a disaster is occurring.
As DRaaS allows a business’s information system to be completely restored following a disaster by keeping data, applications, platforms, and operating systems replicated and backed up at an off-site server, it is evident that this cloud technology creates portable information systems. Additionally, many of these applications do not even need to be backed up or monitored by a DRaaS provider because they are being delivered as a service themselves. On-site hardware is no longer a necessary undertaking for all businesses. Virtual servers make all computer processes available despite the immediate presence of hardware. Perhaps this may eventually lead to virtual offices, but this of course ignores the value of bringing a team to a single location in order to promote collaboration and communication. Regardless, mobility is an asset that makes office relocation, travel, and working from home far more feasible. These are important options to have especially in the context of the unpredictability of disaster. Ultimately, DRaaS clearly demonstrates that information systems are developing rapidly and creating an IT industry that relies heavily on knowing which cloud services, security solutions, and device integration options to utilize.
As mentioned before, cloud services are eliminating the need for on-site hardware. Although this may raise the alarms of a small business that does not want to be the victim of a malicious security threat while simultaneously building itself from the ground up, this can mean lower costs and a more comprehensible information system. More cloud services also means a changing role for IT service providers. Whereas previously IT consulting firms may have been responsible for organizing and maintaining a business’s hardware and server system, IT service providers now need to focus on device management, cloud services, and security. This may, however, lead to IT consulting becoming a more popular industry as small businesses will simply be looking for expert guidance rather than a manager for their entire information system. Of course, these services are not simply for small businesses. Cloud “as a service” packages often include basic to enterprise options that range drastically in price and capability. While large businesses may have a greater capacity for data storage and server management, cloud services themselves can be invaluable for businesses of all size.
DRaaS providers’ integration of the cloud model into IT restoration has truly redefined what a disaster means. In the past, disasters have crippled countless businesses to the point of no return. Those that have yet to upgrade their disaster recovery solution may still become a victim of the same fate. Technology of this sort, however, has the ability to truly make a disaster inconsequential. Of course, this is not true for all disasters, as they come in many shapes and sizes, and simply because an information system is being held off-site does not make that location invulnerable to disaster as well. As a result, data is constantly being replicated and moved around in order to ensure that a business’s failure is not the result of something that is out of its control. Security concerns are naturally raised by this issue, but those can provoke competition among DRaaS providers as they attempt to supply an effective and secure service. Overall, this new industry demonstrates not only the prowess of developing information technology but also changes the meaning of the word disaster entirely. As information systems are moved to the cloud, technology replacement may now be the greatest consequence of a disaster. Perhaps a disaster is becoming more of an inconvenience than a death sentence, and disaster recovery is being replaced by disaster evasion.