We all know it: Traditional disaster recovery and business continuity (DR/BC) options aren’t cutting it anymore. For years, only large enterprises could afford to build and maintain secondary data centers, which intended to provide predictable business resiliency following a failure scenario at a primary site. Of course, the objective is to replicate critical data, workloads, and computing assets, so failover to a mirror site can protect the business when a disaster strikes. Unfortunately, this goal is almost always unrealized due to infrequent testing, a lack of automation, and undisciplined maintenance. As a consequence, protracted recovery times almost always result, despite exorbitant expenditures on traditional mirror sites.

The extraordinary cost plus the complexity of maintenance, testing, and management of secondary data centers cause most companies to forgo business continuity solutions altogether. Yet, outages happen to all organizations. And every outage, whether large or small, has a very real business cost. In today’s 24/7 IT-centric world, business resiliency is no longer an option — it’s mandatory.

Fortunately, new disaster recovery as-a-service (DRaaS) solutions designed for the public cloud have changed the business resiliency game. Leading public clouds are much larger and more sophisticated than any private colocation site or remote enterprise data center. DRaaS solutions that use the public cloud as the mirror site for business continuity are dramatically more cost-effective and reliable. With these new public cloud-based DRaaS solutions, IT teams don’t need to live in fear of inevitable network failures, security breaches, software errors, natural disasters, and the resulting negative effects on productivity, revenue, and reputation. Below are a few reasons to put cloud-based business continuity on your short list of IT priorities:

  1. Eventually, your company will suffer a disaster.

    Tomorrow, a security breach or software failure could corrupt your environment, rendering many key virtual machines useless. A power outage or hardware failure might knock out a cluster. Your file server may crash, leaving you without access to critical files. Worse, a flood or tornado could take your entire data center offline. No company is immune to a disaster, regardless of the cause — and when one occurs, days or weeks of downtime are typical.

    The Disaster Recovery Preparedness Council recently reported that nearly 75% of companies are failing in terms of disaster readiness. Even more alarming, one in four companies have lost most or all of a data center for hours or even days in the last year. Getting your company’s applications and services back on track after a disaster is one of the most important tasks an IT team will ever face, but this can range from difficult to impossible without the right failover solution. When disaster hits, you’ll certainly wish you had prepared in advance to make the recovery process quick, efficient, and most importantly, successful.
  2. Cloud-based business continuity is ready for prime time.

    Most IT pros agree that cloud-based data backup is now mainstream, and many organizations are already using the cloud as a geographically remote site for backing up important data. But storing data in the cloud for recovery back on-premise obviously does not equal business continuity.

    Cloud backup solutions won’t let you restore operations in the cloud in the event of a failure. In other words, when an outage occurs, you’ll have to restore your workloads and data back on-site from the cloud, which requires time, effort, and hardware that many companies do not have. In many cases, restoring the workloads and data causes such major delays and negative business impact that the results negate the intended value of cloud-based backup altogether. This problem is exactly where public cloud-based business continuity can save the day.

    When DR/BC take place in the public cloud, large workloads and data sets are already stored there, meaning they can be easily and quickly brought online to help your business continue operations as soon as possible. Many of the latest DRaaS solutions enable you to test easily and frequently, whether with small monthly cycles or larger all-hands-on-deck failover tests of all workloads to simulate a complete data center failure. Unlike expensive outsourced DR/BC solutions, you can run as long as needed in the public cloud, then migrate data back on-premise during a convenient off-prime time — such as nights or weekend hours — as you address the cause of the outage.
  3. The DR/BC trifecta finally arrives.

    When you’re trusted with managing critical business data and services, IT teams need failover solutions that provide affordability, automation, and scalability. Public cloud-based business continuity delivers all three, and deployments have been growing very rapidly in the past 12 months. Thanks to the prominence and scale of Amazon Web Services (AWS), IT can leverage the low-cost, pay-as-you-go economics of the cloud for DR/BC, no matter the size of your company. AWS delivers compute and storage services with high reliability and scale, plus elastic IT-enabled capabilities, and the financial model is unparalleled by traditional colocation options or outsourced DR/BC options utilizing private infrastructure. The business continuity automation of the latest DRaaS offerings makes the public cloud a no-brainer.

    Many IT teams struggle to meet day-to-day business needs, let alone add the monitoring, testing, and secondary site maintenance that traditional DR/BC solutions require. Some managed DRaaS offerings provide expertise in cloud computing, hybrid IT, disaster recovery, and more to complement and expedite your journey to the cloud. DRaaS solutions can offer cloud-based DR/BC leveraging Amazon Web Services (AWS), tight integration with your on-premise VMware management and the expert services needed to ensure continuous protection. The result hits three major IT must-haves: DR/BC with affordability, automation, and scalability.
  4. Business resiliency is now within your reach.

    IT pros have several overarching complaints regarding their experiences with traditional disaster recovery and business continuity solutions: the exorbitant cost plus the complexity of maintenance, testing, and management.

    As companies turn to the public cloud to maximize infrastructure options with hybrid resources, they’re dependent on reducing management headaches and automating every step of the way. Rapid recovery from disasters, whether large or small, can only be achieved through automation, not by throwing bodies at the problem. Easy automated testing is the silver bullet that increases testing frequency and accuracy, which improves the effectiveness of any disaster recovery and business continuity solution. In fact, many CIOs are now prioritizing testing simplicity as a fundamental DR/BC requirement and considering only cloud-based DRaaS solutions that demonstrate this ability.

The good news is that business resiliency is accessible to organizations of every size, in every industry. And now that executives and IT decision-makers broadly recognize that the public cloud is a key ingredient in their overall infrastructure plans, they’re setting their sights on public cloud-based DRaaS as low-hanging fruit. If you’re still relying on traditional business continuity, or forgoing it altogether, it’s time to revisit your business resiliency strategy. After all, the success of your company is at stake.