Ransomware attacks are on the rise in Canada, and unfortunately, the pandemic has simply given rise to a new opportunity for these attacks to proliferate. Taking advantage of people’s fears about COVID-19 has led to an uptick in malicious websites and emails all designed to do one thing: steal your data. In many cases, this data is not only encrypted – with ransom demanded (usually in the form of bitcoin) – but that data is also often sold to the highest bidder on the dark web.
According to Cybercrime Magazine, ransomware is expected to attack a business every 11 seconds by the end of 2021. In the last few months, there have been reports of:
- Canadian coronavirus researchers being targeted
- Ransomware attacks on two Manitoba law firms
- A massive phishing attack being conducted against the Royal Military College in Ontario
The techniques used by cybercriminals to infiltrate networks using ransomware are becoming increasingly sophisticated. It’s not a matter of if you’ll be attacked, but rather a matter of when. To better prepare your organization for this inevitability, the right infrastructure and strategy are crucial, and the most important tool in every organization’s arsenal will be DRaaS.
What is DRaaS?
DRaaS – Disaster Recovery as a Service – is a cloud-based solution for offsite backup and disaster recovery that provides a way to avoid paying exorbitant ransoms when ransomware strikes, making it easier for organizations to recover from numerous catastrophes, such as:
- Ransomware and cyber attacks
- Natural disasters, such as hurricanes, tornados, floods, wildfires, etc.
- Equipment failure
- And in the present day, a global pandemic
Your organization may still suffer from an attack, experiencing some downtime as you reboot your network, recoup your data from an offsite source, and then rebuild.
However, that process is much quicker and less costly than the alternative: paying a ransom and then working to unencrypt and restore all the files that were damaged in the attack.
How does DRaaS work?
Instead of organizations being forced to maintain costly servers and run backups to their own machines, DRaaS allows them to partner with a service provider like The ITeam to use advanced software that simplifies the disaster-recovery process. DRaaS uses a cloud-based solution that regularly backs up data and IT infrastructures to a third-party cloud computing environment.
This cost-effective, modern approach to backing up critical data allows organizations to recover rapidly from virtually any disruption – and because the data is stored off-premise and isolated from the network, it can be a viable solution for stopping ransomware demands in their tracks.
Why is DRaaS an important service?
One of the primary principles in disaster planning and recovery is the establishing of a secondary location to store and access data. This is done to prevent the total disruption that may result from the loss of the primary location.
Just taking into consideration what has happened in 2020, with both a global pandemic and international civil rights protests, disaster recovery planning is critical to business continuity. Those two unplanned and ongoing events caused many organizations to be isolated from, sent home from, or prevented from entering their primary locations.
That doesn’t even take into consideration the growing sophistication of ransomware attacks that all too often find their way into a network through an errant click in an email or a regrettably downloaded file. It also doesn’t include the potential number of natural disasters, such as fire, floods, and hurricanes, that can incapacitate a business.
DRaaS is the best practice for addressing those risks. No matter what the cause of the incapacitation, there is a backup that can be quickly brought up to speed, minimizing downtime, customer disruption, and dissatisfaction.
Benefits of DRaaS
DRaaS is the key to rapid recovery.
Regardless of the reason your systems go down, DRaaS delivers always-on recovery in the form of a low-cost, cloud-based solution. It’s not just about saving your data – it’s about getting back up to speed for the sake of your customers and ensuring an uninterrupted experience with your business.
DRaaS has become a more attractive option for SMEs that simply can’t compete for top IT talent due to the shortage of skilled IT workers in Canada, as well as tighter budgets. DRaaS can stretch the budget by eliminating the investments that organizations have been making in maintaining their own off-site disaster recovery spaces.
DRaaS and SMEs
For years, SMEs have avoided even considering a comprehensive disaster recovery option because it was cost-prohibitive. Investing in additional servers or rack units was beyond the reach of most small and midsize businesses. Virtualization, combined with DRaaS, has changed that for most SMEs. Offering a significant layer of protection, DRaaS is effective, affordable, customizable, and accessible to organizations of every size. The benefits include:
- DRaaS levels the playing field for SMEs. Large corporations can afford to invest in extra servers or offsite locations to house backup data. DRaaS levels the playing field of SMEs by building a data center in the cloud, making it accessible to even the smallest business.
- DRaaS offers cost savings for SMEs. DRaaS is much less expensive than real-world data recovery or expensive rack space.
- DRaaS offers improved compliance. For smaller legal, dental, and medical offices required to meet PIPA and other compliance requirements, DRaaS can be configured to meet the required level of security and audit trail.
- DRaaS keeps you in business. More than half of all small businesses fail after a disaster. DRaaS can help ensure that your business quickly and cost-effectively bounces back from any kind of disaster.
DRaaS vs. BaaS
DRaaS vs. BaaS: is there a difference? With “as a service” solutions becoming more popular, there has been growing confusion between DRaaS (disaster recovery as a service) and BaaS (backend as a service). They are different.
While both BaaS and DRaaS are parts of your overall disaster recovery solution, BaaS is the solution for your long-term data storage: company files, IP, employee information, and more.
DRaaS is focused on preserving the operational data and infrastructure upon which your organization is currently running. It’s designed to ensure a speedy recovery after any incident. While it is a larger investment, it is also the more critical one, to keep your organization operational when something unexpected happens.
BaaS is focused on reducing the cost of the storage; DRaaS is focused on reducing downtime.
By working with a managed services partner to protect your operations, you will not only obtain the disaster recovery solution you need but also the service, remediation, and management that will give you peace of mind.
Questions to Ask Your DRaaS Provider
- Are there limits to the line-of-business apps and platforms the DRaaS will back up?
- Are you offered local backups as well as cloud-based backups?
- What kind of file-size management does the DRaaS include?
- Are the apps, operating systems, and databases you use directly supported by the DRaaS?
- Is the data regularly synchronized?
- How long does it take to begin the recovery process after a disaster?
- Is the service provider available 24/7?
- Is there any self-service option for the DRaaS recovery?
- Are there significant losses in performance to apps and operating systems during recovery when they are hosted in the cloud?
- What kind of availability does the DRaaS provider guarantee?
- Is there a limit to the number of virtual machines that can be supported?
- Are there additional charges assessed while using the cloud backup during recovery?
- How is the restoration handled and how quickly?
- What risk is there of data loss during recovery?
- How much downtime must be planned for?
The ITeam’s Approach to DRaaS
The ITeam partners with Veeam® to deliver state-of-the-art cloud-based DRaaS. Customers will not remain loyal if you have to send them away because you cannot access their data. Whether you are a dentist, a lawyer, an accountant, or a roughneck who works on an oil rig, customers expect their needs to be met immediately.
Veeam® Backup for Microsoft Office 365 eliminates the risk of losing access and control over your Office 365 data, including Exchange Online, SharePoint Online, OneDrive for Business, and Microsoft Teams – so that your data is always protected and accessible.
DRaaS with Veeam allows The ITeam to provide:
- Fast, flexible failover of specific VMs or an entire site
- Streamlined failback with zero data loss and minimal disruption to users
- Recovery assurance, including support for replica and failover testing and alternating production between sites
- Seamless integration
- Protection for cloud applications
Your Backups Won’t Help if They’re Encrypted by Ransomware
Even if you meticulously back up your data, you are not safe from a ransomware attack if that data resides on your network or on your physical property. The only way to prevent a total loss of data as a result of ransomware (or the need to actually pay the ransom), and the only way to quickly and cost-effectively move forward from a ransomware attack, is with isolated recovery.
DRaaS addresses this need for offsite, isolated recovery without the exorbitant and unpredictable costs associated with disruption. It’s about more than the loss of revenue – it’s about the loss of your customers’ faith from which you will suffer.
Minimize Downtime, Cost, and Customer Impact with DRaaS
Every organization must consider continuity when developing a strategy and recovering IT systems quickly is a large part of achieving continuity.
If a disaster recovery plan is not an essential part of your organization’s continuity planning budget, then your organization should budget for ransom payments.
The threat is that serious, that likely, and that expensive.
Ironically, business leaders often balk at the idea of investing in DRaaS.
The combination of technology and a good managed services partner makes it a practical solution that not only protects you from ransomware but also gives you peace of mind regardless of the reason for recovery.
As technology fundamentally changes how we do business, serve customers, and address security threats, organizations must reevaluate whether their current backup and recovery strategies are meeting their needs.
The ITeam is committed to helping Calgary- and Alberta-based businesses develop proactive, cost-effective IT strategies that minimize risk and maximize efficiency. Contact us to learn more.