How to Choose a Disaster Recovery Solution - Zerto

Top 10 Considerations When Choosing a Disaster Recovery Solution

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Disaster recovery solutions come in all shapes and sizes with many still built around the idea of traditional backups being taken periodically. As the amount of data we rely on and our demand for digital services both keep increasing, disaster recovery is more important than ever to keep services online without losing valuable data. Choosing a disaster recovery solution as part of your data protection strategy that does not meet your needs could be another disaster in the making when you try to recover.


1. Recovery Time Objective (RTO)

When a disaster occurs, your highest priority as an IT professional, aside from the safety of your team, is getting your organization’s digital services back online. You want the lowest, or fastest, RTO possible. Depending on the solution, recovery can take from minutes to hours or even days. With a cyberattack, recovery can even take weeks or months without the right solution. If recovery time is critical to your operations, look for a solution that can bring applications and data back online within minutes once you have declared a disaster and started the recovery process.


2. Recovery Point Objective (RPO)

Like time, data is money and losing it can be just as disastrous as downtime. The more data we generate every second, the more we stand to lose in a disaster. How far back can you afford to lose data? A few minutes? A few hours? A day? With backup solutions hours and even days are common for data loss. Real-time replication solutions are the choice for only losing seconds worth of data. Ideally, this is how low you want your RPO to be.


3. Scalability

The number of applications we use and data workloads we need to protect keeps growing. A disaster recovery solution must be able to keep up with the number of workloads you want to protect. It is not at all uncommon for organizations to have hundreds, thousands, or tens of thousands of virtual machines between on premises or cloud infrastructures that need protection. Make sure the solution can scale to not only your current needs but future needs.


4. Cyber Resilience

Cyberattacks like ransomware are not only infiltrating IT environments to attack data but they are also going after backups, recovery data, and recovery systems to prevent recovery. Data Protection strategies are a key part of cyber security and disaster recovery plays a key role in performing cyber recovery. In terms of providing both disaster recovery and even cyber recovery, consider how the solution provides cyber resilience.

Does the recovery solution you are considering have specific measures in place to protect recovery data even if the recovery solution is compromised by an attack? Does the solution detect an attack and help you identify which recovery points are likely to provide the most recent data prior to the point of attack? Look for security features like role-based access controls, immutability, real-time encryption detection, and alerting, built for rapid air-gapped recovery paired with cleanroom recovery features that make sure your data is recoverable even against the worst cyberattack.


5. Extensibility and Integration

Global management systems and automation require extensible solutions to integrate with whether it is pulling in alerts, data streams, or logs or controlling those solutions remotely and with automation. Having full extensibility with APIs allows your management systems to assume full control and visibility into the solution so that it can be integrated and automated along with your processes for managing and monitoring.


6. Automation and Orchestration

Automation and orchestration are critical to the success of a recovery. In disaster recovery, reducing the number of manual steps quickly speeds up the recovery times. Once the decision is made to declare a disaster and initiate recovery, the process should be as automated and orchestrated as possible, bringing complex applications and hundreds or thousands of workloads back online within minutes.


7. Compliance

With cyberattacks rising, more and more regulations are being put in place both at national levels and industry levels to better protect data and business continuity. Verify that the solution meets regulatory compliance requirements relevant to your industry, such as GDPR, HIPAA, DORA, PCI DSS, and more, to avoid potential fines and penalties.


8. Testing and Validation

Without testing, a disaster recovery plan is likely to result in a second disaster when you try to recover. Being able to test regularly is the only way to ensure your recovery plans are going to be successful when the time comes. Being able to test non-disruptively, that is without disrupting both production services and data or disrupting protection, gives you the ability to test at any time and as often as you like. Frequent DR testing is essential. Ensure the solution includes robust testing and validation features to verify the effectiveness of DP/DR plans and procedures regularly.


9. Cost

Cost factors into any buying decision, especially a solution that is meant to protect you from disasters. With disaster recovery, the costs of the solution should be evaluated against the potential costs of not having protection. Determine the expected costs of downtime and data loss and factor in what multiple hours or days of either would mean to your productivity, customer satisfaction, and potential lost business. Evaluate the return on investment (ROI) of the solution and total cost of ownership (TCO), including licensing fees, hardware/software costs, maintenance, and ongoing operational expenses, to ensure it aligns with your budget and ROI expectations.


10. Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

When both implementing your disaster recovery plans and executing your plans in a disaster, having reliable, expert support is a must. Consider the quality of customer support and the responsiveness of service level agreements (SLAs) offered by the solution provider to ensure timely assistance and resolution of issues.


Don’t leave yourself unprotected!

Consider not just your current needs but the growing needs for recovery times and data recovery in the future. Choose a solution that you can rely on to keep your organization always on for years to come.

For more considerations, information, and a buying checklist for choosing your next disaster recovery solution, check out the 2024 Data Protection Buyers Guide.

David Paquette
Product Marketing Manager

David Paquette is a Product Marketing Manager at Zerto. He has over 20 years of experience in disaster recovery, backup, and business continuity solutions. Prior to Zerto, David was a Product Marketing Manager at Scale Computing working with hyperconverged infrastructure, edge computing, and DRaaS solutions. Previous to Scale Computing, David worked for over 17 years at Double-Take Software/Vision Solutions in various roles from software testing, systems engineering, product marketing, and product management.