What is disaster recovery as a service, and how can it serve Federal Health customers?
By Robert Barresi, Enterprise Architect
As we said in Part I of this article series, disasters happen, and organizations must be prepared by having disaster recovery plans in place. We explained what disaster recovery as a service (DRaaS) is and how it ties into cloud and cybersecurity. In this installment, we explore why health agencies should invest in DRaaS and Octo’s approach to DRaaS in Health.
Why should a Health government agency or organization invest in DRaaS?
Investing in DRaaS offers numerous benefits to health and government agencies or any organization looking to offload the responsibility of managing and orchestrating disaster recovery processes and operations of their data, applications, and infrastructure. Some of these benefits include the reduction of capital costs that can be removed from a DRaaS cloud-based model. Other cost savings include removing the need for skilled IT and security staff required to design and manage a traditional disaster recovery remote site and eliminating the on-going maintenance and testing of a physical disaster recovery site.
DRaaS also offers more advanced capabilities, security, and functionality, as well as helps organizations meet business service level objectives (such as recovery time and recovery point, discussed in more detail below). This is largely because of the sophisticated options and integration of software-as-a-service (SaaS) and DRaaS which provide easier management of the disaster site and greater insight of alerts, metrics, and analytics.
Lastly, the use of DRaaS results in a greater level of business continuity assurance and heightened security with less manual effort because having a partial or fully managed DRaaS third party that continuously updates and monitors the data, infrastructure, securities, and operations minimizes vulnerabilities and delivers extensive protection against cyberattacks, now and in the future.
What is Octo’s approach to DRaaS in Health?
Octo develops and implements a cloud-based DRaaS solution that applies cloud-based cybersecurity layers into an organization’s network and infrastructure to protect their data, applications, and business operations from malicious exploits and attacks. Octo implements advanced technologies in layers, including artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and deep learning (DL) modalities such as regression techniques/prediction and/or user and entity behavior analytics (UEBA). This approach protects every layer of network, application, service, and system, including user authentication and access controls. By integrating these technologies into DRaaS solutions and combining them with on-premises or native cloud environment, we offer heightened analysis and learning patterns to detect advanced attacks and prevent cybersecurity breaches.
How does Octo help customers decide which services are needed?
The preferred cloud services in today’s market offer a multitude of options to meet the infrastructure and operational needs of every business. Octo offers DRaaS with any cloud offering a customer chooses. We can design a cloud based DRaaS system to be as robust or as minimalistic as our customer requires, and it is our job to help our customers figure out what will work best for them.
We start by helping our customers evaluate and determine the most effective cloud based DRaaS solution that fits their needs and business model, no matter the industry or budget. Our staff of highly skilled IT engineers and architects assesses, designs, and implements a DRaaS for each customer’s enterprise. This process includes identifying the customer’s experience with cloud services, helping them understand the differences among cloud providers (i.e., AWS, GCP, Azure, etc.), prioritizing their needs, and developing a budget to adopt the right cloud service provider.
We also customize a cultural model that supports the customer’s modernization efforts to migrate from their current platform to the next generation of technologies. We believe strongly in promoting balance and a union of philosophy, mindset, and action that starts with leadership and management and permeates through an organization’s staff. When needed, we’ll provide information to managers seeking buy-in from executive leadership.
Octo helps organizations adopt a DRaaS that meets the needs of the business to support customers and provide continuous operations even in the event of a disaster. We work with existing environments to design a DRaaS model that links on-premises technologies with cloud based services. We also make recommendations on how customers can take advantage of new innovative cloud offerings, including compute, storage, automation, serverless, cybersecurity, and many other available services.
As an agency that relies heavily on data analytics to make decisions, how does DRaaS protect data and ensure it is highly available for AI and ML?
DRaaS addresses both Recovery Point Objective (RPO) and Recovery Time Objective (RTO):
- Recovery Point Objective (RPO) refers to how much time or data loss impact can be sustained without causing significant damage when an application or system fails.
- Recovery Time Objective (RTO) refers to how much time it takes for an organization to resume normal operations following a disruptive event.
DRaaS protects data and operations to meet the criteria and/or risk level of the business. The cloud offers numerous levels of DRaaS to meet an organization’s specific needs, including continuity of network connectivity, systems operations, and performance, as well as access and functionality of health-related applications.
DRaaS also offers automatic responses to a disruptive event, detecting and responding by redirecting IT services to the disaster site for continuous operations that also minimize data loss.
Finally, DRaaS supports AI and ML-based data, including high performance computing and analytical environments that operate at extreme rates of data and processing across an immense array of systems.
How does DRaaS help with HIPAA compliance while ensuring data availability and security?
DRaaS supports HIPAA compliance, ensuring recovery and data loss is minimized through a strategy that includes protection against failed hardware, services, and cyberattacks. In the event of an outage or disaster event, securities are always on to protect patient-sensitive data or protected health information (PHI). We use a combination of network, physical, and operational processes to safeguard data and access with security tools and private networks designed to support HIPAA standards.
How does cloud based DRaaS support remote care that is becoming increasingly common?
An advantage of cloud based DRaaS is that it spans physical and virtually hosted systems and application environments and can be managed remotely through a cloud management console. This functionality allows an organization’s IT team to implement, support, and manage the DRaaS levels of complexity for high availability of cross site/region or availability zones, scalability for redundancy of systems (such as read replicas for database systems), and backup operations along with snapshots for data recovery purposes that satisfy business RTO and RPO requirements – all vital to remote care.
A DRaaS solution can also significantly reduce IT resources level of effort on disaster recovery management and support. DRaaS in cloud can be deployed within hours or days, depending on the size of the environment. In comparison to traditional or legacy disaster recovery strategies, it may take several weeks or months to design and implement a disaster recovery site. A DRaaS model reduces complexity to simplify the disaster recovery solution, reducing costs and IT level of effort to support the disaster recovery solution.
How can customers learn more about Octo’s cloud-based solutions?
At Octo, we have firsthand experience with cloud service offerings, including AWS, GCP, and Azure, as well as other providers and partners in the industry. We have implemented cloud based DRaaS solutions for multiple Government health organizations, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and their institutes, centers, and offices.
These customers have large-scale government environments with compliance, regulatory, and highly secure requirements, providing Octo experience that puts us at the forefront of innovation to help implement and support business continuity and disaster recovery requirements. For more information on how your agency can make the transition to DRaaS, reach out to a member of Team Octo.