7 tiers of disaster recovery

Disasters can happen to business IT systems at any time and at any place. IT failures and malfunctions can never be completely ruled out. This applies not only to natural disasters, but also to simple human errors or cyber-attacks. Any of these situations significantly affect business operations, so a company's ability to withstand emergencies depends on their disaster recovery plan.

Disaster recovery (DR) is the process of getting an organization's critical IT systems back up and running. A disaster recovery plan (DRP) is a document that contains the steps for data recovery; it includes a list of responsible employees, their roles and responsibilities; a sequence of actions to protect and restore the IT infrastructure.

A well-designed DRP allows an organization to continue providing services to its customers, partners and employees during unplanned interruption as well as significantly reduces data loss.

Remember, disaster recovery strategy is not the same as a backup strategy. You should implement them both, yet understanding the difference between DR and backup is critical for protecting IT-infrastructure.

In the late 1980s, the SHARE Technical Steering Committee described service tiers for disaster recovery. They developed a model, that used tiers 0 through 6. Later, an additional seventh tier was added. The seven levels for business continuity is a method of determining current service levels and associated risks.

Disaster Recovery Service Levels

Level 0: No off-site data

In this case, recovery might be impossible at all. The company has no business continuity plan – neither stored information, nor documentation, nor backup equipment, nor emergency plan. Accordingly, the time required for recovery is unpredictable.

Tier 1: Data backups with no hot site

Businesses with Tier 1 continuity solutions back up their data at specific intervals and then physically send those backups to an offsite facility for storing. Depending on the frequency of backups creating, the organizations should be prepared for days or weeks of data lost. At this level, the backups are securely protected off-site, but there is no system for data recovery.

Tier 2: Data Backup with a Hot Site

The same disaster recovery provisions as tier 1, but additionally provides a backup system at a remote location, commonly referred to as a hot site. It handles the same data processes as the main system. If a disaster occurs, backups can be restored on this backup system. This approach allows for faster system recovery because you need to restore only the data, not the system itself.

Tier 3: Electronic vaulting

Based on the Tier 2 components but has the additional provision that critical data must be permanently backed up to a remote server (electronic vault) via a dedicated channel. Since the bandwidth of such a channel is limited, backups can only be performed for predefined, critical data.

Tier 4: Point-in-Time Copies

Designed for organizations that require greater data integrity and faster recovery than lower tiers. Solutions include hard drives. Data is copied between the primary and secondary sites, with each site backing up the other.

Tier 5: Transaction Integrity

The solutions used by companies, which require data consistency. Data is continuously transmitted across sites (production data center and data recovery centers), so there is no data loss.

Tier 6: Zero or near-zero data loss

Demonstrate the highest level of data integrity, with little or no tolerance for data loss. Data recovery is a high priority. Such a solution often requires some form of disk mirroring.

Tier7: Highly automated, business integrated solution

The highest level of DR scenarios. It Includes all components used for Tier 6 solutions with additional automation. Data recovery is automated, allowing fast and reliable recovery of systems and applications.

7 tiers disaster recovery

Disaster Recovery as a service

Cloud4U offers Disaster Recovery-as-a-Service (DRaaS) for organizations that do not have the capacity or resources to deploy and configure a disaster recovery plan themselves. It is a cloud-based service for rapid disaster recovery of servers replicated in a backup data center. The service helps minimize business losses caused by infrastructure failure in the event of a technological disaster or natural disaster, as well as restore a working system if the main data center fails.

The main feature of the service is the continuous replication of IT infrastructure from the company's local network to the cloud. A copy of the infrastructure in the backup data center is always ready to take the load at any moment. Backups run in the background and do not slow down the operation of the IT system. In the case of any failure, the user can launch a virtual copy of the servers in just a few minutes.

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