Disaster recovery (DR) is an essential part of any company’s IT portfolio, yet most organizations don’t give too much thought to the type of DR solution best fits their needs. Whether to keep DR onsite or push it to the cloud, however, can be an important decision based on numerous factors including cost, downtime and manpower.

The most common DR approaches to protect against events such as hurricanes, earthquakes, floods, fires and tornados, as well as hardware failures include:

On-Premise Replicated Data Centers: This approach uses fully replicated data centers using replicated storage area networks (SANs), tape and disk backup solutions that back up physical and virtual servers deploying disparate or converged data protection solutions. On-premise replicated data centers include high-availability (HA) servers in one data center and DR servers at a secondary site, an approach that works well for many companies.

However, on-premise replicated data centers are build-it-yourself/do-it-yourself (DIY) and highly resource-intensive because they require proper power, cooling and network infrastructure at the DR site to support an entire data center failover. Additionally, they require human capital to maintain and support a fully replicated data center. Therefore, building and maintaining a secondary site for DR is an expensive option.

Furthermore, DIY DR requires expensive technical expertise, which often can be better utilized elsewhere within the company. Most SMBs and midmarket companies are deterred by the cost, complexity and resource-intensive nature of a fully replicated data center.

Collocation: Another approach is to house DR servers within a third-party collocation (colo) site. Colos are ubiquitous, well-understood and commoditized, which means IT can easily employ collocation services when needed.

However, just like replicated data centers, colos can be costly and resource-intensive. The ordering, setup and ongoing management of colos cost time and money. And colos typically are located in the same geographic location as the primary data center—IT staff generally choose a colo site located nearby so they can drive there to make hardware changes. Hence, colos are typically prone to experiencing the same disaster as the primary data center. And geographically disparate colos increase costs, since one has to pay colo operators to make hardware changes.

Cloud-Powered DR: The recent cloud storage phenomenon has given birth to yet another DR approach—the hybrid cloud DR. Instead of building a secondary DR site or using a colo site, companies can use the public cloud as the medium to store a secondary copy of their corporate data offsite.

The numbers demonstrate that companies looking to explore the benefits of cloud are adopting the hybrid cloud at a much higher rate than public cloud. Cloud adoption is fueled by many corporate, cultural and economic factors such as economic uncertainty, the ability to scale up or down (resource elasticity), time savings, data center simplification, need to free IT resources and personnel for newer or more critical initiatives (flexibility) and processing workload spikes during peak seasons. However, lower cost is the primary reason CIOs of organizations of all sizes are flocking to hybrid clouds in droves.

Cloud-powered DR is a new approach that combines the benefits of a high-end colo facility, geographic diversity (which the auditors love), fixed pricing (which finance loves) and managed services, taking care of the hardware and infrastructure changes while leaving customers in charge of their data.

If your organization has not yet explored cloud-powered DR, now is the time—you can considerably lower your data protection costs and ensure your data is protected.

Ashar Baig is president and principal analyst and consultant at Analyst Connection, an analyst firm focused on cloud computing, IT products and services and managed service providers. He has more than 18 years of high-tech industry experience. Baig also is founder and manager of the LinkedIn Cloud Backup group.