Once your organization has made the decision to
outsource
some of or your entire disaster recovery (DR) plan to an outside
firm, the work has
only just begun
. Before you can even find the company you want to go with,
you’re going to have to determine what functions of DR should be handled
in-house, and which should be handled by other firms.

In the vast majority of cases, there will be some functions
you want to keep under your own roof, even if you outsource the bulk of them.
You must clearly define the areas for which your department will take responsibility.
Some examples of this type of mixed-environment are off-site backup storage,
replicating data to a hosted facility, or augmenting your personnel with
contractors.

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If you are outsourcing only the off-site storage of backups,
you are responsible for creating the backups at your primary location and
managing them until they are handed off for storage. You’ll probably keep a set
of daily backups on-site, along with a weekly backup, or a copy of the weekly,
as the case may be. Outsourcing tape storage allows you to create a
fully-sufficient tape-backup rotation plan, while not having to take on the
expense of building or buying the facilities to host off-site tapes. Similarly,
replication to an off-site facility will involve some measure of contracted
outsourcing.

Unless you have a facility with the appropriate hardware,
redundant power, and networking, you’ll probably want to find a hosting company
that can both hold the data you’re sending off-site and manage and maintain
that infrastructure for you. In addition, you may want them to manage the recovery
process for you.

While outsourcing the entire DR process is expensive on its
face, you can often save a lot of money in the long run by offloading a lot of
overhead costs such as personnel, hardware, facilities expenses, and expertise
to a third party. There are many companies that can offer everything from DR
planning consultations to full-scale operational support in a hosted facility. Depending
on what your organization needs, you will be able to find a single company or a
series of firms to meet your needs. The most important thing is to clearly
define the responsibilities and negotiate a solid
outsourcing agreement
.