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Volume 32, Issue 4

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Friday, 01 February 2019 20:18

Four Important Backup Strategies to Help Resolve the Data Backup Dilemma

Written by  MAT SHOWERS

Every enterprise confronts data backup challenges, and it is a problem that has become an essential one to address, requiring regular time and resources. Data backup can be complicated because data is often generated and stored in multiple formats and locations. Therefore, it must be protected in multiple locations – on-premises and across multiple clouds. It’s imperative to have a solution that can cater to the different data formats and types that users currently have, as well as, a solution that can support future business decisions and requirements. Increased data privacy regulations such as the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) add to the complexity.Protecting operational data – backing it up and assuring secure, rapid access - continues to be more difficult and expensive than it should be. Additionally, rapid technology changes complicate things further. Businesses need new approaches to cure persistent backup pains, to decrease capital outlays, bypass tedious maintenance requirements, and to remove expensive and unreliable legacy backup solutions. All of this is happening against a background where data velocity and scale have accelerated and put more pressure on the same valid tools and capabilities that we have always had.

Legacy backup approaches that are still in widespread use were designed decades ago for a slow-moving world based on physical infrastructure. As requirements for more complete data backup strategies expanded, remote locations were added, and new technologies bolted on. Backup, as an industry, is always the last to evolve when large industry change occurs. This often leaves insufficient processes to manage data in the cloud, especially when data spans multiple clouds. It’s more important than ever to understand key backup issues and to take actions that keep data safe, before a crisis strikes.

Enterprises must take the initiative to modernize their backup systems. Scalability, consistency, data control, and ease-of-use are fundamental requirements. Efficient and effective data recovery is central to application reliability. It’s time to simplify operations, eliminate unsustainable costs, protect against security threats, eliminate uncertain backup processes, assure rapid data recovery, and establish consistent practices across all data environments.

Here are four important backup strategies that will help resolve the data backup dilemma and lead to secure and stable operations, the ability to access data and protection without compromise, auditability, and protection from risk and disruption:

Plan Ahead and Plan for Growth

When business models and customer demands are constantly changing and evolving, it’s paramount to stay one step ahead of needs and expectations. Businesses consistently report annual data expansion of 50 percent and more. Too often, companies are just trying to keep up with the rest of the industry and customer expectations, putting their data at risk. When transitioning data storage to the cloud, it is important to pay attention to data governance, and ask yourself these questions:

  • Where is the data currently stored? Where is it moving to?
  • Who has access? Is it secure?
  • Is it recoverable? How much does the backup cost?

The added demands of regulatory compliance, such as long-term data retention, will require extended protection of backup and archive copies. Any data backup system needs to be flexible enough to scale up and out, or scale down when business changes.

Consider the Impacts of Not Having Backup

Although necessary, there is more to data backup than just protection. That includes understanding why some organizations still don’t utilize backup support. Data backup is insurance against business loss, which leads to the question, why are some organizations okay with taking on the risk of not protecting themselves? The price of an effective backup system can be quickly exceeded by the cost of disrupted business. Business disruptions are costly; the impacts from downtime are immediate, often leading to employee productivity being degraded and the integrity and intellectual property of the business put at risk. When the business is at risk, the cost of an effective backup system can seem minimal.

Enterprise class backup tools are the only way to provide large volume data recovery. Without it, there are prolonged downtime for the business, no matter where that data is, including SaaS offerings like Office 365. Therefore, it’s vital to maintain a consistent level of backup and to evaluate the repercussions that your organization could be facing if this does not happen to assess the risk.

Create Business Continuity for All Data - On-Premises and Multi-Cloud

Universal data protection is necessary to create a data management and backup strategy that protects and controls data where it resides. It’s pivotal not to make assumptions that cloud applications and SaaS data are protected without doing the necessary research. Make certain that all cloud data is properly backed up and compatible with your backup style. One way to ensure this is to create data audit trails. Too often, when data is copied, it can become vulnerable if the original layers of control are left behind. Data audit trails can track who created a copy, where it was accessed and for how long. This ultimately gives you complete control and tracking capabilities of your most important data. In the past, when all data was stored on-premises and accessible via a single tool, backup styles were easier to navigate and streamline. Today, companies may have multiple tools to view and access data which can complicate initiating a business continuity plan.

Ensure an Integrated Approach

It’s important to have a backup system that can create a cohesive and centralized backup style, without depriving your business of security. Legacy systems are ineffective, costly, and ultimately unable to practically protect cloud data. A solution to this dated backup system would be to reduce the complexity of the process and take control of the proliferation of data copies. Growth of data copies began with legitimate purpose such as backup, disaster recovery, test and development, analytics, etc. However, over time, separate systems, replication technologies and data silos have created independent and unsecured copies without central visibility or control. Data copies of mission critical or business critical databases created for test and development purposes are at risk in 77 percent of organizations. Therefore, it’s crucial to pay attention to security tools, know your backup style, control data access and eliminate data silos while managing shadow IT.

Planning ahead for growth, taking into account the impact of not having backup systems in place, creating business continuity, and ensuring an integrated approach will make it easier to ensure an efficient and effective system. An established, strong, in-depth defense protecting against data breaches is the first step to avoiding them altogether. When cloud changes the whole data landscape by replacing more difficult legacy implementations, implementing backup solutions should be a no brainer. However, it’s important to maintain a level of understanding across the multi-layered backup environment to ensure protection against all threats with the new possibilities that the cloud provides.

Showers MatMathew Showers is the product leader of BackupSimple at SoftwareONE, a platform, services and solutions company focused on delivering high value outcomes for our customers in a cloud world. With more than 20 years of experience working in the IT Industry and 15 years as a consultant, Mathew is a customer-focused and passionate advocate of cloud services and is focused on ensuring BackupSimple provides the best-in-class backup and recovery services to suit each customers individual need.