Article by Cohesity managing director for ANZ Brad Newton.
When it comes to data backups, it's tempting to view them as a necessary but unexciting task. Investment in backup tools is seen as separate from spending on other areas such as artificial intelligence or cybersecurity.
However, looking at backup in this way risks removing it from the core of an organisation's technology strategy. If that strategy is one of hybrid IT, a hybrid data protection strategy will be required.
The importance of effective data management
It makes sense for an organisation to put backup at the heart of any IT investment strategy. Every technology project and service generates data, and that's unavoidable. From the moment an organisation begins to develop an idea, through to the test and dev, early sales and marketing, customer relations, and even through to retiring that product or service, there is data.
That data has value in informing the development of the specific product or service, working on new things, and supporting broader business decisions. The data may well also be subject to compliance and regulatory requirements. So, right at that point of germination, backup, restore, and archive policies are important considerations.
By the time an organisation reaches the endpoint of a process that's taken a product or service from idea to market, there may be terabytes of data to handle. It might exist across various teams, from a test and dev silo to the product marketing team's embryonic workings. The data could become fragmented, and it may even be seen as ‘owned' by different teams.
Having a strategy centred around backup from the very start can help avoid this. The best backup systems ensure data is de-duped and cleaned so that it can be backed up — and restored — at speed, and so that it is storage-space efficient. This helps overcome problems like data duplication, the development of parallel working, live streams of practically the same data, or even data loss if failed prototypes or discarded marketing schemes are just put to one side and forgotten about.
Making effective backups a strategic priority
Considering all this, the value in making backup a strategic priority from the outset becomes clear. Backup is a data management exercise, sitting alongside disaster recovery, file and object services, copy data management, data security and governance fulfilment. It is core to each of those other functions.
But that's not all. Prioritising backup has the added advantage of doing the utmost to ensure data security. With cyber-attacks continuing to be more prevalent and with exponential growth in ransomware, this is not to be sniffed at.
Indeed, a recent report from Bitdefender notes a 715% increase in global ransomware reports. The rise may be due to perpetrators capitalising on the COVID-19 pandemic, an increase in those working from home, and ‘commoditisation of ransomware-as-a-service'. But whatever the reasons might be, the figure is stark.
The fact is that IT service outages can hit at any time, and the reasons run from malicious attacks to accidental power outages. When access to date is denied, ‘why' matters a lot less than ‘when will I get my data back?' The best way to ensure the fastest, most efficient, complete and coherent recovery is to build backup and restore in from the outset.
Effective protection needs a shift in thinking
Getting to the point where data backup and recovery is hardwired into every data-generating step an organisation takes isn't particularly hard. However, it might require some strategic rethinking.
IT decision-makers need to take one simple step to start the ball rolling. They should stop thinking about backup and recovery as a business expense and start thinking of it as a strategic element of technology infrastructure.
For this reason, increasing numbers of organisations are embracing a strategy of data management ‘as a service'. This ensures that all components are managed effectively and backups can deliver significantly more value. Consider how your organisation could adopt such a strategy in 2021.