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Data Protection and Backup

No matter the dimension of your company, no matter the industry you are in, your company must think about storing, protecting, and managing growing amounts of business information.

Companies are seeing that critical and not critical business data, is increasingly extending beyond a centralized location within the organization spanning a distributed IT environment, a distributed number of employees (smaller branch offices of larger parent company) and often mobile workforce.

For these reasons it is imperative to protect data among this distributed set of assets and provide the means for business continuity in the case of data loss, no matter the business you are in – accountants, florists, doctors and many others – anyone is exposed if it does not have a secure data protection plan in place.

The ability to address in a proper way, these concerns of business continuity and data protection, are often limited by minimal staffing and restricted budgets. Thanks to the development of cloud-based storage technologies, new options have emerged to address the concerns many organizations have regarding data protection, business continuity, costs, and manageability, and these approaches, in conjunction with the traditional solutions, make easier to cope with the wide range of business needs.

Data Challenges

Companies today face many challenges around storing, protecting, and managing increasing amounts of business data, and the contingent plans must include thoughts about:

A distributed and mobile workforce

According to Forbes and IDC, companies never before in modern times, had workers having so much autonomy over their work days. With the proliferation of mobile technology, professionals can now work from home, on the road, or elsewhere. Already 1.3 billion people are untethered from their desks. That’s liberating for today’s workforce but challenging for managers who now must keep a distributed workforce motivated, productive, and satisfied. With a growing distributed workforce, the complexities range from protecting data across the diverse environment to the ability to collaborate and share business information among myriad users, is increasing every day.

Capital costs

The growth in company data volumes, is averaging 52% annually, and this has certainly an effect on storage and backup. Maintaining the appropriate levels of storage capacity can be costly. Backup in particular can really drain budgets. Eventually technologies such as deduplication can help, but, ultimately, more data needs to be protected every year, which has as a consequence the investment in additional backup infrastructure, including media, software licenses, tape drives, and media servers.

Operational costs

The nature of backups in most companies, means a never- ending process of checking for backup successes, troubleshooting failures, planning for capacity upgrades, dealing with performance bottlenecks, and initiating user restores. These processes require, of course, more human resources and divert technical talent from more strategic IT projects.

Management of removable media

Removable media is storage media which is designed to be removed from a computer, such as magnetic tapes, optical disks (including Blu-ray Discs, DVDs and CDs) and memory cards. Most disaster recovery programs include a best practice where data is moved offsite. This introduces several challenges, including physical longevity of the media, security risks, media collection cost. Media budgets need to be updated if data is retained on them for long periods of time.

Lengthening retention periods

An organizations needs to address compliance or regulatory concerns, which require companies to store data for long periods of time. Consequently, those organizations seek to address long-term retention with backup solutions, thus increasing requirements for backup processes.

Disaster recovery

Disaster recovery (DR) involves a set of policies and procedures to enable the recovery or continuation of vital technology infrastructure and systems following a natural or human-induced disaster. For many SMBs and branch offices, disaster recovery is often overlooked or is inefficient and ineffective because self-management of offsite data copies can be challenging and costly and may introduce security risk. Preparing for a disaster can mean the difference between business as usual and the end of business entirely. Yet with shrinking budgets, this valuable solution that could ensure business continuity is often cut, or simply not enough to invest in a comprehensive disaster recovery solution. The advent of cloud-based storage solutions, brought on the table a new way to think about storage, backup and data protection. Further, some vendors have introduced a hybrid data protection appliance and an endpoint backup and protection, which let companies choose what kind of backup solution is better matching their needs (data stored in public clouds, partially stored on site plus in public cloud, totally on site or company’s private cloud).

Customers are choosing IaaS platforms first, managed services second.

To deliver greater value to customers, cloud IaaS providers must improve the quality and efficiency with which customers can manage their infrastructure. They must find ways to reduce the burden of operational chores such as patch management and backups. While manual managed services are frequently used to substitute for automated offerings, efficiency demands automation instead of operators. Consequently, the choice of an IaaS offering ultimately impacts the quality of the customer’s IT operations. Customers who want to outsource the management of their Data Protection and Backup solution, will increasingly adopt a best-in-class IaaS offering, and then seek a managed services provider to manage it, rather than choosing to adopt a “managed cloud” offering from a managed services provider that can offer only basic IaaS capabilities on its own platform. Customers may extend existing outsourcing relationships to include management of a third-party cloud IaaS offering. Public and private cloud IaaS are converging. Service providers are increasingly using dynamic physical and logical isolation mechanisms to create “private” infrastructure within a shared, multi-tenant capacity pool.