Organisations often see backup as a pretty straightforward line of business expense. It’s separated from other IT investments like implementing artificial intelligence, undertaking digital transformation programmes or overhauling cyber security systems. Where they are viewed as necessary to take the business forward, backup is seen as something that’s just got to be done. Tick a box. Move on.
In looking at backup in this way organisations remove it from the core of their technology strategy and blinker themselves to the role it can play across the piece; for hybrid IT requires a hybrid data protection strategy.
Great data management is not an optional extra
It makes sense for an organisation to put backup at the heart of any IT investment strategy. Every technology project and service generates data. That’s unavoidable. From the moment an organisation starts 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 terms of informing development the specific product or service, working on new things, and informing 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 gets to the end point of a process that’s taken a product or service from seed to live there may be terabytes of data to handle. It might exist across a range of different teams from a test and dev silo to the embryonic workings of the product marketing team. Already data can have become fragmented, and it may even be being seen as ‘owned’ by different teams.
Having a strategy centred around backup from the very start can help avoid this. The best backup systems include ensuring data is de-duped and clean, 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 essentially the same data, or even data loss if failed prototypes or discarded marketing schemes are just put to one side and forgotten about.
Data management as a service – and that includes backup
Taking all this into consideration, 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 in particular an exponential growth in ransomware right now, this is not to be sniffed at. Indeed Bitdefender’s most recent half yearly threat landscape report notes a 715% increase in global ransomware reports. The report muses the rise may be due to perpetrators capitalising on the Covid-19 pandemic and the rise of working from home, as well as the ‘commoditization 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.
Achieving modern data protection in 2021
Getting to the point where data backup and recovery is hardwired into every data-generating step an organisation takes isn’t particularly hard, or particularly complex. But 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.
Perhaps considering all data management services as of equal merit would help – and that’s where data management as a service comes into play. If one provider can meet backup, disaster recovery, file and object services, copy data management, data security and governance requirements, the organisation can lever its spend for best value, and have confidence that backups aren’t something ‘other’ but something integrated. Backup data must be able to do more than act as an expensive insurance policy, and that means in 2021, you should rethink and overhaul your current backup infrastructure, and see the value of modern data protection.