Build resilience into hybrid systems: what IT leaders can do to get it right By W. Curtis Preston, Chief Technical Evangelist, Druva.

In today’s world, data resilience is business resilience. Yet, IT teams within organisations around the world are facing many challenges when it comes to building data resilience into their hybrid systems.

Not only must they handle greater volumes of data, but they must also work with different types of data, across different clouds. In the process, data becomes siloed, poorly governed, and at risk of ransomware, corruption or deletion. The creation of data silos, and the resulting inaccessibility to all data on demand, limits an organisation’s agility and ability to respond to increasing demands.

Another challenge is that the traditional approach to data protection is not architected for a hybrid approach, which makes it significantly more complex to scale or deploy to new environments. Many IT teams are now finding themselves using a variety of tools and storage platforms. This is not cost efficient, slows the pace of business innovation and maybe most importantly, creates new security challenges.

The next steps to doing it better

It is clear these challenges are ongoing, and won’t be going away anytime soon. Almost every business is migrating to the cloud to gain efficiencies and scale, through digital transformation. Cloud adoption has accelerated so much that now some estimate as much as 80 percent of enterprises have adopted a hybrid cloud strategy.

Adopting a hybrid strategy means the traditional way of doing things will no longer be effective. It can be confusing and complex to get the approach right, so what can businesses do?

Below are five tips for IT leaders to consider:

1. Centralised operations is a must: IT teams need visibility to the status of all their data from one control plane. By centralising data operations in the cloud, IT teams can utilise value-add services such as cloud disaster recovery, sensitive data governance, eDiscovery and defensible deletion. This will help teams do more with their backup data and turn it into a business asset.

2. Avoid the lift and shift approach: Whether it’s offered as-a-service or delivered via subscription, how a vendor implements its software in the cloud impacts management costs. On-premises software lifted-and-shifted into the cloud will significantly impact costs, whether it is running in the organisation’s cloud account or the vendor’s. What’s more, the lift-and-shift approach doesn’t allow systems to pre-restore data in advance and also prevents it from transferring data to the cloud if and when required. Just as you wouldn’t use a rental car as your everyday vehicle, this approach is neither cost effective or efficient. It is just a shortcut and comes with very little benefit.

3. Automation is your friend: Automation can benefit organisations by reducing labor and IT resource needs. Even if there is a lack of cloud/ IT skills, IT teams won’t have to deploy limited resources on tasks that can easily be automated. Using automation is an efficient option for completing many backup requirements with almost infinite scale, so IT leaders can focus on more value-add activities.

4. A hybrid approach requires cloud-native protection, designed with SecOps in mind: Protection should be built in the cloud for the cloud, while taking on-premises workloads into the equation. In addition, minimising exposure to ransomware and other cyberthreats requires an air-gapped solution built in the cloud and designed with SecOps in mind.

5. Consolidate cloud backup vendors: Using multiple backup products across cloud environments makes centralised reporting and compliance challenging, while also increasing complexity. Consolidate the number of vendors IT uses to protect globally distributed data across hybrid platforms. This is the only way to minimise data silos and achieve compliance with today’s stringent data privacy regulations.

It’s time to explore an alternative solution that provides deeper protection and infinitely scalable architecture for hybrid environments. To reap the benefits and implement the right strategy, IT leaders should follow the above steps to ensure their hybrid business systems are effectively set up to ensure resilience from the start.

Marc Garner, VP, Secure Power Division, Schneider Electric UK & Ireland The data centre sector skills shortage has been documented by industry publications and research firms for almost a decade. In fact, a report published by Gartner in 2016 found 80% of firms expected to find their growth held back due to a lack of new data centre skills, with the McKinsey Global Institute predicting a global shortage of 1.5 million qualified data centre managers as early as 2015.
By Drew Firment, VP of Enterprise Strategies at Pluralsight.
By Mohammed Rupawalla – Vice President and CTO – Digital & Data, Mphasis.
By Nathan Howe, VP Emerging Technologies, 5G at Zscaler.
By Gareth Meyer, Chief Operating Officer, Ultima.
Hybrid IT – avoiding the pitfalls and reaping the benefits By Omkar Nisal, Managing Director – UK & Ireland at Wipro Limited.
Data centres - the lifeblood of hybrid and remote working By Darren Watkins, managing director for VIRTUS Data Centres.