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Zero Trust architecture – on the rise but still a rocky climb
One of the hottest topics in data protection is Zero Trust architecture. The validation of digital interactions has allowed us to close one of the biggest security issues of traditional data protection, stemming from an outdated assumption that internal networks are safe by default. As a result, Zero Trust network access is expected to be the highest growing segment in cybersecurity and data protection domains in 2023. However, this does not necessarily mean fewer data loss incidents, as it is almost inevitable to encounter failed implementations along the way. Zero Trust is on the rise but it still has a rocky climb ahead.
The return of old technologies to resolve modern challenges
2023 will see old technologies, such as continuous data protection (CDP), sometimes referred to as a real time backup, returning to tackle today’s challenges. This technology has tremendous potential for fighting ransomware and keeping up with the growing uptime requirements. However, as true CDP (continuous recovery in real-time) is impractical, the alternative “near” CDP (not real time but still enabling data recovery to specific points in time), will suit modern implementations.
Disaster Recovery is the new reality
With the rise of ransomware, and the increased demand for 24/7 availability, there has been growing interest from businesses in investing in disaster preparedness against threats. The previously held notion, that disaster recovery planning is only considered relevant to large enterprises, no longer holds. In 2023, the largest spike in ransomware is expected to arise from businesses that have not yet been attacked or invested in data protection recovery. Typically, these are organisations with small IT infrastructures that have previously put their trust in improvised disaster recovery. Instead, they should make sure to have a stress-tested strategy based on proven practices.
Cloud adoption and cost optimisation
The growing demand for cloud solutions and the increasing complexity of IT infrastructures will likely drive up the costs of cloud services, causing companies to look for ways to optimise costs. This will in turn firstly drive an increased focus on technologies that optimise data protection and management practices to reduce data footprint and offload the IT infrastructure. Secondly, organisations will opt for on premises options with the services of cloud providers by strategically combining on premises and cloud-based backups. Businesses will get the best of both worlds, on one hand secure and easily accessible backups, and on the other hand, the security of cloud backups to count on in the event of a disaster.
Immutable backup storage
With the ongoing threat of ransomware and the global recession likely driving the rise of ransomware gangs in search of easy pay, more businesses will seek to adopt reliable defence mechanisms. Data immutability, having already proved its effectiveness in helping businesses protect backups from ransomware and accidental data loss such as data degradation and human error, will be high on the list of essential data protection techniques in 2023.
Automation and machine learning
Automation and machine learning (ML) have shown great potential for improving data protection, and the role of these technologies continues to show momentum. Inventive implementation of ML is already assisting organisations with threat detection and analysis, while automation helps offload IT teams. However, cyber criminals are also aware of ML and are using it to carry out more effective attacks. With this in mind, automation and machine learning may well become the only feasible way to counter the evolving threat. A combination of ML and automated alert functions can help deal with these issues much more efficiently, with ML powered solutions reliably identifying suspicious links, emails and infected files that put the infrastructure at risk, at a fraction of the cost.
Multi-tiered storage beyond the 3-2-1 rule
Data tiering is another old concept that is becoming more relevant in recent years. This simple strategy has helped countless organisations prevent data loss incidents and will continue to do so in the upcoming year. The concept is getting to a new stage of evolution. With more storage options than ever before, the line between on premises and cloud storage is becoming blurred. This means that we can expect new models of the 3-2-1 rule implementation (3 copies of data on 2 different media, with 1 copy being off-site), that are not restricted by the limitations of legacy technologies.