Expert SpeakStorage

Backing Up the Always-On Enterprise

Written by Mohamad Rizk, Manager System Engineers, Middle East at Veeam

World Backup Day 2019 was celebrated on the 31st of March. The concept of backups is controvertible for businesses with a clear vision and strategy. Some executives will tell you that having a plan B means that plan A will never work. There is one type of backup option which is almost universally agreed on as being a necessity though. When it comes to file storage and applications, backup and replication is widely considered a given. In practice, however, the importance of backing up is sometimes overlooked – an error which no business should fall foul of.

Whether it’s due to outages caused by hardware failure, cyber-attack or user error, you always need a plan B when it comes to business continuity and protecting the availability of data. When disaster strikes, IT departments are under pressure to minimise the impact of employees and customers as much as possible, and this is a continuous effort rather than a job which can be done once in a while. World Backup Day is an opportunity to remind businesses of the importance of protecting their data and having a disaster recovery plan in place.

According to statistics from the Market Research Future, the cloud backup market is forecasted to reach $5.6 billion by 2023, growing at a CAGR of 21% over a five-year period. Given the explosion of the global cloud computing market, which is expected to grow to $623.3 billion by 2023 at a CAGR of 18% over a five-year period, this growth in cloud backup is fairly unsurprising. It is still encouraging though to see that businesses are clearly planning to invest in backup and replication and taking data availability seriously.

After all, consumers are certainly beginning to take their own data much more seriously, with newsworthy events such as Cambridge Analytica and GDPR bringing personal data into mainstream public consciousness. The advent of GDPR also opens up the issue of consumers requesting to view their personal data – with businesses having a maximum of one month to respond to their request.

What businesses must remember, however, is that consumers, employees and customers live and work in real-time. In reality, people expect the information they request to be available at all times and shared with them in near to real-time. It goes with the territory of being able to Google the answer to whatever question pops into your head or ask Alexa how to carry out any task imaginable.

The biggest threat to data availability is an outage across a company’s IT provision. Given the complexity of data management ecosystems, with many businesses now exploring hybrid IT and multi-cloud strategies, IT departments have more plates to keep spinning than ever before. This can also be seen as a blessing. In the age of the cloud, businesses are not reliant on a single point of failure and can create virtual backups to remote locations for every packet of data they produce. This has to be balanced against the privacy protocols and value of certain data, as well as considerations such as budgetary constraints and business priorities.

To strike that balance, businesses can ensure that data is available at all times by having a robust cloud backup and disaster recovery strategy in place. After all, some data is more important to backup than other data. Mission-critical data and applications should be backed up continuously. Unplanned downtime is referred to as such because it can strike at any time.

So, backups need to be running as and when data is altered to ensure that the fundamental information and systems on which the business relies can be recovered to the state they were in when an outage of fault occurs. Solutions such as Backup-as-a-service (BaaS) and Disaster Recovery-as-a-service (DRaaS) provide continuous protection to business continuity.

Using op-ex based pricing, the ‘x as a service’ model allows businesses to pay for services based on what they use, rather than making restrictive capital investments up-front which lead to IT wastage. Crucially, organisations need to see their backup and recovery services as a fundamental part of their wider data management and cloud strategy.

Awareness of the value of data is on the up, so on World Backup Day, IT managers should take a moment to reflect whether their backup and recovery strategy is fit for purpose and in line with their business continuity needs. Given that the demands on data availability in the digital business continue to evolve, having a future-proofed infrastructure is a must for modern enterprises.

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Chris Fernando

Chris N. Fernando is an experienced media professional with over two decades of journalistic experience. He is the Editor of Arabian Reseller magazine, the authoritative guide to the regional IT industry. Follow him on Twitter (@chris508) and Instagram (@chris2508).

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