Looking back a decade or so ago, the ‘cloud’ was a new, slightly nebulous technology that no one entirely trusted, particularly with critical business assets, and remote working was a realm reserved for the select few. Fast forward to today, and thanks in part to the pandemic, cloud has become firmly entrenched in business, and the vast majority of us will continue to work remotely at least part of the time. According to Hemant Harie, MD at Gabsten Technologies, cloud has become a trusted tool for business people, and often given custody of our most critical business asset in the form of our data. "Data is constantly evolving, and we need a new approach to backup and data management to safeguard this asset in an ever-changing technology world\'.
Change is the only constant
For better or worse, gone are the days where people clocked in and out of an office building and their data could be fenced in with physical methods. Traditional backups using capital-intensive hardware appliances, static servers and fixed applications, are firmly a thing of the past. The workforce has become more mobile and more agile, and backup strategies need to follow suit.
He said that it is also unwise to simply rely on the fact that data is stored in the cloud as a backup method. "While there is some level of accidental recovery built in to most cloud data storage platforms, if there is a malware attack that encrypts data or blocks access to it, the fact that it is stored in the cloud will be of little assistance. This highlights the fact that data management has become critical, also particularly in light of the growing body of legislation around data protection and data privacy".
The cloud, along with emerging next-generation technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), make traditional approaches obsolete – service-based backups and data management to ensure always-on availability for a distributed workforce is needed.
Not worth the risk
"Without an updated approach to data management, businesses face high risk of additional downtime in the event of data loss, not to mention the impact of reputational damage. They also may find themselves unable to completely recover. With key staff working remotely and core systems being hosted in the cloud, and next-generation technologies becoming part of everyday business, the risk of an outdated backup strategy is increasingly high".
On the plus side, however, the more technology evolves, the less need there is for a physical on prem footprint, either for production data or backup, so there is potential for massive cost savings along with increased agility and competitiveness. However, it needs to always be remembered that a backup strategy is only as good as the plan, if it is thoroughly and regularly tested and updated. Often, vulnerabilities only come to light when an incident occurs, and by then it is far too late. Testing capabilities can help businesses find and address any gaps in strategy, in a cycle of constant evolution to ensure that data management is always as good as it can be.
It's not an IT problem
Harie believes that the final area that needs to be addressed is the mindset of business. Data used to be a purely IT function, but it is becoming increasingly clear that this is no longer the case. Data and business are intrinsically linked, and data management is fast becoming both a business accountability problem and a core business function.
"Data management is a continuous process of constant evolution, and strategies will need to be flexible to adapt to the changes that are coming. Seasoned data management professionals are an invaluable asset in the quest to better protect and manage data. Data is now everyone’s problem, and our strategies around it need to evolve accordingly, otherwise we are putting our business and our customers at risk".