BusinessThe Devil’s in the Details When it Comes to...

The Devil’s in the Details When it Comes to Data Protection

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Complexity, expense and more often than not, confusion are the basic pain points that become obstacles on the road to ensuring comprehensive and reliable data protection. Without a robust budget for IT, the high cost of a complete data protection and recovery solution was mostly out of reach to small and medium sized organizations, leaving gaping holes in the business continuity plans. However, the good news is that 89% of SMB’s are currently investing in Data Backup and recovery. The method varies, but ever changing deployment options are giving SMBs more cost effective solutions than ever before. Ganesh Kuppuswamy, Director, Arcserve for India and SAARC region mentioned the following points as he talks about the secret to success for SMBs for a reliable and complete data recovery and protection solutions,

Game changing trends
For SMB and medium-sized organizations, a unique mix of trends and the coming of new technologies make it plenty easier to truly enjoy enterprise-class capabilities without breaking the bank.

The combination of new data protection architectures, server virtualization, more efficient hardware appliances and secure cloud offerings are now making it possible to design comprehensive data protection strategies with a keen focus on recovery service levels. For SMBs and organizations of all size, the question shouldn’t be about how to back up data (and candidly, who cares?), but more focused on the ability to recover data and systems in a consistent and predictable fashion.

Removing data protection silos and consolidating many disparate data protection processes with one tool has become much easier to execute, and is a very desirable approach as long as the tool is designed with simplicity in mind. Data protection should be accessible to IT personnel with varying levels of training, not designed solely for the savvy technology user who has formal IT training.

Data Protection appliances are one option for accessibility and offer a lot of promise for SMBs with one-stop shopping and a modular approach. That said, there is a lot more than meets the eye, and not every appliance is born equal.

Another option has served as a one of the hottest topics in the past few years, with the emergence of cloud “everything.” Cloud-based backup and recovery makes sophisticated data protection vastly more accessible than it was even ten years ago. But data protection and recovery is still a highly complex issue. While cloud solutions make enterprise-level data recovery possible for SMBs for the first time, there are still numerous considerations that an organization must address to ensure they have comprehensive protection in place for any contingency.

At least half of SMB respondents indicate that outages have led to reduced employee productivity (57%) and/or application downtime (50%). Additionally, more than one-third (38%) of SMB organizations report having dissatisfied users as the result of downtime or data loss events. Although less frequent, downtime and data loss events have also led to much more serious—and external—consequences, such as missed business opportunities (25%), dissatisfied customers (23%), and a direct loss of revenue (21%).”

So, which backup and recovery approach is better to mitigate or even eliminate these negative effects? Software, backup appliances or cloud? Or is it all of them together?

Traditional software deployment
Backup or data protection software has never been more popular. Industry analysts indicate sustained market growth and a wider adoption. These solutions are typically well understood and have been delivering great results when correctly implemented. It’s a great choice for SMB organizations that feel comfortable deploying these solutions on hardware they configure themselves. Many technology resellers can help with these deployments as well as assist in managing the complexities associated with adjacent technologies, in particular data networking. One big caveat that should be considered is the amount of coverage and application support. Organizations need to ensure that a specific cloud-based solution will be comprehensive enough in terms of platform coverage and application support now and in the future.

Data Backup Appliances
Appliance platforms are very popular in the SMB space because they offer the great benefit of being a one- stop-shop for the end-user by packaging the software, connectivity, compute and storage in one box. It can be easier to deploy for organizations with little IT support or resources, however it is critical to remember that the appliance is only as good or efficient as the software that runs on it. Organizations must be vigilant when researching or comparing models as there are significant variations in terms of efficiency and economic value. The most important factor is the amount of data you have to protect, and how efficient the appliance will be at squeezing that data onto its on-board storage.

Cloud Solutions
There are variations around the cloud theme – backup as a service, disaster recovery as a service, direct to cloud, premise to cloud and many more. It can get a bit confusing, but remember that if all of your data is in the cloud and you do not have a local copy, you will be recovering at network speed. In the event of a regional or national interruption or problem, you can likely guess what will happen to your bandwidth. Best practice is to always have a way to restore data or systems locally. The Cloud is a great method to use as your secondary destination unless your data set is such that you are comfortable with the recovery aspects mentioned above. Combining a cloud service with your software or appliance deployment optimizes your ability to recover in a reasonable timeframe and with minimal data loss. You can easily leverage a managed service partner, a public cloud vendor or a data backup vendor to help you with this “hybrid” setup.

Tape is Not Dead
Across the board, recent research indicates that a majority of organizations still use tape. In the past, tape was the primary destination for backup data. Today, backup to disk is the norm and is a best practice recommendation as the primary destination for your backup data. However, for long term retention, compliance and other regulatory reasons, it is critical to ensure you purchase a credible solution that supports tape – and not just as a check mark on a data sheet. Many SMBs use a disk to disk to tape configuration. Tape is a cost-effective storage medium, but ultimately not ideal for fast recovery.

Closing Thoughts
With the wide variety of backup and recovery options, it can be easy to fall into a trap of silo’ed solutions; one product for this app, another one for that app. Many organizations use different deployment options for virtualized and physical systems, creating chaos that could otherwise be mitigated by leveraging one solution to manage the entirety of their data. Ideally your business works as a well-orchestrated unit, and having too many ways to backup means too many ways to recover your data. The result: longer times to recover, a lack of coherence in the processes, and ultimately the potential of data loss.

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