In their race towards digital transformation, organizations are becoming much more dependent upon their IT services to support their business and this increases the potential impact of accidental mistakes, natural disasters, and cyber incidents. This means that business continuity planning is an essential element in the digital transformation process. The continuity of the digital services makes the use of data backup products and disaster recovery services essential, and these must support today’s multi-cloud hybrid IT environment.
In any case, ensuring the continuity of IT services is an important part of the security triad of confidentiality, integrity, and availability. It requires, amongst other things, ensuring that the data held in these services is protected to allow them to continue following unwanted events such as physical or logical damage to the storage devices or the IT installation. To cater for this organizations typically use backup solutions to take copies of the data which can then be stored safely and used when it becomes necessary to restore the service.
Where IT services are delivered exclusively on-premises these solutions can be used to make copies of the data storage media (typically tape and disk) which are then be stored in separate locations where there are additional safeguards against fire and theft. The physical transfer of these media adds delays and additional risks. However, the way in which IT services are delivered is changing towards a hybrid model.
In addition, for many organizations, Big Data technologies like Hadoop, Cassandra, Greenplum, and MongoDB have become critical to their digital transformation. Big data poses extra challenges around data protection and recovery. Legacy data protection approaches are often not able to cope with the massive volumes of data and the variety of formats involved. Failing to provide data protection and disaster recovery for big data can increase the risks of the organization failing to meet their data governance and compliance obligations.
In today’s hybrid multi-cloud IT, some services remain on premises while others are delivered through the cloud. There is a temptation to believe that the use of a cloud service removes the need for the customer to take data backups. This is only true where the SLA (Service Level Agreement) meets all the customer’s needs, including their RPO (Recovery Point Objectives) and RTO (Recovery Time Objectives), and this is not always the case. In addition, the hybrid delivery model increases the management burden where multiple data protection solutions are used. This makes it even more important to have a common solution that covers all the different use cases.
The cloud also provides an alternative location for backed up data since major cloud service providers usually have several highly secured datacentres in multiple geographic locations. This provides the possibility to store the backed-up data with a high degree of resilience and potentially reduces delays and the risks involved in physical transfers. This has led to the emergence of new backup solutions and the adaptation of existing solutions that backup IT service data to the cloud.
All organizations need to consider the risks related to the availability of their business data and take appropriate measures to mitigate these risks. This means investing in either or both backup products and disaster recovery services. The key point is to be able to recover from a disaster and these two elements should be integrated or at least proven to meet this objective. In addition, it is vital that the chosen approach is adequate for the modern digitally transformed hybrid IT environment.