How to address the data protection challenges all businesses face
Businesses are capturing more data than ever before. All that data provides more opportunities to mine feedback and insights, and to better optimize processes and expand your company. But growing complexity jeopardizes this currency.
Not too long ago, you’d have data applications in only a handful of places. Today, data applications are running everywhere — on- and off-prem, in the cloud, and on legacy environments — causing data silos, impacting data security, and creating recovery concerns. Compounding these data challenges even further, problems with storage costs, data migration, data recovery, compliance regulations, new threat vectors, and more are creating new issues.
Whatever problems affect your data, you need to move data protection to the top of your list to address. A good data protection plan will ensure your data is safe from threats, minimize any downtime after a disaster, and help you make the most of your data.
Though each company must identify the unique solution to its data security, there are three data protection areas that every plan should consider.
1. Securing your data in the cloud
As cloud and hybrid solutions become even cheaper and more readily available, companies have continued adopting these storage options at an impressive rate. However, basic cloud offerings don’t always protect your data to the standard you need, or even protect it while you’re moving it between databases.
That’s why it’s important to build a cloud portion of your data protection plan. If you’re shopping for a data management solution, a few security-related questions to keep in mind are:
- What areas of data management does the solution support? If you need data backup or a single view of on-premises and cloud data, is that provided? Properly managed data is critical to ensuring its protection and security.
- What is the breadth and depth of the solution’s cloud support? What cloud providers does it work with, and can it operate on prem, too? If you’re considering any future data plans, keep those platforms or needs in mind while evaluating solutions, too.
- Do the solution’s data migration capabilities provide ample protection? If you have to meet certain compliance requirements, ensure the solution meets those standards.
- How does the data management solution support data use? Can you search across on-prem and cloud repositories? Some compliance requirements need you to be able to do this.
2. Preparing for inevitable disasters
Extreme weather events are the most likely of the most destructive global risks facing businesses today. With weather patterns becoming more extreme each year, companies are tempting fate if they don’t have a data plan for when disaster strikes. Extreme weather shouldn’t be the only worry; companies also face cyberattacks, accidental data deletion, and critical infrastructure breakdowns.
Your disaster plan shouldn’t focus only on recovering data, but also on how to access the data you need while systems are still recovering. A comprehensive disaster recovery strategy should:
- Be flexible, with disaster recovery for multiple applications and virtual machines across hypervisors, and replication to and from the cloud.
- Include global management and proactive monitoring of all your virtual environments. Global management will make recovering data less complex (and less stressful!) no matter where it resides, and proactive monitoring can help you prevent unexpected downtime.
- Leverage cloud integration for enabling hybrid infrastructure. Whether you have a disaster on-prem or in the cloud, you’ll still be able to access your data in at least one location.
- Support public cloud integration so you don’t become locked in to one cloud provider.
- Be simple to deploy and administer
3. The goals of your backup solution
As businesses work to protect and recover growing volumes of data quickly and efficiently, there is a mounting demand for out-of-the-box backup solutions that deliver the scalability and flexibility of enterprise environments at a cost-competitive price.
However, these plug-and-play solutions aren’t perfect for every company. If you have more complex data environments, purpose-built backup appliances could be something to consider. To derive the most value, consider these features when evaluating your next backup application:
- Ease of acquisition and management: Is it available as an integrated solution, including pre-installed data protection software, and pre-configured and validated server and storage hardware? How long does it take to go from installation to performing a backup? Does the appliance offer centralized management and reporting via an easy-to-use console? It’s best to have a solution that eliminates complexity, which ultimately translates to saving time and money.
- Availability and resiliency: Are the latest technologies being used, such as scale-out infrastructure, shared storage pools, and redundant hardware components? Solutions that use scale-out infrastructure provide greater resiliency, availability, and scale for applications and data. In short, solutions with newer tech will likely lead to improved SLAs.
- Patches and updates: Is the appliance integrated to ensure a single patch updates the entire appliance, and isn’t just rolled out to individual software components or hardware firmware? Does the solution offer subscription-based pricing that includes automatic hardware refreshes? A single update minimizes operating expenditures (opex) by putting customers on the latest software version, and by eliminating the need to track software and hardware compatibility across multiple vendors.
- Single point of contact: Is support for both the hardware and software components provided by a single source? This will also help reduce opex. With a single source of support, staff will only need to make one call to resolve any issues across the entire hardware and software stack.
Overall, the data challenges you face will evolve as your data increases and the technology attacking or managing it changes, too. But even as you find new uses for data, the need for data protection remains.
By developing a protection strategy that incorporates cloud, disaster recovery, and backup, you have the foundation to keep your data safe while adhering to growing compliance requirements and whatever else the future throws at you.
About the author
Mary Ellen Cavanagh is a 25-year data protection Sales Engineer gone rogue. Now, as a Solutions Marketing Manager at Commvault, she combines her technical expertise with her creative side to deliver compelling and relevant content to the data protection community. Visit their website to learn more about how Commvault prepares you to face your current – and future – data challenges.