Protecting your data in a hybrid environment

With hybrid environments creating new attack vectors for cyber criminals to steal data or install ransomware, it’s never been more crucial to effectively protect and backup your data.

Johannesburg, 24 Feb 2022
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Juan Niekerk, Data Protector Channel Manager: INTL region, Micro Focus.
Juan Niekerk, Data Protector Channel Manager: INTL region, Micro Focus.

The flexibility offered by the cloud, coupled with the need to keep certain data on-premises, has led to many companies adopting a hybrid cloud strategy. This, however, creates its own challenges, as operating in a hybrid environment is complex, particularly in respect of data security.

Security in general has risen to prominence since the pandemic created the necessity for employees to work from home, which significantly opened up the landscape in which cyber criminals like to play. An increase in remote workers using the cloud has made protecting their assets an increasingly complex task for most companies.

This is especially true as indicated by the rise of ransomware, a malicious new type of attack that infects your systems and encrypts your data, preventing you doing business until a ransom is paid. Since there is no guarantee of being given the encryption key even if the ransom is paid, the safest way to protect your data is through regular backup.

With 31 March recognised as World Backup Day – a day designed to remind people and organisations to be prepared against data loss and data theft by ensuring the proper and effective backup of critical data – there has never been a better time to discuss the importance of data protection, suggests Juan Niekerk, Micro Focus’s Data Protector Channel Manager for INTL region.

He points out that in a digital world, data is the very lifeblood of an organisation, so data protection should always be top of mind, as it is ultimately an organisation’s last line of defence.

“Enterprises like to talk about cyber security and resilience, but the reality is that when something happens – regardless of where it occurs – the business has to turn to a data protection solution in order to recover critical data and applications,” he says.

“In essence, what is required is a data protection solution that can completely backup and recover data across all environments, whether virtual, physical, on-premises, cloud or hybrid, together with flexible deployment options.”

With the clear complexity involved, he highlights the importance of talking to an expert security partner when it comes to implementing a data protection solution to protect your information across all environments.

“Working with an expert is key, as the last thing you want from a corporate data protection strategy is to end up relying on old backup technologies when protecting modern infrastructure. This can put a strain on your IT budget while at the same time lowering productivity. But ultimately, it’s as simple as understanding that modern infrastructure requires modern data protection solutions.

“Of course, while we are talking about the protection of critical and sensitive business information, any security expert worth their salt will also tell you that the data protection application itself also needs to be protected against external intrusion."

He notes that while the chosen backup and recovery solution is the final line of defence within a corporate’s security strategy, this strategy must also encompass a disaster recovery plan, designed to ensure the complete and quick resumption of normal operations, as well as regular testing of this backup plan, to ensure the business can meet its defined SLAs for high-priority data and applications.

“Remember that after a system failure happens, whether due to a ransomware attack, natural disaster or human error, it is the backup and disaster recovery application that will be the key to quickly restoring information and resuming business activity. To this end, your security partner should recommend a single, centralised backup solution, with a built-in security model that addresses all your backup needs in a single solution.”

“There is little doubt that our increasing demand for business flexibility has led to the growth in hybrid environments, as a growing number of enterprises move data from one independently managed environment to another. In the process of delivering speed and convenience to employees, a multitude of new attack vectors have opened up to cyber criminals. Since your data has never been under greater threat, the need for a comprehensive and effective data protection solution has, in turn, never been greater,” concludes Niekerk. 

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