Backup and recovery balancing act
What's more important: the speed of recovery or the amount of data an organisation is willing to lose?
The business of backup and recovery is becoming more scrutinised, with modern IT being less about siloed business and IT priorities, but rather about the inseparable link between the two.
Solutions are needed to resolve widespread resource constraints and high costs associated with managing and protecting data proliferation. And while cloud sits at the forefront of IT priorities for these reasons, most IT decision-makers must still contend with alternate platforms, effectively making modern IT multi-generational.
However, when it comes to protecting multi-generational infrastructures, decision-makers are divided between what's more important: the speed of recovery or the amount of data their organisation is willing to lose.
For many companies, aligning recovery time and point objectives (RTOs/RPOs) is perceived as costly and unachievable for all. However, it can be argued that this viewpoint is a bit dated, particularly with the rise of cloud-native backup and disaster recovery as-a-service solutions that bring value and affordability to those who require both RTOs and RPOs to be minute-based. This balance between the cost of disaster recovery and the impact of an outage must be carefully addressed by all businesses.
Not all clouds are created equal
Cloud is rapidly changing the way businesses back up data, with an estimated 83% of IT workloads running in the cloud by the year 2020. Digitally transforming enterprises is the leading factor of public cloud engagement today; however, if one looks at an array of research and media articles, market sentiment seems to focus on security as the biggest concern around adopting a cloud computing strategy.
IT decision-makers may feel a move to the cloud is their top priority this year, but security appears to be the stumbling block and interestingly, not necessarily with private clouds.
Indications are that when faced with comparing the security of business-critical data in a variety of storage types, IT decision-makers feel private clouds are not only more secure than local storage, blockchain, hypervisors and public clouds but are also totally safe.
IT decision-makers may feel a move to the cloud is their top priority this year, but security appears to be the stumbling block.
The most obvious explanation for these perceptions is the number of high-profile public cloud security breaches, or quite possibly because most major public cloud vendors don't provide service-level agreements beyond 99.99%.
In the US, this is estimated to be equivalent to almost one hour of downtime a year and losses of $500 000 for a company with $1 billion in revenue. Response time is also varied and not guaranteed. For example, an organisation using public cloud for disaster recovery can expect to wait approximately 15 minutes for response to a critical case and one hour for urgent cases.
Therefore, while the move to the cloud continues, organisations must be vigilant about incorporating cloud workloads, including data in infrastructure-as-a-service and software-as-a-service, into their data protection strategies.
Barriers of emerging technologies
Originally invented in 2008 for crypto-currency Bitcoin, blockchain technology has taken the tech community by storm as other potential uses have emerged to create permanent, public ledgers for everything from smart contracts and banking, to tracking sales data and music distribution.
While some companies have hopped on the blockchain bandwagon, indications are that the overwhelming majority of IT decision-makers are not currently using this technology.
For example, Gartner reports that only 1% of CIOs indicate any kind of blockchain adoption within their businesses. There are a variety of reasons as to why blockchain hasn't been rapidly embraced, ranging from unfamiliarity with the technology itself, to how, and if, it should be safeguarded.
Arcserve's research, conducted by MayHill Strategies, indicates only 35% of IT decision-makers confess to being very familiar with blockchain; however, of those who are, C-class executives say they are much more so than mid-IT management.
Alternatively, solutions powered by artificial intelligence (AI) are much more widely accepted, with nearly 75% citing awareness of "intelligent" data recovery solutions. The survey indicates most businesses are more likely to consider AI-driven solutions, particularly in the US and UK, with 90% confirming they are very likely to consider these technologies.
Despite the interest in backup and recovery solutions that incorporate AI, only one in three reveal a great deal of trust in the vendors that offer them, begging the question, why?
Awareness of newer technologies doesn't readily translate into acceptance, and perhaps many are sceptical of claims that aren't backed by results.
Nevertheless, AI-powered backup and recovery opens a new frontier for digital business and promises to extend the reach of IT decision-makers far beyond data protection.
In conclusion, as IT decision-makers look at methods to balance the costs of disaster recovery and the impacts of an outage, many will look to private clouds to mitigate the hidden costs and perceived security risks of public cloud platforms.
Emerging technologies - such as new uses for blockchain and AI-powered backup and recovery solutions - will accelerate opportunities for IT decision-makers to deliver capabilities beyond data protection.
As global coverage of data breaches and ransomware attacks continues the necessary shift in mentality to perceiving these events as a recovery issue rather than just a data loss matter, it may mean more organisations won't fall victim to the loss and accompanying downtime.
Byron Horn-Botha is lead: Arcserve Southern Africa channel and partnerships. He has been involved in the technology sector in sales and management roles since he commenced his working career eight years ago. He moved from his first position at Pastel in 2012 to work for a SAP partner specialising in the SAP budgeting planning, consolidation solution and enterprise play oriented solution. In this role, he was focused on new business expansion within and outside the SAP user community. In 2014, he joined CA Southern Africa in a business development role. In 2015, Horn-Botha moved into the Arcserve arena, fulfilling the role of new business development, as an Arcserve partner, followed by the move to the 2018 Arcserve corporate position. Throughout his career, he has worked with channel partners, giving him in-depth insight into the challenges faced by the sector.