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Lucky 13: Backup and Disaster Recovery Trends to Watch in 2018

Jan 31, 2018, 19:00 PM by Trenton Baker

Backup and recovery trends 2018

This year’s backup and DR (BDR) trends expand beyond the usual suspects. It is not easy to protect data in a world of growing threats, but you can do it if you are prepared with the right technology and trusted partners.

1. Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS)

Disaster recovery planning impacts technology, processes, and people. It’s a complicated and expensive process in-house, so many corporations are turning over their data protection strategy to disaster recovery providers as a service. But not just any DRaaS provider will do. Partner with a Cloud Service Provider (CSP) that offers a fully managed ecosystem of application availability, data restore, and user access security. This services network should operate over the entire roadmap between end-user, provider, and back-end cloud services.

2. Failover to the cloud

Restoring data is crucial, but data can be useless if applications are unavailable. Failing over applications to the cloud ensures that high priority applications keep running with little to no downtime. Replicating VMware and Hyper-V virtual machines to the cloud is the key, and users also want secure user access and simplified management. It is imperative for a comprehensive data availability and DR strategy to support failover and failback operations for one virtual machine to several VMs. Depending on the scale of a production site disaster, it is advisable to have full site failover or partial site failover backup and replication choices. The key benefit when you perform cloud failover is replicated VMs on the cloud host take over the role of the original VM allowing for continuous business sustainability.

3. Ransomware-as-a-Service

Ransomware is one of the world’s biggest threats to cybersecurity because it’s simple for hackers to do -- there are even sites where attackers can buy pre-built ransomware. Falling prey to a ransomware attack is expensive: Cybersecurity Ventures predicts ransomware damages will claw their way to $11.5 billion in 2019. Restoring from backup is a good way to defeat the attack unless you are caught in an attack loop. The loop occurs when the infection enters networks and spreads to data that is then backed up. Ransomware-as-a-Service breaks the attack loop by detecting, capturing, and quarantining infected files that enter the backup stream before they reach the backed up storage. The only connection that the service allows to backup storage is through the protected backup stream. Moreover, if infected data already exists in backup storage, the service disables file restore.

4. The Internet of Things (IoT) Timebomb

IoT technology connects computing devices embedded in everyday objects to the Internet, enabling them to send and receive data. However, IoT can cause serious security problems because few developers build sufficient security into IoT devices. This may not be a huge concern in a smart home where your coffee maker is connected to your alarm clock, but it is a significant concern when those lowly devices are connected to your home computer network. The problem multiplies at the corporate level when thousands of company data users sport Internet-connected devices. Through the exponential growth of the botnet controller community, loosely protected endpoint devices can easily become virus spreading “zombie” devices used by fraudsters to both control malware infected machines and extort payments for releasing data held ransom. It’s predicted that coordinated “botnets” will become more commonplace, especially with poorly secured networks.

The number of IoT botnet controllers more than doubled from 393 in 2016 to 943 in 2017. — Spamhaus 2018

5. Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A)

According to BCG, global M&A transactions reached $2.5 trillion of completed deals in 2017. Of that, technology companies represented a whopping 30%. M&A processes can put customer data at risk, a concern in highly regulated industries like financial services. And with data protection and DR companies, M&A can lead to product retirement, minimal or vanished support, and expensive licensing changes. A few corporations have detailed strategies to avoid these issues. For example, j2 Global (KeepItSafe’s parent company) ranks as the 2nd most active acquirer among U.S. listed tech companies, according to AGC Partners. This sustainable growth pattern can help to assure companies that their data availability is scalable and secured against the fear of shuttered doors from a failed startup.

6. Converging Data Protection and Disaster Recovery

In the past, data protection and DR were different disciplines. Data protection was all about backup, while DR was about getting the lights back on and the applications running. However, with the growth of replication, failover, and continuous backup, the trend is for backup and DR to converge into a holistic strategy. Backup vendors are taking note and integrating backup and restore with application availability and disaster recovery for holistic data protection.

7. Backup SaaS

Many SaaS users assume that software providers are backing up their data. Indeed they do for their own DR purposes, but rarely retain customer backup data beyond 90 days – and that’s unusually long. SaaS backup fills the data protection gap between SaaS providers like Office 365 and the customer’s responsibility to retain data for compliance and searchability. Cloud-to-cloud backup strategy (C2C) enables SaaS users to back up their data from their managed service provider (MSP) to a secure cloud site for long-term retention and interaction.

8. Searchable archives

Backup is not the same thing as searchable archiving, which are important to eDiscovery, compliance, and business analytics. Start with a cloud provider that features long-term data retention policies for its customers. Some of these technologies combine SaaS backup with online archival to give their customers even more value. Offerings archive and manage data across multiple data sources, allowing users to retain and search data for as long as necessary.

9. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)

GDPR is a new set of data protection and privacy principles from the European Union that will go into effect this year. U.S. companies need to comply with the GDPR or risk losing EU business, not to mention potentially paying millions of dollars in fines. Complying requires adopting modern compliance technology, such as using machine learning software to identify potentially sensitive or protected information that is stored on company servers. Companies also need data protection policies that support GDPR data compliance settings, such as moving a set of aging data into an EU-located server instead of a U.S. data center.

10. Data Protection and Hyperconverged Environments

Hyperconvergence refers to converging servers, storage, and networking into self-contained computing infrastructure. Although most hyperconverged products offer primary data protection such as replication, many do not offer secondary backup. This leaves hyperconverged systems vulnerable during a disaster. Data protection innovators like KeepItSafe are filling the gap with backup, archiving, and DR products for hyperconverged environments.

11. BDR for the Software-Defined Data Center (SDDC)

The SDDC runs virtual servers (compute), storage, and networking on top of the physical computing foundation. SDDC vendors build for resiliency and durability so the software environment can be built and rebuilt from stored scripts. However, scripts cannot restore every type of SDDC database or file store. Therein lies the rub, and the need for additional backup protection for applications and data on a SDDC.

The software-defined data center (SDDC) market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 21.9% during 2017-2022 — Wise Guy Reports 2018

12. DevOps

DevOps is a process and environment that unifies software development and operations. Traditional backup and restore may not run reliably (or at all) in distributed environments. Another big issue is protecting sensitive production data in DevOps testing environments. For example, in 2016 the American College of Cardiology notified 1400 healthcare organizations that cardiovascular patient data might have been exposed. It turns out that four software development vendors had access to patient data, copied it, and used it in more than 250 software testing tables.

13. Containers

Docker containers can lower application operational costs, but traditional backup is not optimized for container environments. Customers need both data loss prevention and data protection, especially the ability to roll back to earlier points quickly. New backup capabilities use policies to backup container data from multiple points, encrypt it on secure backup targets on-premise or in the cloud, and enable centralized container management.

Where to Go from Here?

We know this is a lot of trends to take in. But you’re not on your own. We strongly suggest that you partner with a Cloud Service Provider whose mission is to protect your data from any threat, anywhere, at any time. No matter what.

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