Businesses today not only have to contend with a fast-paced and ultra-competitive market but also have to stay ahead of threats to the security and availability of their data. The challenge of data backup and availability has evolved considerably over the years, thanks to the rapid changes in technology. Several trends are reshaping the practice of enterprise backup and we can expect these to persist through 2020.
The volume of data that the average business handles is seeing breathtaking growth with each passing year. The proliferation of the Internet of Things has vastly increased data origination and capture surfaces beyond traditional computing devices. The scale of data can be overwhelming and that makes it extremely difficult to interpret, consume, analyze and store without jeopardizing its integrity.
Data volume management is an even more formidable challenge for multinational corporations, large-scale businesses and enterprises operating in heavily regulated sectors such as finance, healthcare and pharmaceuticals.
In this context, traditional backup and availability techniques are stretched to their limits and may not deliver the contingency standard required. Companies are subsequently switching from an on-premise setup to an enterprise cloud backup regime.
The growth of data volume is most pronounced in enterprise databases. Remember that each increase in the number of active customers a business has leads to a much bigger increase in the number of transactions. That’s because transactions initiated by the new customers are occurring in an environment where existing customers may also be ramping up the number of transactions they initiate each year.
Large businesses typically have databases running into the dozens or hundreds of TBs. And it’s not just databases containing transactional data but also diagnostic data, logging data, and system performance data. Businesses have over the years realized that there are plenty of invaluable insights packed into previously ignored sets of data. Ergo, there’s a concerted drive to store every conceivable data (of course as long as it is legal to do so).
Enterprise backup solutions must have the ability to scale to accommodate these enormous databases.
Just a decade ago, the nature of enterprise data largely comprised of spreadsheets, documents, and pictures, all of which required relatively minimal storage space. Whereas this data is still present in companies today, it has, however, vastly increased in quality. It thus requires much more space today.
For example, the resolution of photos today is, on average, much higher than in times past. But not only has the average size of data files increased, but data is also more diverse. To demonstrate this diversity, there are about 40 different types of audio file formats. There’s also growing unstructured data that can only be handled and processed by Big Data technology tools.
Backup solutions must evolve accordingly to handle a wide range of data formats.
Governance and Regulatory Compliance
In 2018, Facebook was caught up in a privacy scandal after it emerged that Cambridge Analytica had extracted the personal data of millions of users and used it for targeted political advertising. But the social media behemoth was only the latest high profile entity finding itself in the crosshairs of privacy scrutiny. It’s partly in reaction to these that the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation and similar laws, have emerged as regulators seek to address gray areas in privacy compliance and enforce the confidentiality of consumer information.
The GDPR tackles data retention which directly affects the practice of enterprise data backup. Longer retention periods place an additional burden on businesses. But there’s also the need to ensure data is well segmented such that new GDPR requirements such as the right to be forgotten can be quickly applied to a customer’s data not just on the production environment but also in backup media.
As with all things business, data backup decisions are greatly influenced by cost. In the past, companies would keep their backups on their own infrastructure, whether onsite or offsite. Many enterprises are however moving to the cloud. This has the advantage of eliminating setup costs and negating the need for a full-time IT support team to oversee the process.
While cloud backups were previously viewed as an especially attractive option for small enterprises, multinationals are jumping on the cloud backup bandwagon in growing numbers in an effort to slash their IT budgets.
These are just some of the trends driving enterprise backup and availability today. Still, companies that will benefit from these trends are those that will find a way of aligning them to their own organization’s requirements.