How to Ensure Data Protection is a Silver Lining rather than a Storm in your Cloud Strategy

Posted 02/15/2018 by Darren Yablonski

With 2017 behind us, we start the year by taking time to reflect on the past and look ahead to the future. Reading through the various industry predictions for the year ahead, one of "IDC Canada’s 2018 ICT Predictions" particularly caught my eye: managed cloud services will see an increase as businesses use service providers to implement managed hybrid models with multi-cloud environments. The analyst firm estimates that managed cloud services spending in Canada will grow from $1 billion (U.S.) in spending in 2017 to $1.6 billion (U.S.) in 2021, representing compound annual growth of just more than 14 percent.

This prediction echoes one of the main findings from a survey of 100 IT leaders that Commvault conducted in conjunction with CITO Research: companies are moving full-speed ahead to the cloud, with the survey revealing 93 percent of respondents stating they are moving their processes to the cloud. In my previous post, I talked about how Canada has lagged behind other countries, particularly the U.S., when it comes to cloud adoption. While I firmly believe cloud adoption in Canada will continue to grow throughout 2018 and beyond, significant barriers continue to exist that must be overcome before certain organizations decide to migrate workloads to the cloud and realize its full and unquestionable potential.

One of the most significant barriers is holistic data management.

Manage your data before moving it to the cloud

In the report, “2017 Executive Cloud Survey: What IT Leaders are Worried About,” the report found that although many businesses migrate to the cloud to take advantage of its flexible and easily accessible data storage, they often end up discovering a multitude of data management challenges. Cost is another motivator; one of the top reasons often cited for moving to the cloud is cost savings. Yet for many organizations they end up spending more than they anticipated as data moves to and from the cloud. Even though IT leaders cite data management as a barrier to cloud migration, they also recognize it as an area that requires careful consideration and strategy ensuring their data is effectively protected in the cloud and is truly adding value throughout the enterprise.

Out of 100 IT professionals surveyed, the majority cited managing data as one of the most significant barriers for moving to the cloud. The survey revealed that 68 percent of respondents cited the sheer volume of data and 55 percent identified data policies across cloud and on-premises data as major roadblocks to cloud adoption. These statistics show that IT leaders are thinking carefully about data management as a critical step in cloud migration.

The myth around data protection in the cloud

Also top of mind for executives is the concept of how to protect and recover data with three-quarters of respondents citing it as their most impactful cloud project. In Canada, one of the top cloud initiatives for organizations is archival of legacy data including email and other forms. With all the ransomware attacks hitting the headlines in 2017, it’s no surprise that companies want to safeguard their most valuable (and potentially vulnerable) asset.

However, there’s still a perception by far too many organizations that once data is in the cloud, it’s automatically protected. When respondents were asked whether they believe they have data protection for their SaaS or cloud-based applications, 91 percent said yes. While companies were sure of their data protection, the survey interestingly revealed that 94 percent of leaders are moderately or extremely concerned about their ability to recover data quickly from the cloud if a disaster were to occur. This includes 63 percent who are extremely or very concerned.

Data management and protection are extremely important aspects of every cloud strategy, yet they are often downplayed or simply ignored under the assumption that data in the cloud is inherently protected and quickly recoverable in the event of a disaster. Additionally, the largest cloud providers deliver only basic cloud-based data protection, which can have significant limitations depending on the deployment model.

Knowing is half the battle

In order to have the most appropriate data protection solution possible, companies need to first understand their data in terms of the following: how much and what type of data they have; where it resides; how they’re using it; as well as what applications, devices and services touch their data. Commvault provides the industry’s best data management platform solution to move, manage and make intelligent use of data across on-premises and cloud locations.

Commvault software enables businesses to fully manage and protect data across files, applications, databases, and hypervisors supporting more than 30 cloud providers, including Amazon AWS, Microsoft Azure, Google and Oracle Cloud.

There are a variety of tools available to help migrate to, use and manage cloud data. Unlike Commvault, non-holistic point products are designed to address a single business or operational challenge, which in turn introduces complexity and risk when attempting to manage your data in the cloud. Replace complexity and risk with a single solution that provides both complete and comprehensive access to your data regardless of where it resides - in the cloud, on-premises, and on any infrastructure you choose. It’s that simple, or what I would prefer to say is, it’s simply powerful.

It all starts with first understanding your cloud objectives, priorities and goals

Those interested in true business transformation to the cloud should first engage with data management experts willing to invest time and resources to first understand an organizations business objectives, priorities and goals as it relates to data management. In my next blog post, I’ll explore how the concept of business transformation is building trust and partnerships with Canadian organizations as they initiate their journey to the cloud and strive for simple, yet comprehensive and powerful solutions to manage explosive data growth.

Darren Yablonski is the Director of Systems Engineering for Commvault Canada with more than 20 years of experience within various IT engineering, sales, professional services and program delivery functions. His passion is leading people and transforming organizations through a comprehensive business value lens first, technology second.