Hallmarks of a Modern Data Protection Strategy: Meeting the Data Management Needs of a Digital Enterprise

A modern data protection strategy represents a shift from tactical approaches such as point solutions, adding storage capacity, or lowering recovery expectations.

IDC blog sponsored by HPE and Commvault

In the first blog in this data protection series, (Modern Data Protection Considerations: How Data Protection Needs Are Evolving in the Digital Economy) IDC outlined how trends such as hybrid multicloud, cloud-native applications, ransomware risks, and edge initiatives are challenging the data protection status quo.

Organizations cite data protection and security and compliance as their top data services concerns. These challenges translate into spiraling data protection costs as organizations take a tactical, short-term approach to “fix” legacy data protection environments. IDC research shows that as 2020 was a peculiar and volatile year, end users’ planned IT spend was disrupted.

Boosting data resiliency shouldn’t cost a fortune.

A modern data protection strategy represents a shift from tactical approaches such as point solutions, adding storage capacity, or lowering recovery expectations. Today, it includes transforming the data protection environment with an integrated, end‑to‑end data protection and data management platform to address modern needs.

Multilayered data protection or a tiered recovery strategy is a hallmark of modern backups — aligning with business resilience objectives with the flexibility to meet the needs of each application and manage a complete data life cycle.

A tiered approach includes:

  • Application-consistent snapshots for fast recovery. This is the first line of defense to protect critical data in VMs and business applications.
  • An external backup tier for additional restore points and freedom from single points of failure. This is the next tier for additional resilience, incremental updates, compliance, and data reuse and recovery.
  • A cost-efficient and immutable storage option for long-term retention and archiving. This includes a tape environment to retain backups for longer, delivering air gaps and immutability as an “offsite” copy. It also includes cloud object stores.

In traditional environments these protection techniques operate in isolation and don’t leverage modern capabilities such as efficient snapshot, software-driven backups, encryption, immutability/write once, read many (WORM) features, intelligent search and discovery, or AI-driven monitoring to identify and remediate issues in backup and DR processes.

Having an integrated data protection platform unifies these tiers seamlessly and offers end-to-end data protection, visibility, compliance, and recovery.

A modern, tiered data protection strategy helps organizations to move from infrastructure-focused data protection to application-focused data protection and leverage backup to restore critical services, recover business applications, and deliver robust RTOs and RPOs. A modern data protection strategy elevates the value of backup from being an “insurance” to an engine that meets application availability SLAs and supports a zero data loss strategy.

With high volumes of data being created in the core, cloud, and edge, it’s time to take an integrated approach and broaden the scope to data services that include security, compliance, data mobility, and ediscovery.

IDC believes that by integrating storage environments, data management software platforms, and hardware systems, IT teams can build a continuum of data protection methods needed to deliver rapid or granular recovery or mitigate the risk of data or reputation loss from cyberattacks. Organizations are also considering tape as part of their data protection strategy amid growing ransomware attacks and tougher regulations such as GDPR.

Intelligent snapshots, purpose-built backup appliances, scalable backup software, cloud object stores, and tape are all key for end-to-end data protection.

Of course, the power of incumbency cannot be underestimated. Organizations intent on modernizing data protection should evaluate newer techniques such as migrating the data first to a defined landing zone at scale and then ingesting it into a new environment. This helps pivot from legacy point solution backup platforms without creating downtime, data loss, or service disruption risks.

Modern, integrated data protection also brings massive resilience benefits such as:

  • Simplicity. The ability to manage the complete data life cycle from storage to archiving in a unified way eliminates management complexities and boosts data visibility for quick action.
  • Deduplication features to effectively manage a growing data footprint.
  • Automation to better manage failovers and ensure up-to-date backups in the event of unexpected hardware failures. This brings efficiency and smart resource provisioning, eliminates human errors, and frees up staff to work on strategic tasks such as governance excellence.
  • Consumption-based pricing. This brings cloud economics and scale to data protection environments with metered, consumption-based pricing.
  • Infrastructure-agnostic data protection management. Data services to manage data across datacenters, edge or cloud applications, databases, and SaaS environments such as O365 or Salesforce.
  • Cross-cloud data mobility. Ability to move data to ensure hybrid multicloud success.
  • Policy-based intelligent data management. Unified and consistent management of data without compromising on compliance and privacy needs.
  • Ability to take on cloud-native environments and aggressive cloud migration strategies. Transparency, robust protection, automation, and policy-driven approaches help to derisk cloud and edge migration journeys.

The fundamental value of modern data protection is that it clears the path for data-driven organizations to have better control over all important data. It’s time to reset data protection architectures to deliver data resilience, faster backup and recovery, continuous compliance, and 24 x 7 availability.

In the final blog in this series, we will explore best practices for boosting data resilience, requiring organizations to assess technology as well as skills, risks, and processes.

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