World Backup Day – Voices From Around EMEA

By Commvault

A year on from the first national lockdown, the criticality of backups and disaster recovery programmes cannot be understated, especially as a large majority of us are, and will continue to, work remotely.

This World Backup Day, we are marking the 10th annual occasion by celebrating the vital business need for backups, whether that be in the form or Backup- or Disaster Recovery-As-A-Service – because why wait? Your data needs protecting, and there is no time like the present!

We asked our leaders from around EMEA for their thoughts on World Backup Day, their answers can be found below!

Jamie Farrelly, EMEA VP, Channel and Alliances: “Effectively managing the issues of data visibility and data sprawl is at the heart of every good data management strategy. You can’t protect what you can’t contain or see, and therefore it’s vital that customers implement solutions to harness the power of their data whilst reducing cost and risk. Ransomware is one of the biggest threats to data today, and mitigating this risk starts with an effective data management strategy.

“The global pandemic has seen a 50% increase in customers’ acceleration to a cloud-centric IT strategy. As companies seek to move seamlessly between cloud, virtual and physical environments, having a safe and agile strategy for the management of your data – wherever it resides – is key. As customers and partners move away from the cost of managing infrastructure, SaaS solutions continue to dominate and as-a-service partner models continue to grow exponentially. SaaS data management solutions are coming into their own, and continue to take the pain away for partners and customers. They’re better able to focus on their own customer value and away from IT complexity, which following the past 12 months is a welcome relief.”

Mark Jow, EMEA VP, Sales Engineering: “The past year has more than ever before, emphasised the importance of data for businesses and individuals, and just how crucial it is to have a secure and accessible backup. With the global pandemic shining a bright spotlight on the value of data, it’s perhaps not a surprise given the recent OVH data centre fire, that companies are becoming increasingly focused on the integrity of their Disaster Recovery processes and solutions. Today – World Backup Day, it’s key to remember why having a comprehensive disaster recovery plan that includes data backups is invaluable.

While it’s human nature to hope for the best, in a business context, the smartest approach is to plan for the worst. Businesses must always operate with the assumption that their data is under constant threat – because IT IS. So, whether the threat is from hardware failure, human error, data breach, ransomware attack, or natural disaster. Having a plan in place which is underpinned with the right technology solutions, skills and processes will ensure that if any crisis occurs, you can get your data back quickly with minimal disruption.

The OVH incident has also demonstrated why it’s so crucial to know where the responsibility for backing up and recovering your data lies. The Chief Executive at OVH recommended that customers ‘activate [their] disaster recovery plan’ – but how many of these customers may have assumed this was the responsibility of OVH? While we can’t be certain, what we do know is that with our increasing reliance on information technology, combined with the fact that disasters are inevitable, backing up your data is no longer an option or advisable, it’s an IMPERATIVE and the vital ingredient in ensuring your business stays IN BUSINESS when a crisis hits. 

Ronnie Kaftal, Sales Engineering Director, Metallic: The COVID pandemic has been an accelerant to cloud adoption, with customers increasingly espousing a cloud-first, SaaS-first approach. As many organisations have shifted to working from home, remote access and VPN concentrators had to be put in place and scaled, which in turn may have required the opening up of corporate services that were previously locked in with no remote access.

Home or remote workers are in many cases connecting to corporate or to the cloud service by using a BYO device which is running outside of the corporate firewalls with questionable security hardening so devices may be used by attackers to get access to corporate data or as mean to encrypt the end user’s data even if it synced with a cloud copy. Beware though, latest statistics say nearly 60% of attacks where data was encrypted involved data stored in the public cloud.

Vincenzo Costantino, Senior Director, Sales Engineering, Italy: While in the early 2000s backup was seen as a non-innovative system with poor added value, in recent years this technology has become much more important to many, as it proved to be the only solution effectively protecting the most important asset of any company: DATA. In 20 years, we have gone from writing data on tape to Artificial Intelligence-powered solutions that automatically identify the data to protect, when and where to store it and for how long. In addition, the ability to index backup data provides essential support both to ongoing business and to facilitate any research for information related to legal actions or compliance regulations such as GDPR. Mentioning a specific case, the right to erasure (right to be forgotten).

BaaS solutions are enjoying great success for several reasons: they are easy to adopt; they do not require any investment in dedicated hardware infrastructure to be maintained and managed over time; they allow SLAs in line with the business. The most innovative systems, such as Metallic, protect corporate data, copying it on premises or in another cloud, providing the best performances in case of restore and the best systems and applications integration during the backup.

Elisa Martínez, Metallic Cloud Sales Leader, Iberia: Backup-as-a-Service solutions are taking off for several reasons: they offer a fantastic user experience, with a user-friendly, simple and seamless environment. In addition, deployment and adoption time is minimal, while our customers have to dedicate zero resources to the maintenance, management and custody of their assets.

On the other hand, they offer predictability and cost reduction, as you pay only for what you consume and there are no additional costs of oversized and idle assets. At the same time, they offer reliability and flexibility to deploy new backup services transparently, even with multiple cloud providers. 

Finally, they provide security, safety and compliance to protect data, systems and assets. In other words, they leverage cloud technologies to enhance security. Recovery Readiness means being able to restore the organisation’s data and applications quickly no matter what happens.

Przemek Mazurkiewicz, Sales Engineering Director, Poland: I still think some organizations forget that the main goal for data protection is ability to recover. So, when implementing a backup system, you need to focus not only on backup efficiency and cost only, but times and metrics that are important for the recovery process. Backup itself is not so important – you need to be sure that you are able to recover in time and not lose the data. Recovery Point Objective and Recovery Time Objective are the two most important metrics that should always be present in SLAs, agreed between IT and business departments.

The newest trend will be providing additional functions related to cybersecurity and Disaster Recovery within the backup system and data management. Hackers often attack backup systems in order to eliminate the chance of a quick restoring of the encrypted environment. The second trend is backup infrastructure transfer to the cloud, along with fully clouded solutions such as Backup-as-a-Service.

Wael Mustafa, Middle East and Turkey AVP: World Backup Day gives us a chance to reflect on our organization’s backup and recovery strategies and re-evaluate its effectiveness. It is an opportunity for organizations to ensure that business continuity plans are supported by a proven backup and recovery strategy. Also, as millions of people around the world continue to work remotely, and embark on their journey to the cloud, we see businesses are evaluating how they are addressing data that lives outside the data centre.

With concerns of cybersecurity, data protection, and disaster recovery spread across a number of growing devices, there is an added pressure on IT resources. Today, we see companies placing an important emphasis on AI tools that provide recovery readiness reports and ‘self-driving backup’ features, as well as VM conversion tools, which are important for business agility and underpin processes such as cloud disaster recovery.

Kate Mollett, Regional Director, Africa: Back up, data management and data protection is more of a critical necessity now than it has ever been before. And why? Because organisations all over the world closed their physical offices during lengthy lock down periods and millions of employees had to continue to do the same work, access the same applications and critical data but in a very uncontrolled, decentralised and dispersed way and aside from that level of complexity – the entire process was 100% unprecedented and unplanned.

The COVID-19 pandemic truly provided the opportunity – whether you wanted it or not – to test your organisation’s data protection, business continuity and DR plans. An opportunity to ensure that your systems and security posture is rigid enough to provide the security and governance required to be compliant and manage data loss and cyber risk, but equally agile enough to allow users to connect from wherever, whenever and on any device.