Protecting your business’s data is crucial, as workforces are getting more mobile, with more flexible working. So what key areas should you be looking at when installing new data protection software? Mark Johnson from Veeam, the lead provider of availability to the modern data center, highlights the essential points to watch out for.
The modern business is always-on, it is a 24/7 enterprise, with workers dispersed across multiple locations. This new culture has driven the need for modern IT services which, can be delivered anytime, anywhere, and has been made possible thanks to the arrival of cloud and IT-as-a-service. It has also pushed the development of the modern data centre needed to power these services. Yet, most of all, it has made starkly clear the fact that business continuity and protection of data in the modern world has to evolve.
Traditionally, data protection has been built with the 9-to-5 business in mind. Simple data protection processes, such as backup and recovery, used to be seen as the final piece of a project. Now that organisations are migrating to modern, always-on data centres, it is essential that they have a robust understanding of what data protection they have today and a rock solid ‘copy’ of their existing environment before they commence migration.
When implementing data protection as part of an IT project, there are many things that you need to consider, which go beyond choosing which backup and recovery solutions to use. These include:
- What would be the effect of services failing?
- What costs will data protection save?
- What, if any, is the maximum downtime the business could survive?
- What is the maximum planned downtime that you will accept?
Once an organisation has answered these questions, it will have an understanding of the risks facing an IT project, the benefits data protection will provide, and the level of performance it needs. With this information, it can build a data protection and business continuity policy into its IT project. When all this in place more practical considerations will take over, which can be split into three areas:
The first thing to consider is how the organisation will minimise downtime? The team should be clear on acceptable recovery time objectives (how long downtime will last) and recovery point objectives (how much data could be lost) for each part of the infrastructure behind the service. It must then decide how much of that infrastructure will be replicated, and so available instantly in the event of a disaster, and how much will simply be backed up.
Secondly, the team should consider how reliable its data protection is. Organisations should be able to validate each backup to ensure it is recoverable, this strategy should also include unplanned downtime. As virtualisation lowers the cost of IT infrastructure and reduces storage costs, creating a separate, testing infrastructure could be one way of making sure upgrades don’t cause more downtime than outages.
Lastly the organisation must decide where it places its backups, and in what format.
Whatever an enterprise’s answers to these questions are, the most important thing is that data protection becomes an intrinsic part of its IT strategy for each project. Without this, it will never be able to use modern IT services from a modern data centre with 100% confidence.