Our digital world is transforming. We believe it’s time for backup, recovery and business continuity to transform as well.
We have recently launched our 7 New Rules for Recovery. These rules are created to help IT rethink business continuity and recovery. This blog is the first in a series of posts where I will walk through the details of these new rules, but first I want to explain why we thought a new set of rules is necessary.
When we look closely at the state of technology in general, we see that we are in the midst of a massive digital transformation in our world. We see digital transformation affecting all aspects of our lives. It is not just the mobile devices that we carry driving this. Practically everything we do today has been digitized in some aspect.
Retailers and e-commerce sites track and store our shopping patterns. We consume digital media in the form of on-demand movies and streaming audio. Our doctors maintain massive digital repositories of our medical records. The sensors in our cars and in the appliances in our homes are monitoring power consumption and looking for possible maintenance issues. As we move beyond consumer and personal technology, the Internet of Things and machine-to-machine communications in particular are having a profound impact on the amount of data created every day in industrial applications.
The one thing all these examples have in common is massive scale. We are simply dealing with more connected devices, more complex systems and more data than ever before with no signs of things slowing down.
This digital transformation is causing IT to deploy new architectures in order to gain greater flexibility and agility to take advantage of this massive scale. These new architectures include not only virtualization and hybrid cloud architectures, but also new paradigms such as containers and software defined infrastructures. At the same time we still have to maintain our legacy systems, many of which still run on physical infrastructure, and must also be protected.
And while these new systems and architectures offer exciting possibilities, IT must deal with new threats. Downtime and data loss has always been a significant concern for IT from sources such as equipment failures, human error, and cyber-attacks. However new threats such as ransomware must now be neutralized. Also, unfortunately, we seem to be dealing with natural disasters more frequently than ever before with mega storms, floods and earthquakes now affecting many parts of the world on a regular basis. As a result, we see an increased interest in disaster recovery solutions for businesses of all sizes.
In looking at all the trends in IT it’s obvious much has changed in our digital world recently. However for many enterprises, backup and recovery has remained largely the same. Many organizations still rely on legacy backup solutions that don’t take advantage of the advances in technology that have occurred.
This is why we thought it was time to redefine recovery to focus on business continuity. Our 7 New Rules of Recovery really should be called 7 New Rules for Continuity. They are designed to summarize and demonstrate that there is a better way.
It is possible to move forward from legacy backup and recovery technologies that have largely been functional in nature, generated little excitement, and are simply low-level IT administrator tasks that have to be performed. To most businesses, backup and recovery is viewed like going to the dentist. Something everyone knows they have to do but not anything that anyone gets excited about.
We believe it is possible to change this view by looking at the problem differently. By shifting the focus to continuity, it becomes something that the whole business will care about. Continuity is not something that is simply a low-level task. It requires a complete solution that delivers a distinct business benefit for both the IT and business decision-makers.
With all this in mind, we have introduced the 7 New Rules for Continuity:
- Downtime is history, whatever a company’s size or budget
Avoiding downtime and data loss is possible. It just takes planning and the application of the correct continuity platform.
2. It should be so easy, even your boss can do it
Backup, recovery and continuity should be able to drop into the background so IT can focus on other tasks. However, in order for that to happen your continuity platform must be highly intuitive and super easy to use. It should rely on automation for performing routine tasks and delivering useful reports. In short, it shouldn’t require an instruction manual and should be optimized to minimize the number of clicks to perform any task.
3. DR testing should happen while you <insert your favorite activity here>
Testing of DR environments and backups is critical to maintaining uptime and preventing data loss. However many organizations do not regularly test because of the high cost, time and disruptions testing can have. Your continuity platform should make it easy to automate testing so you can go focus on other tasks such as completing your next strategic project or simply getting home to play a video game or have dinner with your family.
4. Continuity platforms should eat ransomware for breakfast
Unfortunately ransomware attacks are becoming more frequent. It’s not a question of “if” anymore. It simply a question of “when” it will affect you. However, the easiest way to avoid being disrupted by this malware is to back up your data regularly. In addition you should use a continuity system that allows you to quickly restore with features like instant recovery and is architected to avoid being infected with ransomware itself.
5. Don’t travel alone on your journey to the cloud
Cloud technology is transformational for IT. However, different organizations are choosing different paths to the cloud. One organization may choose a private cloud path while another may focus on public cloud point solutions that are built-for-purpose. While still a third organization may decide to go completely to a hyper- scale implementation. Your continuity platform needs to help you on this journey and support whatever choice you make on your journey to the cloud.
6. Recovery SLAs do exist if you know who to ask
Many cloud vendors don’t specify specific SLAs for recovery of systems and data stored within them. However, there are vendors who are upfront with their SLAs so you can know exactly what to expect when you need to rely on them for recovery.
7. All workloads matter (including those on physical servers some vendors forget you have)
All workloads matter including virtual, physical, and cloud-based workloads. They all need protection from downtime and data loss. Physical environments in particular should not be forgotten about. Our surveys indicate over 85% of companies still have significant physical workloads and need to be protected. Don’t let your continuity provider convince you that these can be ignored.
We invite you to check back frequently as we will explore each specific rule in subsequent blog posts starting with rule #4 on ransomware next week.