By Christopher Pestano, Solution Sales Director, Data Protection, Hitachi Data Systems
Information is a company’s most important asset and protecting this data is an expensive and complex process. For every US $1 that a company spends to keep customer information, it invests at least US $4-6 to protect it.
Server virtualization, Internet of Things, data analytics and software-defined data centers – each one of these has brought a new set of data protection requirements and challenges.
For many of today’s organizations data protection is a form of costly but essential insurance; offering a guard against data loss that could damage brand reputation or leave them open to lawsuits. As a result, most companies have in place two or more solutions to manage their data protection needs.
With IT budgets at best remaining the same, while data handling and analysis continue to skyrocket, it is unsurprising that many companies are looking to reduce cost and optimize processes associated with data protection.
But where should they start? Here are a few things to consider:
1. Protection should add value - The cost of protection should be commensurate to the business value of the information. By clearly identifying what is critical, important and standard data, businesses can start to align processes with business requirements.
For example, core banking systems, critical to a bank’s operation, may warrant hardware-based storage snapshots for operational recovery. While this costs more, it enables data recovery within minutes, ensuring business continuity. At the other end of the spectrum, patient data in the healthcare industry, which has to be kept for the lifetime of the patient but may be rarely accessed, can be stored in private, hybrid or even public cloud (if regulations permit) to optimize costs for long-term retention.
2. Think through your options - While cloud may be the fastest way to reduce cost, it may also be the fastest way to introduce risk - with issues around security, flexibility and real costs all proving to be common topics.
Security concerns can be allayed with encryption, ensuring companies ultimately ‘hold the key’ to their own data. Understanding how much the cloud will cost based on expected usage patterns requires planning, but ensures businesses aren’t surprised by additional charges or system limitations.
Being able to ensure flexibility is a slightly harder task. Companies need a ‘concierge to the cloud’; a solution that can help move data between clouds so companies can take advantage of the latest cloud innovations or move between providers without the headaches.
3. Process transformation and consolidation - As technology catches up with trends, it is becoming easier to adopt a single solution to enable businesses to support multiple and evolving workloads. For example, one of the world’s largest telecommunications companies is using a joint solution of Hitachi Protection Platform and Veritas NetBackup to support the varying data protection requirements of customers through-out the world from a single multi-tenanted system.
4. Building your own vs. purpose-built appliances - It may be tempting to build a custom data protection solution but this comes with a costly set of storage solutions and applications, as well as a team to run them. By opting instead for purpose-built appliances, IT can free up time to focus on higher value tasks.
Purpose-built appliances are carefully designed by experts for maximum ingest of data, availability and compatibility which can result in huge improvements. A leading global beverage company was able to reduce data protection requirements by 70 per cent despite an annual data growth of 30 per cent. Meanwhile, a multinational retailer reduced backup time by 50 per cent and is now able to replicate its data on a nightly basis.
Rather than approaching data protection with a ‘keep everything’ mindset, businesses now have far more flexibility to make savings, gain insight and ultimately get value from the data they are required to keep.