Data backup and archiving may not be the most exciting aspects of a business. But they are necessary processes for every organization that recognizes the importance of protecting, preserving and managing data to meet security, compliance and recovery demands.
While fundamental to effective and efficient data management, many would argue that these processes are not strategic in the sense that they don’t drive new business or revenue opportunities. However, ignoring them could put businesses at risk. Key analysis, reporting and decision making are disrupted when data is either not accessible or has been altered or is unreadable.
So, how do you achieve a balance between the budget to reliably manage your data and the budget to enable the business with new technologies and applications? No one would dispute that data is growing faster than ever before, backup windows are shrinking, and expectations for recovery time and recovery point objectives are becoming more aggressive. Storage budgets can absorb only so much. What’s the formula for success?
Here are three steps for managing backup and recovery that enable IT teams to address today’s most common business challenges without busting the IT storage budget:
Step 1: Develop an overall data lifecycle management strategy
A data lifecycle management strategy gives IT teams the tools, technologies and processes to manage data appropriately and cost effectively at every stage of its lifecycle. Archiving is a great example of this—especially given that many organizations are moving to all-flash storage arrays for primary storage. The last thing you want is to have archived storage that is rarely needed clogging up your production environment for databases, online-transaction processing, customer relationship management and other primary applications. With an archive, you can store that information on much less expensive media, such as tape, or use a cloud archive for data that may initially require frequent retrieval. With a data lifecycle management strategy in place, you can plan how different types of data will be stored to manage costs at any stage of the lifecycle, without sacrificing security, protection or accessibility.
Step 2: Deploy every technology platform at your disposal
The relentless growth and diversity of data can create huge challenges for organizations. However, a broad array of solutions are available to organizations today, from on-premises flash and sophisticated tiering methodologies to economical cloud options and more. The key is to develop a hybrid approach across the data management lifecycle that is aligned to your budget and business requirements.
Just in the areas of backup and archiving, a third-party provider with a wide range of services can offer tremendous choice in terms of solutions and technologies:
- Backup: Cloud data replication; cloud backup for servers and PCs; data center colocation; off-site media vaulting; data backup as part of disaster recovery as a service
- Archive: Physical off-site media storage; cloud archive; data migration to the cloud; off-premises colocation of data archive targets
Step 3: Work with a trusted, experienced, technology-neutral partner
It is important to have choices in today’s evolving business environment. Solutions appropriate for one area of the organization may not work as well for another. For example, on-premises archiving may be acceptable for certain business data, while off-premises solutions may be required for data governed by regulatory compliance. Working with a trusted partner on the lifecycle of all the data that matters to your business will enable IT to develop a targeted plan utilizing a hybrid selection of storage units and managed services. Look for a technology-neutral vendor that can take a holistic view of your entire storage and data management environment and recommend solutions based on business drivers and data types.
Trying to put it all together without an expert partner can be time-consuming and challenging for IT departments that need to focus on activities that enable growth and innovation. Today, data can open doors, improve decision making and strengthen your connection with customers. Prioritize data management strategies that protect and preserve the data that matters.