Data is an organisation’s most critical, strategic and competitive asset. In order for businesses to remain successful, in it imperative that they protect their data. 

However, thanks to the proliferation of data-generating devices and technologies such as virtualisation, the cloud and BYOD, that are found in today’s digital environment, data is growing at an exponential rate, writes Mike Rees, territory account manager for South Africa at Commvault.

In addition, legacy backup methods are simply not able to keep up with the demands of the modern data centre. Creating even more complexity are existing and pending compliancy and regulatory requirements, which dictate parameters for the storage and sharing of specific types of data sets. Organisations are required to cater for the management of this data and need to factor compliancy in to their backup solutions as well.

Yet, how can you tell if your organisation’s data requirements have surpassed the capabilities of your data protection solution? Here are some red flags to watch out for:

* Shrinking backup window: If it is taking the organisation longer and longer, each time, to backup and restore data, then the business may need to rethink your data protection approach. Not being able to backup or restore data within the set timeframe may produce negative or damaging effects on those business systems and applications which use and rely on that data to function optimally.
* Too much data redundancy: Not all data is created equal, and not all data requires backing up. Multiple copies of the same data also cost valuable resources to maintain. Implementing software-based global source-side deduplication eliminates up to 90% of redundant data at the source, before it makes its way across the network, and can cut backup time by as much as 50%.
* Multiple backup tools: As the business grows and data silos pop up, the business may have accumulated multiple backup products over time. These are time consuming to manage and keep track of, and are not always effective when new technologies are introduced. In order to consolidate and streamline backup and recovery, a single modern data protection solution that supports all applications and systems across an environment is necessary, saving both time and valuable resources.
* Manual intervention required: Backups are critical, however, you have far more strategic processes which require your attention than to waste time manually configuring and managing a data protection solution. The organisation requires a secure solution which will automate most functionality while still being agile enough to adapt to your changing business needs.
* Inadequate endpoint data protection: Endpoint data created and stored on peripheral devices such as laptops, is often overlooked in a data protection strategy, yet is often at most risk of being compromised. It’s important to ensure your data protection solution incorporates and backs up all data, including valuable endpoint data.
* Recovery point and time objectives for critical applications aren’t being properly met: The reason businesses back up in the first place is to recover important data, should it be required. It is essential that critical applications are being recovered within the required timeframe and back to their specified recovery point in order to meet SLAs. If this is not happening, the organisation may need to reconsider its data protection solution.
* Backups are slowing down productivity: Legacy backup systems which consume too much network space and processing power may be hindering application performance and slowing productivity down. If this is happening, the organisation then needs a modern data approach which limits the impact on production resources and speeds up recovery.
* Not making the most of storage resources: If the business is regularly investing in new equipment when existing capacity is pushed, the organisation may not be optimising its existing storage hardware. A modern data protection solution will automatically move older backups to less costly storage tiers, freeing up storage space and making the most of the existing infrastructure.
* Limits on what you can and can’t protect: Businesses may find themselves unable to protect all applications and systems across the environment due to overwhelmingly expensive data protection solutions, or budget pressure. This puts organisational data at risk of compromise. Modern data management solutions significantly cut the costs of disaster recovery (DR) while reducing recovery times and enabling the company to extend DR across all applications cost effectively.
* Inability to support the cloud: Most businesses are embracing a cloud strategy, or are planning for one in the future. Therefore, they need a backup and recovery solution that will support data protection, transport and retention across physical, virtual and cloud infrastructure in a single solution.
In conclusion, modern or rather ‘up-to-date’ data protection solutions are geared for the business of the future, while taking into account the demands of the current economy and business demands. It is critical to ensure that the data protection strategy covers all the bases, protecting your organisation’s most valuable asset while allowing for agility, growth and cost effectiveness.

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