All enterprises contain multiple applications, databases, operating systems, hypervisors, and data types in their data centers. As such, enterprises minimally expect any modern backup software solution to protect those items. However, protecting them only scratches the surface of the needs that enterprises expect modern backup software solutions to meet.
The expectations that enterprises have of backup software has seemingly grown exponentially in recent years. Once viewed as an insurance policy should inadvertent data loss occur, backup software has grown in stature in recent years. Ransomware attacks, heightened disaster recovery requirements, and distributed work forces have all contributed to putting new demands on backup software.
Here are four new requirements that any modern backup software solution must now satisfy.
Utilizes Multiple Cloud Technologies
Enterprises of all sizes now use cloud technologies. These include hosting their applications and data in hybrid, private, purpose-built, and public clouds. Each of these usually has unique application and data protection requirements. Modern data protection solutions must take the variables of each cloud into account when protecting them.
To protect them, these solutions often utilize cloud technologies themselves. Their utilization of cloud technologies may surface in multiple ways. It may be as â€œsimpleâ€ as storing data on cloud storage and perhaps managing data placement across different cloud storage tiers.
The solution may itself offer more sophisticated cloud-native features. This may include delivering its offering as a backup-as-a-service (BaaS) that runs in public, private, or purpose-built clouds. These cloud-native features often encompass delivering compute and storage capacity that scale up or down as needed. Organizations may also find these solutions deliver more flexible pricing options, such as annual or monthly subscriptions.
Protects the Edge
Enterprises deploy more applications and generate more data in remote and branch offices. Further, data protection solutions must better account for individuals working out of home offices. To protect all these edge locations introduces new backup software requirements.
For instance, it will need to protect smartphones, laptops, PCs, and other mobile devices. These devices may support multiple operating systems (Android, iOS, Windows, and potentially more) which creates new support challenges.
Enterprises will also need to examine how these solutions backup, transmit, store, and recover backup data. Data protection solutions may start with a full system backup and then do incremental backups thereafter. They then often store this backup data with a cloud provider. Enterprises will want to examine what options the solution provides to back up and store the data. Backing up and storing unnecessary data lengthens backup and restore times while increasing network bandwidth and cloud storage costs.
Secures the Environment
Backup software gets categorized under the broader label of data protection. To date, backup software primarily made and stored copies of production data in the event it was compromised. Thanks to ransomware, enterprises need backup software to expand its data protection responsibilities.
Increasingly, they expect data protection solutions to keep their backup data secure from internal and external threats. To meet this expectation, more data protection solutions scan for and detect threats such as malware and ransomware.
These solutions also take steps to validate and preserve the integrity of existing backup data. Many now actively monitor backup data stores for suspicious activity, track backup admin logins and store backup on immutable storage.
They also offer options to ensure successful recoveries from backups. Since backup data may contain data infected with ransomware, they scan backup data during recoveries to detect and remove known ransomware strains. Some backup software even analyzes operating systems to help keep patches and fixes up to date. This helps to prevent ransomware from exploiting holes in out-of-date operating systems.
Delivers More Next-gen Features
Even as backup software takes on new data protection responsibilities, it must mature to address new backup and recovery requirements. This shows up in a few ways.
First, it must continue to support existing hypervisors. Hypervisors such as Microsoft Hyper-V, Nutanix AHV, and VMware vSphere continue to support new guest VM operating systems. They also introduce new management features. Since most enterprises still run many of their applications on these platforms, backup software must address these new hypervisor features.
Backup software must also keep pace with new operating systems coming to market as well as innovations in existing ones. For instance, more enterprises expect to adopt containers and Kubernetes in the coming years. However, before they can do so, they need backup software that will protect these environments.
Last, but not least, backup itself continues to mature. Automated disaster recovery (DR), continuous data protection (CDP), and Microsoft 365 online backups have emerged as enterprise backup requirements. Backup software must meet these new expectations to remain relevant.
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