Cloud Data Backup Does Not Have to be All or Nothing

Adoption of the cloud for mission critical business applications is accelerating. But, does it have to be “all or nothing”.

As stated in the post How to Evaluate Moving Legacy Mission-Critical Apps to the Cloud “A recently released survey conducted by Stratus, North Bridge Venture Partners and GigaOM Research found that 75 percent of firms are now reporting the use of some sort of cloud platform, and the worldwide addressable market for cloud computing will reach $158.8 billion by 2013, an increase of 126.5 percent from 2011.”

cloud data backupKevin Parker of Rackspace says “But the real unspoken advantage of cloud adoption—and something not enough people talk about—is that it lets companies adopt modern development techniques, allowing businesses to innovate and reduce time to market. The ability to speed up development lifecycles and to deliver value to market on short intervals—this is how businesses are going to maintain their competitive advantage in this new era of cloud IT.

When the term “cloud” is mentioned, we visualize an “all or nothing” scenario. An example would be data backup and recovery where all the data and the processes are expected to be deployed in the cloud. But, this is not the only model that is possible. A hybrid model may be the preferred in certain cases.

In the case of data backup and recovery, for instance, the data can alternatively remain within the customer’s network and deployed off site at the customer’s choice location. The processes can be managed in the cloud. The data does not have to be in the cloud with the data backup administration. They can be separate. The benefit gained by deploying the data backup processes in the cloud is having the management of the data backup and recovery performed and scheduled remotely by specialists in this field. An additional benefit is to remove the burden of understanding and managing data backup processes from the already stretched IT staff.

There are Data Backup/Recovery Managed Service Providers (DB/R MSP) that provide remote management of the Backup process, along with professional Disaster Backup and Recovery consultation. Contracting a DB/R MSP with the model of remote DB/R management allows the enterprise to maintain their data locally without the need to hire new staff or train existing staff in sophisticated data backup and recovery processes.

For more information on the subject of cloud data backup and recovery management, contact Salvus Data Consultants.

Don’t Forget These Things When Data Backup and Recovery Processes are Being Developed

When evaluating data backup and recovery processes, there are several things to consider.

First, and maybe most importantly, recognize this will be the most mission critical activity undertaken when the company’s data needs to be restored. There is often an inclination to assign data backup to the most junior IT staff member because IT staffs are overloaded. This decision could be detrimental when the time arises to get the data back in production and the company back online. Data backup and recovery must be put in the hands of professionals that understand this complex discipline.Planning Technical Processes

There should also be an understanding that data recovery does not only occur in the case of a natural disaster. Data backup and recovery strategies must also meet company policies regarding regulatory requirements, data breaches, ability to respond to court orders, and more. This requires coordinated strategies and testing. Data Backup strategies must be planned and tested to assure all company requirements regarding data retention and recovery are met.

The design of the Data Backup process has multiple dimensions. These multiple dimensions must all be considered when designing the process, handling of exceptions and the physical network to support the backup and restore process. One dimension cannot be discussed without overlaying the other dimensions to develop a complete solution. The analysis must consider the function of the data, the medium the data is on, the physical location of the data in relation to the location of its backup site, to name just a few.

Recovery time requirements are important. The business requirement may require a certain restore time. In other words, if it takes so long to restore the entire environment that the company is no longer able to remain in business, then what’s the point? A regulatory body requirement is not met, then financially damaging fees may be assessed to the company.

A major part of the backup and recovery process is the physical network. To name just a few of the factors that impact the infrastructure design would be the frequency of the backups, the required time for the restore to be completed for effectiveness, the medium the data resides, the proximity of the backup location to the original site, etc. Networks may be under-powered to meet data backup and recovery requirements.

Another dimension of the Data Backup process is the medium the data resides. All considerations must be applied to each type of data that exists in the computer environment. This is true for the backup and the restore processes of the data.

Outsourcing data backup processes is an approach that should be considered. Outsourcing to an American managed service provider is often the preferred choice; especially if the data can remain within the control of the company and only the backup and recovery procedures are performed remotely by the data backup and recovery MSP.

Data backup and recovery is a discipline mastered by those that specialize in it. Data backup/recovery is a mission-critical process that requires the same attention as the most important ERP or CRM application.

For more information on enterprise data backup and recovery, contact Salvus Data Consultants. Salvus uses Tivoli Storage Management (TSM) remotely to manage your Data B/R plan for you while you maintain control of the data.

Resilient Data Must Stand Up to More Than Just a Catastrophic Event

To say that data is resilient is more than just saying the data can be recovered after a catastrophic event. Resilience must also take into considerations processes that are ongoing and may be taking a toll on the data’s stability over a period of time. This is especially true of Big Data. Data that is a combination of internal business processes data and data from outside sources, such as Social Media.

resilient dataData should be treated as we treat our own bodies. We exercise and eat well to have a backup of energy and muscle to take over when our body might tell us that some repetitive motion, or lack of motion, has caused harm.

Just as our bodies, data can be slowly eroding in its quality due to an incorrect assumption by a systems analyst or an unknown error in applications code. But, in the case of data, where is the reserve? The answer is in the data backup. Resilience exists only if you have the ability to go back to a time before the errant processes began to erode the value of the data and then selectively recover.

There was no event that occurred, or, disaster that rung bells and stopped applications. There was only a slow erosion of data quality that now needs to be reversed so that the data provides value into the future.

These are the scenarios that professional data backup and recovery specialists consider.  These nuances cannot be overlooked and ignored. As we have stated in an earlier blog  ENTERPRISE DATA BACKUP IS MORE THAN JUST BEING ABLE TO GET THE DATA BACK, there are real life situations that require the ability to “look back in time”. To be able to just restore data from last night’s backup is not sufficient.

Salvus Data Consultants assist companies in evaluating your data backup and recovery processes to ensure that all scenarios are considered to ensure your data is resilient, not just backed up. Then Salvus can manage your entire backup and recovery processes remotely without your data ever leaving your control.

Consider an MSP for Data Backup That Knows Tivoli Storage Manager

Outsourcing data backup processes is an approach that should be considered. Outsourcing to an American Managed Service Provider is often the preferred choice; especially if the data can remain within the control of the company and only the backup and recovery procedures are performed remotely by the data backup and recovery MSP.

IT managed servicesA major benefit for a business outsourcing data backup is to free up the time of the IT staff to focus on core business strategies instead of training on the new Backup and Recovery techniques and then spending hours each day looking at logs and emails. The Storage Administrator can be released from the endless cycle of repeating the same tasks over and over again. And, the processes can be designed and performed by experts in the field of data backup.

In the search for an outsourced Data Backup and Recovery provider, a company should look for having direct access to a team of senior certified consultants which utilize top rated backup and recovery processes and software platform.

IBM’s Tivoli Storage Manager (TSM) provides a platform to resolve both tactical and strategic backup solutions. Salvus Data Consultants is an MSP that provides IBM’s TSM backup environments. IBM Tivoli Storage Manager is a data protection platform that gives enterprises a single point of control and administration for storage management needs. It is the flagship product in the IBM Tivoli Storage Manager family. As stated by IBM, “TSM enables outstanding efficiency, simplicity and scalability for virtual, physical and cloud backup environments of all sizes.” TSM’s flexible deployment options include cloud services, integrated appliances and capacity-based solution bundles.

So, the data can remain within the customer’s control while the management of backup and recovery processes can be handled remotely by the MSP. The customer’s IT staff is released from becoming data backup and recovery experts.

When considering a new approach to your Data Backup and Restore, consider outsourcing to an American MSP that will partner with you in the design and execution of a proactive strategy. Contact Salvus Data to explore the benefits that an experience data backup and recovery MSP can provide your business.

Enterprise Data Backup is More Than Just Being Able to Get the Data Back

The purpose of enterprise data backup is more than just being prepared to restore data in the case of a catastrophic event resulting from weather or machine failure.

Court oder on data requirementsData backup and recovery strategies must also meet company policies regarding regulatory requirements, data breaches, ability to respond to court orders, and more. These requirements go beyond just putting the data back the way it was before the disaster.

Company policies may have varying stipulations for retention and restore requirements from the different areas of responsibilities. For instance:

Regulatory Requirements

A company knows what regulatory bodies they must comply with. However, that coordination is not always formalized between the IT staff responsible for data back and recovery and the department responsible for the regulatory compliance. Regulatory compliance can become quite complex and is often changing. For instance, an organization may find that they must comply with HIPAA because they handle medical records on their employees or students, FFIEC because they handle money, and FISMA because they participate in government grants. Each regulatory requirement can have unique data recovery responsibilities that are being modified on a sporadic basis.

Data Breaches

The Business Continuity department of large organizations is finding that their responsibilities have grown beyond people, facilities and information systems. The Business Continuity people are now approached with the responsibility of handling response, protection and recovery procedures if enterprise data is compromised. Data breaches are becoming more of a threat, both from a technical perspective and a reputation perspective. Data resilience is critical to the business regarding the increase in data breaches over the recent years.

Court Orders

An enterprise has the responsibility to be prepared to respond to court orders for information requests. In the case of litigation, the duty to preserve evidence can start with reasonable anticipation of litigation. As the litigation process proceeds, the data retention requirements may need to be dynamically altered from current standard company procedures.

Consider that data is not only to be backed up for protection of a catastrophic event, but, it also needs to be restored for many different purposes and meet varying requirements. This requires coordinated strategies and testing. Data Backup strategies must be planned and tested to assure all company requirements regarding data retention and recovery are met.

Consult with Data Backup and Recovery specialists, such as Salvus Data Consultants to ensure your organizations is taking into considerations all data recovery requirements.

Essential Core Data is Better Managed Through Master Data Management Strategies

Master Data is the core data that is essential to all businesses, regardless of size or industry. Recognizing how important master data is to operations, many businesses are moving towards Master Data Management (MDM) models to ensure their master data is persistently healthy. These models include content consolidation, master data harmonization, policies, standards, tools, and more.  Examples of the more commonly governed master data include customers, materials, and vendors.

Master Data Management SupportComputer Weekly states that choosing master data management (MDM) software differs from selecting other technologies for managing enterprise data. “Technology choice in MDM should be governed by a well-structured process.” Andy Hayler, CEO of London-based analyst firm said. Buyers need to look at the technical constraints of their own IT environment and identify their MDM requirements in some depth. “Maybe for your company certain features are really important,” he said. “Maybe you have got very high volumes of data, or maybe hierarchy management is more complex for you.”

IBM, with its InfoSphere MDM, for example, manages master data for single or multiple domains – customers, patients, citizens, suppliers, locations, products, services offerings, accounts & more. However, Microsoft’s entry into the MDM market, though it is likely to take a number of years, could put pricing pressure on its competitors as Microsoft targets mid-sized companies with lower-cost MDM products.

John Radcliffe, an analyst with Gartner said “Most MDM vendors are also more focused on supporting operational and transactional environments – think call centers and warehouse floors – but some are optimized to support business intelligence (BI) and other analytical use cases”. After identifying a clear vision for the master data program, organizations need to create a strategy. This means considering the available resources and understanding the amount of time and money involved in executing an MDM plan. 

Data within your company is critical, as shown by the development of more sophisticated technologies, such as MDM, to manage the second most critical asset in any company – second only to the employees themselves. Backup and Recovery of that Data is also critical to protect this important asset. As the data and its management becomes more sophisticated, so do the backup and recovery procedures.

The IT staff is stretched thin with the design, management and support of data models within the organization. The requirements of the sophisticated data backup design and execution can be outsourced to take that pressure off the IT staff and allow them to focus on internal critical initiatives. Consider Managed Service Providers, such as Salvus Data Consultants, that specialize in all modern Data Backup/Recovery methods for this very critical need.

The SMB’s Perspective of Data Backup from a Managed Service Provider

SMBs are implementing Big Data strategies to stay competitive in a global market. Interestingly, the SMB is able to react to, and be more successful in, adopting new technologies than their big company competitors.

The SMB has a more simple corporate structure. This enables employees to make decisions and act quickly without bureaucratic toll gates, as larger companies have. The SMB also does not have the culture that often answers questions that arise from new ideas with ” we tried that and it did not work.” This agility gives the SMB an edge through accelerated innovation. redphone

With the implementation of Big Data comes the need for sophisticated Data Backup and Recovery procedures. Although the SMB is nimble, the SMB also has the challenge of a limited IT staff. The old method of passing the responsibility of Backup and Recovery to the newest and most junior IT staff person is no longer an option when mission-critical data is now in a combination of structured and unstructured complex formats. The need for a comprehensive data backup strategy becomes more critical to the business, while the implementation of that strategy becomes more complex.

The SMB will look to the cloud for an answer to their backup needs. However, as Spiceworks reports on “How SMB’s are backing up“, 28% of the SMBs that are avoiding the cloud are avoiding it because they perceive a lack of control of data/security issues. This concern generally comes from the understanding that remote backup processes provided by an MSP require the data to leave the SMB’s network.

This is not necessarily the case. Salvus Data Consultants is a Data Backup/Recovery Managed Service Provider that does not require the data to leave the customer’s network unless the SMB wants the data to be stored offsite. The data can remain within the customer’s network or deployed off site at the customer’s chosen location, while the processes are managed in the cloud.

The benefit gained by deploying the data backup processes in the cloud is having the management of the data backup and recovery performed and scheduled remotely by data consultants that specialize in this field. An additional benefit is to remove the burden from the already stretched IT staff. This addresses the concern that holds back an SMB from proceeding with using an MSP Cloud solution to implement comprehensive BIG Data Backup/Recover processes.