The data protection values

We all know that backup is the last frontier of data protection. Many refer to it as the wall beyond which the abyss of data loss appears, but I personally disagree with the notion of the “last frontier” of data protection being a wall.

The word “wall” is often invoked to identify a clear division between opposites, but a wall can’t show the data value that’s beyond that wall.

I would rather illustrate the importance of data protection strategies with the image of a dam, where corporate resources, data and services are stored in the pool.

Standing at the top of the dam, you stand at dizzying heights above dark, swirling water that instills the sinking feeling of data loss and helplessness in the face of having to restore your data.

I think there are many functional connections to be made between backup and this image, and I will outline them down below.

Flow control

Water flow is regulated through specific paths, sluice gates, pumps and appliances that check the water level.

In IT:

  • The applications and services delivered must adhere to security policies, which enables data to securely communicate and move around. This same, secure approach involves users and applications as well.
  • This protection strategy must be an integrated part of the process, and not just an incidental object of security with its own, disjointed path.

 

The resource balance

Think of the spectacular water fountains that move water from the dam, downstream.

Water splashes off the cement and becomes one with the river. This process keeps the water level suitable for its needs.

In IT:

  • The decommissioning of production data occurs when it becomes irrelevant. This involves moving outdated data to architectures that have the lowest economic impact.

Backup policies are the easiest way to store data and must include the option of being able to:

  • Restore information granularly and at the requested point in time.
  • Restore information according to general data protection regulation (GDPR) laws.
  • Create snapshots of specific points in time through long-term storage policies (i.e., GFS).

Sizing and scaling

At the design stage for a dam project, it’s important to estimate all the variables and be certain that they can deal with any contingencies like downpours and storms.

In IT:

  • It’s essential that you accurately estimate the resources you need to manage unforeseen events by properly configuring the components.
  • Scalability in information protection should be achieved through a software-defined model that makes it possible to add components without being forced to use the same specific objects, avoiding hardware lock-ins.

Returning to the example of the dam, wouldn’t it be beneficial if you could add a new and more efficient type of cement without having to re-use the old one, forcing a part to be rebuilt?

An ecosystem, not individual objects

The dam is a complex architecture of individual entities that are united in the builders’ requirement to provide a service for the community.

In IT:

  • Restoring not just data, but services and related applications too, should be a nice-to-have, available option.

Resource management skills

Personnel that control the dam must be able to intercept any malfunctions in the structure and quickly respond with mitigation and resolution actions.

In IT:

  • Even the best IT tool is useless if it’s not easy to use under pressure.
  • An easy-to-use tool allows for expertise to be shared among team members. Consider the time you’d lose if your team members had to contact a few colleagues to carry out a restoration procedure. What would happen if colleagues couldn’t be reached? What about the costs associated with on-call availability?

What’s the value?

Water is a valuable resource since it’s vital to the existence of our ecosystem. Dams process this precious resource and turn it into clean power.

In IT:

  • In business, water can be compared to intellectual property being turned into services and goods that are sold to customers. These kinds of business models have the strength of repeatability and adaptability on their side.
  • Data is the “water” of most organizations, and its loss means the end of the organization itself.

Reusing resources

At night, dams pump water back upstream. It is a self-generative system of value.

The lake is not the only resource; people often enjoy fishing on the shores of the dam’s artificial lake, and sportsmen of all ages reap the benefits of the human ability to harness nature.

In IT:

  • A backup tool can bring new life to your data-saving assets and improve the economic cost-benefit analysis. An example of this is the possibility of data mining on backup data and alleviating production overload.
  • Being able to interpret saved data can also allow you to discover new trends and choose better business models, thus engaging new potential customers.

What if resources are in short supply?

2022 was a remarkably hot year with no abundant rainfall. Dams provided a buffer, helping the areas they serve avoid this climate impasse.

In IT:

  • A backup system should provide organizations with an asset that can be used when the original is no longer available. This holds unquestionable value when, for example, you can restore a virtual machine (VM) by starting it directly from a backup or a network share and database.

Useful links:

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