CONTINUUM Blog

The pressing need to move to Cloud-based backup

In light of what’s occurred in recent months, businesses are facing a number of IT operations management challenges. With most employees now working from home, temporary staff reductions and workplace access restrictions, many IT teams have had to completely revise their ways of doing things.

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A weak link not to be overlooked in today’s environment

One of the aspects of operations that our specialists are closely monitoring is data protection. For many businesses (estimated at close to 70% of organizations in Quebec), backup management is still done locally using physical resources. Over half of these are still using magnetic tape cassettes, requiring an on-site presence.

The pandemic and the shift to telework have multiplied the number of emails and heightened their importance. Corporate communications, attachments, sensitive information, exchanges with clients, orders and contracts… in a matter of weeks email has once again become the main digital media for many essential processes.

Shortly after the first support calls came in and technical interventions took place to solve backup issues, we realized the magnitude of the tape-based data protection problem. Even though, for many organizations, backup and recovery operations are programmed and can easily be managed remotely, the problem lies in the limited storage capacity and physical handling of tapes are at the heart of the problem. Whether it’s cassette replacement, library maintenance or (external) archiving preparation issues, the current climate has added complexity and significant risks of data loss.

 

How have businesses been backing up their data over the last two months?

That’s where things get complicated! They have been fumbling and muddling through it as best as they can. Teams are looking for workarounds. They are replicating data between systems without pulling out the tapes, allowing existing cassettes to be overwritten, making manual copies and tolerating the risk of error.

In times of crisis, these temporary measures are understandable. The problem arises from a prolonged crisis period, which creates pressure to find more reliable and, especially, more permanent solutions. Organizations cannot afford to expose themselves to risks or non-compliant practices, particularly at such a sensitive time. We’re talking about business-critical data protection, thousands of hours of work, accounting and contract information and the ability to ensure business recovery in case of disaster.

According to our experts, backup infrastructure already posed challenges before the crisis even began, signalling a chronic underinvestment. “It is high time that we review business practices in this regard, especially since the Cloud and automation tools have resulted in an entirely new reality.” Additionally, protection measures must now extend beyond the building walls to include not only internal system data but also external data stored through public Cloud providers. To that effect, one of the most interesting optimization solutions is actually to use the public Cloud itself as part of an integrated data protection strategy.

 

Read the second part of this article on available solutions and how to make the right choice.

 

Jose Teixeira

Manager, Internal Sales

PCD Solutions