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How to Improve Data Protection Strategies for the Digital Age

Cloud | Posted on December 12, 2019 by Ryan Demelo

Digital transformation is changing the way businesses operate on a fundamental level. With many more digital platforms and emerging technologies like big data and the Internet of Things – the rate of data production has grown at a steady pace. With no sign of things slowing down, data protection is more important than ever. 

According to IDC, the amount of data in the world will balloon to 175 zettabytes by 2025. For reference, there were 33 zettabytes of data in 2018. 

Data protection, storage and backup needs will rise along with the increase in data production. The result will be added strain on legacy, tape-based backup and disaster recovery solutions.

Backup as a Service (BaaS) offers a far more capable alternative to older methodologies, providing improved scalability and reliability while lowering associated disaster recovery costs.

Getting ahead of data protection may require sweeping organizational change. This often includes changes to everything from data management processes to disaster recovery and backup solutions.

In the article below, we’ll explore why and how upgrading your data protection strategy will better equip you to meet the challenges posed by digital transformation. 

Gain a better understanding of retention policies

Data retention policies play an essential role in enterprise data management strategies, determining which data to archive and how to store or dispose of it when it’s no longer needed. A detailed, comprehensive retention policy can help organizations continue to manage massive – and growing – data repositories in the coming years.

In practice, however, existing retention policies seldom meet standards of consistency or data management best practices. More often, they’re neglected or contain errors that could impede data archival, disposal and retrieval processes. Many are outdated or fail to account for changes to business requirements or evolving regulations governing data management.

Meanwhile, those regulatory requirements are evolving. Retention policies need routine updates to reflect the latest changes and guidelines. Today, regular updates are table stakes for organizations in regulation heavy verticals like healthcare or financial services. 

Consumer industries face increased compliance demands as well. The introduction of General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act established new benchmarks for data management.

Businesses need coherent, detailed retention policies. These need to define how long to retain certain types of data and when it’s safe to dispose of them.

A data retention policy should be refined on a continuing basis and subject to ongoing reviews to account for new developments and requirements. Working with an external consultant that has experience and expertise in data management and regulatory compliance does a great deal to simplify these proceedings.

Invest in alternatives to tape

Tape-based backups have been the standard in data archival and business continuity strategies for decades. Tape is affordable and portable, making it an attractive option for organizations that have held off on modern backup solutions.

But tape backups will eventually fail, creating significant business risk for the organizations relying on them. In addition, there are technical limitations such as linear access-only drives that have a negative impact on data protection and disaster recovery practices. At this stage, the drawbacks of tape far outweigh the benefits. 

Organizations have far better alternatives that provide reliability, accessibility and scalability:

  • Network-attached storage: Expands storage space, combines on-premises and cloud-based storage capabilities and incorporates automated backup processes to protect data. 
  • Cloud storage: Offers resilience and redundancy in the event of a disruption, while providing scalability to expand backup practices when required.
  • Object-based storage: Provides high scalability, fast data retrieval and recovery speeds and fewer technological limitations at an affordable cost.

BaaS solutions leverage all of these technologies, helping businesses move beyond tape backups to ensure proper safeguarding of data against potential threats.

Work with a managed service provider for proactive monitoring

Handling data management and protection tasks in-house isn’t always the best option for organizations with lean IT teams. They may lack the time, personnel or resources to maintain effective backup strategies. For example, many businesses do not test their backup practices to verify that they work as expected.

A 2018 Spiceworks survey revealed that almost one-quarter of businesses never test their disaster recovery strategies. Another 29% only assess disaster recovery capabilities once a year. This creates a lot of uncertainty around processes designed to protect against the unknown and unforeseen.

Without hands-on monitoring and support, it can take a while for stakeholders to even realize that something has gone wrong with backup processes. This results in delayed recovery and potential risk to the integrity of archived data.

Partnering with a managed service provider with 24/7 monitoring services offers key benefits by mitigating risk and ensuring backups are running properly. If a problem arises, the MSP alerts your organization. This way, your IT team can intervene before the issue causes lasting damage. 

Softchoice’s BaaS includes around-the-clock support carried out by qualified experts. Proactive monitoring services help businesses spot and resolve issues quicker than ever, minimizing downtime and allowing for faster recovery times. Because these responsibilities are managed by a third party, your organization devotes less capital and internal headcount to internal monitoring capabilities. 

Consider BaaS solutions for backup and recovery needs

BaaS addresses the most common pain points related to data backup and recovery. This means a more reliable and cost-effective alternative to legacy methodologies and internal management strategies. By entrusting day-to-day data backup responsibilities to a qualified third party, businesses can properly safeguard their valuable data, while freeing up IT resources to devote to other strategic tasks. 

From implementation to everyday management, companies benefit from the hands-on support that a BaaS provider offers. Organizations should have full confidence in their data protection, backup and recovery strategies. Partnering with an experienced MSP like Softchoice is the best way to remove any doubt or uncertainty from the equation.

To learn how to introduce scalable and reliable data backup solutions into your digital transformation strategy, download our guide “6 Practices for Better IT Resiliency Planning”.


Check our previous articles in this series, “3 Ways Your Infrastructure is Preventing IT Resilience” and “Is Your Risk Mitigation Strategy Resilient Enough?“.

Protect your critical data and applications with our turnkey Backup as a Service solution. Reinforced by our deep understanding of data center and network technologies and enterprise-grade managed services, this offering helps you resolve issues faster and free IT resources to refocus on business transformation. 

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