10 Years of World Backup Day: The Past, Present, and Future of Data Protection
March 31, 2020 is the tenth annual World Backup Day. If you missed the first nine, that’s fine. It’s understandable. Missing the next nine, however, is unwise. Data—your data—is no longer a peripheral subject. It’s at the center of every conversation from Brussels to Sacramento.
And it’s a holistic conversation. Within the enterprise, any discussion about data should answer questions about its past, present, and future. Is the data we’re backing up to on-premise, edge, and public cloud environments compliant with civic mandates and security measures? How effective is our data protection strategy now and in case a disaster strikes now, is our business able to recover immediately? And, how do we ensure the backed up data we have is being used as more than an insurance policy—helping us innovate faster and more effectively for our employees, customers, and the planet?
Ensuring Backed Up Data is Compliant and Safe
Compliance and security is difficult. Threats—from multiple vectors—and data governance mandates continuously evolve. The challenge is having a comprehensive strategy that keeps up with a number of incessantly evolving security and compliance components. Such a strategy requires a first-principles approach, tackling the underlying challenge rather than its fallout.
The core challenge for many enterprises is mass data fragmentation or the ever-growing proliferation of data—across different locations, infrastructure silos, clouds, and management systems. This is the first way Cohesity addresses this challenge: reducing data sprawl and its consequences. Tangibly, Cohesity tackles concerns with regard to compliance and security in several ways, ensuring data doesn’t become a liability.
Making Compliance Simple
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) creates a framework for data privacy, particularly with regard to the rights of people over their personally identifiable information (PII). GDPR and similar regulations are necessary. A firm stance on data privacy eliminates ambiguity in the face of an evolving world and protects the interests of individuals. The dilemma for many enterprises today is not philosophical, but rather operational. Adhering to compliance mandates requires enterprises to effectively:
- Understand from where they are backing up personally identifiable information (PII)
- Know the duration of how long PII has been stored
- Determine whether data has been breached
This isn’t trivial, particularly for large enterprises with a significant reserve of data. Cohesity can help address these requirements by allowing the ability to:
- Search for sensitive data across workloads and location
- Mask PII
- Have automated policies that govern where, and for how long, data is stored
Making No Compromises on Security
Data, particularly data that’s retained for long durations of time, is prone to security risks that can arise from human error, corruption, and cyberattacks. In fact, ransomware attackers often target backup data first. Your data is at risk principally due to poor management, unauthorized access, and evolving threats.
Any backup and recovery solution needs to make no compromises on security. A few ways to tackle security concerns are:
- Using file and view-level WORM (write once, read many) architecture
- Ensuring only authorized users have access to specific data with Role-Based Access Control permissions and multi-factor authentication
- Having a comprehensive solution for ransomware, including proactive monitoring as well as remediation
Ensuring Efficacy and Recoverability
Getting back to the present has some zen undertones but in the context of an enterprise, it’s a critical imperative. If a disaster strikes the next minute, how quickly and effectively can you recover data?
It seems straightforward but there are several challenges when it comes to enterprise backup and recovery:
- Data comes from a variety of locations
- Data comes from a variety of sources or workloads
- Each workload is idiosyncratic with nuances that must be overcome when protecting it
Cohesity is a platform and that’s an intentional decision. A platform approach helps solve these particular challenges in a way that other solutions simply cannot.
A Platform That’s Location-Agnostic
Cohesity natively supports major public clouds, providing a single platform that unifies backup capabilities across on-premises and public cloud environments. This encompasses:
- The ability to back up Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS), Platform as a Service (PaaS), and Software as a Service (SaaS) workloads
- Disaster recovery in the truest sense, across locations
- Policy-driven long-term retention of data for compliance and cost optimization
Customer-Centric: New Use Cases Are Not Limited by Architecture
Cohesity is predicated on a fully distributed, shared-nothing file system designed for web-scale. This has numerous implications particularly in the realm of customer-centric innovation. A strong use case that can solve real pain points for today or tomorrow is not inhibited by the underlying architecture. In fact, the architecture makes it easier to address new challenges.
As one example, Continuous Data Protection from Cohesity offers near-zero RPOs for mission-critical virtual machines, shifting the narrative from time-based backups to event-based. Near-zero RPOs means every change and every I/O is protected, and in the case of disaster, this means reducing the probability of data loss and downtime. A journal-based approach alongside the ability to periodically consolidate log deltas with the foundational VMDK allows this solution to work. The implication: fully-hydrated recovery points, at any point in time—ensuring near-zero RPOs and rapid RTOs. This is a deep, native solution. One that’s possible because of the underlying architecture.
Native Integrations with Both Traditional and Modern Workloads
Many workloads are deeply nuanced. Take NoSQL as an example. Backing up and recovering such distributed databases is not trivial. Scalability, dynamism, and consistency are key dilemmas when protecting these modern workloads.
By using native APIs, Cohesity goes beyond the surface and performs backup and recovery workflows with granularity. As a corollary, backups are aware of file formats and schema, helping maintain replica consistency and providing other advantages. NoSQL is just one example. With native integrations for numerous workloads, Cohesity is able to solve workload-specific challenges and increase the efficacy of your backups and restores.
Ensuring Backups Serve As More Than an Insurance Policy
Leveraging Backups for Faster Software Development
To remain competitive, the cadence at which enterprises are developing and releasing software is steadily increasing. Underpinning this new pace is the need to continue investing in both ideological and structural changes. Teams are developing applications more quickly but the underlying infrastructure has not caught up.
The legacy way of supporting application development and testing relies on investing in and operating several disparate environments with dozens of copies of data spread across different silos.
This legacy approach delays the development and testing process, as obtaining relevant data can take up to multiple days, or even weeks. It’s simple: the legacy paradigm of provisioning data does not align with modern development needs.
The origin of this misalignment makes sense. It’s difficult to provision and manage data to multiple teams, across multiple geographies, at a rapidly growing cadence. Requesting a legacy model to not only increase its pace but also its efficacy is more than a large request. It’s untenable.
A solution that takes a platform approach has the strongest chance of solving these challenges. Cohesity allows enterprises to repurpose backup data as test data to build higher-quality software, faster. By predicating on a platform approach, Cohesity simplifies infrastructure for both backups and test data management—helping you release applications faster.
Apps: Doing Much More with Backups
With legacy solutions, in order to derive insights from data, backup admins had to make copies of their backups, and then lift and shift it to another compute environment. This made managing and protecting data complex and costly, and aggravated the challenge of mass data fragmentation.
Replacing this notion of needing to maintain multiple copies and shipping data around, Cohesity makes backup and other unstructured data productive by allowing you to run both Cohesity and third-party applications directly on backed up data. Apps that allow you to build comprehensive reports or automate recovery workflows without the need for code.
The benefit of Marketplace and apps is that the value of your data—and your ROI—grows with time. New applications continuously allow users to unlock more value from their data, in the form of insights as an example or more effectively secure data in the face of evolving threats and compliance regulations. Here are just some of the capabilities enabled with Marketplace:
- Desensitize and mask data with data masking before sharing it with developers
- Enable eDiscovery and compliance monitoring
- Uncover cyber exposures and blind spots within your production environment
These examples of repurposing data for effective test data management or deriving new insights directly from data are just that: examples. Because Cohesity’s vision is predicated on an architecture that doesn’t limit it, continuous innovation is not just possible—it’s inevitable.
Learn how to modernize your backup and recovery solution so your data management strategy is effective across the gamut: the past, present, and future.
Truly modern solutions go beyond a glossy veneer and are predicated on simplicity and user-centric design. And simplicity is always tangible—learn from Cohesity customers to see real, quantifiable benefits from using a modern data protection solution: