It is clear we live in an always-on world. Regardless of what vertical market a business serves, it is likely that customers expect 24x7x365 access to at least some, if not all, of its business services. Even for knowledge workers, ubiquitous broadband networking and mobile devices now let employees work anywhere and at any time. Downtime is simply not tolerated anymore. This need for constant data access and system uptime has caused a shift in how we think about data protection and business continuity over the years, particularly for SMBs.
Years of Backup
Twenty years ago, most businesses simply worried about basic data protection. Usually this involved backing up to some kind of rotational media, such as tape, that was sent offsite to a secure location. Recovering from even basic disruptions and file loss could take days. True disaster recovery was primarily the domain of very large enterprises. The complexity and cost of replicating a data center or purchasing DR services was simply out of reach for most small businesses.
Ten years ago, with the introduction of virtualization technologies and cloud services, we saw the introduction of new capabilities for backup and disaster recovery solutions. Virtualization made workloads more portal and made it easier than ever to spin up new systems as virtual machines. New backup appliances with built-in virtualization technologies allowed for local DR by spinning up workloads as VMs on the appliance in the event of a disruption. Cloud based DR-as-a-Service made offsite data storage and DR available to even the smallest businesses. As such, backup, data replication and DR products began to merge into combined Business Continuity and BDR offers. Attention shifted from just basic data protection to true business continuity for workloads and entire businesses.
The Shift from Continuity to Resiliency
Just like we saw the shift for data protection to DR and business continuity, today we are seeing a similar shift happen. We are moving from talking about business continuity to talking about IT and business resiliency. It is no longer enough to recover quickly from a disaster. We must now focus on how we prevent the disaster from ever happening in the first place.
IT resiliency goes far beyond just BDR. It requires a complete 360-degree view of the business and the IT environment at all times. It combines remote monitoring, proactive system management including patching, security detection and remediation, compliance auditing, backup and DR technologies.
Let’s look at one example why IT resiliency requires all of these technologies to come together into a cohesive solution: dealing with ransomware. Full ransomware protection requires proactive, preventive steps and reactive actions if recovery is necessary. We need to proactively make sure all systems and firewalls are kept up to date with the latest patches, keep virus protection in place and constantly re-evaluate our security procedures. However, in the event of actual attack we must be prepared to detect, isolate and mitigate the threat and in a worst-case scenario recover from backup if all else fails.
Ideally, as we move towards IT resiliency, these systems will provide feedback to their adjacent components and using AI technology make the entire environment stronger and more resistant. Security can assist the backup solution to ensure that threats don’t spread to DR environments, DR can provide a sandbox for out of band patches to be tested. RMM, Backup and Security can all communicate with compliance and policy management software to make sure the business is fully protected and nothing has drifted out of compliance.
The scenarios where security, RMM and BDR can assist each other are almost endless. And as RMM, Security and BDR solutions come together seamlessly into seamlessly integrated platforms, IT can continue its shift to true IT resiliency and downtime can become a thing of the past.
By Paula Rhea
By Gretchen Hoffman