Data Protection: Current Challenges and Developments

By : |April 16, 2019 0

How you are protecting your business data? It must be an essential part of your IT infra strategy. As there are internal and external threats arising, businesses need to understand the risk as well as the importance of collaboration, as they have to hare some of the information to get the business.

We spoke to Ripu Bajwa, Director & General Manager, Data Protection Solutions, Dell EMC, India, to understand the current challenges and developments.

What are Data protection challenges?

In my opinion, data protection is both a challenge and an opportunity, which is most important today because organizations being small or big, medium or large, they would be doing businesses over data and data becomes the new oil and the new capital for them, the new IT.

1. Businesses are centred around data, as old organizations transform through their digital journey and they adopt new applications, develop new applications it is also critical that IT transforms enables digital transformation for them.

2. New organizations who are building their businesses purely on maybe a new startup or they are going on infrastructure resources from multi-cloud, they are also challenged as they don’t have the experiences of keeping data secure and they are wanting more time to be spent for their core competency which is going and addressing their customer needs.

So, protecting data and making sure data is in compliance with localization norms protecting the data of your own employees as well as your customer data and or applications is super critical. Never ever has this taken more of a centre stage then what it is today.

3. As we speak there are internal and external threats also arising and organizations are adapting with the fact that they have to secure their data as well as keep it open for businesses to embrace, their partners and ecosystem to exchange data, collaboration is important. They have to share their information to get the business done. While securing it is as well as important, it is also important to leverage it and be sure that the data which is moving between organizations is secure enough.

4. One of the biggest challenges is funds. Today organizations, they have to show that they are able to retrieve data, ensure that it is protected, they have to ensure basically it is done, the DR practices are followed, restoration and recovery is tested, keep themselves fully ready for any eventuality. But they are not getting enough and more funds to put more money behind security solutions. They have to do more with less.

5. The challenge while it is increasing the resources to meet the challenge is not increasing proportionately. Not just optimizing current landscape of data protection, a technology, making sure costs are taken out and making sure that new applications and new businesses are able to address and are able to move into those businesses faster so that they are more competitive, they are able to launch themselves in time, they are able to create more value to their customers and in terms making them more profitable and successful.

6. Manage the security challenges making sure that they are as much as possible immune from external as well as internal cyber threats which are coming in, by the year you see the kind of volume of the breach is happening it is critical that organizations look at this very seriously.

Another key aspect that I would add further is, that there are very few originations who are able to address end-to-end landscape of protecting data which is a legacy be it a physical infrastructure like a virtualized architecture etc., infrastructure-as-a-service which is IaaS or even platform as a service. So, it is very important that organizations are able to pan these various types of workloads and get the maximum so that they are more agile and protected all the time.

What are Data protection developments?

Today’s world is really bad with the kind of data threats. As per the regulatory requirements in many countries like the US and other places, a lot of regulatory bodies have come out with architecture recommendations.

We follow one very strong recommendation which is an air gap your critical data sets which mean we create a vault area and we call it something called as fiber recovery solutions. This is a solution which we offer as Dell EMC Data Protection division to our customers who are either on our journey of reusing some of the infrastructures from Dell EMC which is our protection storage data domain and how we can secure their critical data sets which are coming in even within their lack of infrastructure.

We had to take a whole copy and put it in the vault area which is off the networks, we analyze the data periodically based on the SLAs that are agreed between the businesses we ensure that the vault copy is checked within the vault areas and kept secure so that in case of any cyber or ransom attack at the primary or the DR site we are able to recover from the vault area the whole copy. This is one of the most tested practices followed in a very secure way we can lock the vault copy every time we open the air gap and bring the data into the vault.

This solution we just called the Cyber recovery solutions, helps in securing the most critical aspect of the organization by periodically bringing in through an air gap into a vault area. So this solution has been adopted in very-very critical data sets environment and we have many organizations secure themselves from any attacks.

What are your insights about Data protection?

Today’s world has moved to a place where people want to understand how they can secure their environments! Given a fact that organizations face threats, from the beginning, even when their own server infrastructure is being managed properly.

How Is everything being enforced security posture which an organization was based on? Each organization has certain security practices and our scope of engagement bring in a lot of value to people because we actually protect not just their critical primary data, make sure that it is always available in terms of recovery, ensure the SLA’s they agreed and virtual admins want that is being met in terms of certain backup windows, for example, reducing the time to back up a certain data set.

We have brought in some significant percentage benefits. The maximum deduplication in the industry is using our architecture and deduplication map is a lot because we have to see the numbers while the data growth is happening more than 40% CAGR, the overall reduction of pitch prices is around the range of 10%.

So, there is a big cap and therefore what is important is there is a lot of data is being generated which needs to be protected, have multiple copies and versions of it and therefore the need to have very efficient deduplication technology is absolutely prime.

That gives you an idea as to where we are and what real business problem we are addressing that you will be looking at the extra bites of data to be protected. Thousands of terabytes and one extra byte and therefore you need to protect them most efficiently with technology which is very-very intense in terms of de-dup factors which can go all the way up to 97% deduplication or more which is what we do in our technology.

97% deduplication means 32:1 production, means 32 terabytes gets stored into one Megabyte. That saves on power cooling across space or all the organization’s service providers. As the data is stored, it has to be stored in data centers that need to be effectively managed.

As an industry leader, we have a great value proposition for our customers because they can deduplicate in the most efficient manner and not just that they are able to recover almost instantly which was not possible earlier. They are able to test restores and not wait for the restore to happen and then give the visibility of the data. It is while the restoration is happening, the application can learn and therefore the DR drill is much more efficient.

This is the way in which we are bringing the difference to the organization, the businesses. We are able to go and tell from a compliance standpoint, from a standardization standpoint, they are secure, they are meeting the SLAs.

How Cloud enabled data protection can help?

If you see today’s world, you’ll find that 90% of the workloads are on premises which is either physical or virtual and about 10% of the workload are being consumed as infrastructure as a service platform as a search, this is how we quantify.

But going forward, this ratio is going to change between what we see as the law of data will be driven in an operating model of IaaS which is Infrastructure as a service platform as a search.

This shift from what is today i.e. 90:10 to something like 30% will be physical/virtual and 70% will become an infrastructure-as-a-service platform as a search. Essentially, we need to do what we call as bridge the gap. What I mean by that is, since, most of the organizations will be leveraging, what I want to call out is not really one cloud but multi-cloud approach. When I say multi-cloud, they will decide based on the SLA, cost, performance certain data to be deciding on trend in a hybrid cloud manner. Certain data which would be completely born in the cloud-based application, they would be leveraging two public or multi-cloud.

While the choice of keeping the data would depend on certain criteria, the automation need would be there which means from today’s digital virtual there will be a need to make it more automated and that’s how we bring in differentiation to our work that we are doing with VMware which is our own group company, part of Dell Technologies.


Are Indian organizations taking data protection seriously?

I think, today, India and Indian organizations are looking at data protection in a very positive way. It has become no longer like insurance that you need to do. It is more like yes when I’m going for my production I must think about how my work will recover? How I’m going to make sure data protection is there and when I decide on a project it is not something that I go live and then I think about protecting, it is much more, it is hand in hand rather.

Organizations have evolved over time, today we are more sensitive to how data is flowing between internal and external entities. What are the new norms that they have to follow in terms of data protection like data needs to be secure and data need to be protected for a particular length of time, long term retention, being able to recover all the time not just be dependent on the recovery update because there is always an element of doubt that will it recover fully or not.

Today it is all about being 200% sure that yes, my data will be recovered in the timeframe that I have. That particular guarantee is very important and that defines the businesses, the way they are going to sign up customer affiliates and probably their customer acquisition strategy depends on the way they manage the data.

It is super critical, the way you can today say that my data stands protected, I should be able to get it back anytime, anywhere, you can go and innovate be in house or in a multi-cloud approach. That kind of comfort and freedom, if it is available to organizations, they are able to actually accelerate their digital journey much faster and adopt new technology with their business needs.

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