Today, many may not consider the importance of backup, as cloud solutions have become ubiquitous, and data is automatically saved. However, does this imply that the need for backup is obsolete? In observance of World Backup Day, our marketing executive, Hanna Sjöblom, engaged in a discussion with INSCALES’ Global Head of IT, Jarod Lim to obtain his perspectives and viewpoints on the significance of backup, and how INSCALE strives to guarantee the secure and compliant backup of corporate data.
What are your expectations for backup providers?
My expectations can be categorised into 2; one from the IT perspective and the other from the business perspective.
As an IT guy, I would consider the security, reliability and the scalability of the backup service. But from the business perspective, the compliance with regulatory bodies, speed of data recovery and pricing is important.
Have you ever experienced a horror story with Backup?
I once had to restore my data from a previous backup. Everything went well until a day later when it was discovered that several documents were missing. I called up customer support and they acknowledge that “something” went wrong but they couldn’t quite figure it out. After weeks of troubleshooting with no solution in sight, I decided to change the provider. Imagine if we had to activate our business continuity plan, and do a data recovery only to discover our files missing. Fortunately, nothing happened this time, but I don’t want to think about what could have happened.
To the most important question – with everything in the cloud today- is backup dead?
To be honest, back when “cloud” was the hype, I thought backup is dead. I was rejoicing that I do not need to make the trips to the data centres again. I don’t have to wait for hours for the tape backups to complete and moving the tapes off-site. I was truly annoyed when I was “enlightened” that the cloud service providers do not guarantee your backups.
Cloud service providers can also be susceptible to malware and cyberattacks. Data that you have backed up to the cloud can be corrupted due to various reasons. There is also the shared responsibility model that defines the roles and responsibilities of the cloud service provider and the customer. Basically, it details who is responsible for what. In a nutshell, the service provider is only responsible for the underlying infrastructure and services that provide support to the cloud environment such as the data center, the physical security, the network infrastructure, and the hardware.
The customer on the other hand is responsible for the user and application access, the endpoint security for the devices accessing the cloud services, compliance with regulations, and data protection such as encryption, backup and recovery.
Backup has changed significantly over the years. Many companies are moving towards cloud backup and ditching cumbersome tape backups. There’s also increased focus on regulations such as the GDPR which compels companies to give their backups their due attention. Automation and integration with existing applications or systems have also taken a huge burden off IT administrators.
So is it more or less challenging working with backups now? Well, I would say it has made life easier in some aspects but also introduced new challenges. With automation, a lot of processes can be done without the intervention of the IT administrator but as with everything in the cloud, there is also the threat of cyberattacks. So it has made life easier but also challenging.
As an IT professional, how do work with backup personally?
I do store my personal data in the cloud as well. I backup my cloud data to a local storage and I also have endpoint security for myself and my family which covers both laptops and mobile phones. Yeah, I’m a bit paranoid but if you know what I know about the threats of cyberattacks, you will do the same as well.
What is your prediction on the future of backup?
I would expect more companies to be moving their backups to the cloud or maintain a hybrid backup with a combination of on-premise and cloud backups. Backup providers will also be integrating Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to further enhance the backup process. Perhaps, IoT will also be in the radar of the backup service providers by providing backup support to the various IoT devices.
With the hype on AI right now, I would foresee that AI will help with the automation of the backup operations such as backup scheduling, capacity management and identify potential issues with the data integrity. AI can also be used to identify which files are more critical or frequently accessed to create an efficient backup strategy.
Personally, I hope AI can be used to elevate the challenges with cybersecurity as I’ve mentioned earlier.