Mick Bradley, VP EMEA at Arcserve, looks at the changing shape of business continuity and disaster recovery in 2020
The arrival of December means it’s time to set our sights on the new year, and the changes it will bring to the business continuity and disaster recovery (BCDR) industry.
In 2020, we expect to see the market shift in line with the increasing complexity of IT environments and the growing influence of emerging technologies like AI and blockchain. It’s also likely that more organisations will adopt cloud-first mandates and vendors will turn their attention to simplifying the migration of applications to the cloud.
Here are five factors most likely to shape the BCDR landscape next year.
1) Cloud migration challenges for disaster recovery will be front and centre
Today, the cloud is an enterprise mainstay, deployed in hundreds of different contexts. Recent research shows that 96% of organisations are using cloud computing in some form or fashion.
However, despite the maturity of the cloud market, the lack of user-friendly tools means it remains extremely difficult for organisations to transition to the cloud swiftly and with minimal downtime. In response to this issue, it’s likely vendors will focus on building offerings that can smooth the migration process next year.
We’re also likely to see a greater number of organisations opting for cloud alternatives—such as hybrid- and multi-cloud approaches—which bring a fresh set of security risks. Before embarking on a hybrid- or multi-cloud journey, it’s vital organisations take the necessary measures to ensure data isn’t vulnerable to attack.
2) Integrated threat prevention solutions will neutralise ransomware
Safeguarding against and mitigating the damage of cyber-attacks is a topic debated in board rooms across all sectors, in countries all over the globe. Cyber-threats have become one of the most severe business risks, with costs associated with data breaches and hacks projected to reach $20 billion by 2021.
The threat posed by cyber-attacks, such as ransomware, shows no sign of abating in the new year, so it’s important that organisations turn to an integrated threat prevention solution. The problem calls for a simplified approach—a multi-layered solution that integrates threat prevention technologies with onsite and offsite business continuity.
The latest all-in-one offerings allow businesses to neutralise ransomware by combining disaster recovery, application availability and endpoint protection solutions. They are also augmented by AI and deep learning techniques that detect both known and unknown malware, carving a path to a ransomware-free future for businesses.
3) Blockchain technology will make its mark
Until now, the tangible use cases for blockchain technology have been few and far between, and the adoption of the technology in an enterprise context has been slower than many commentators expected. However, the use of blockchain in the data protection space is gathering steam, and will likely enter the mainstream in the new year.
Investments in blockchain from international brands such as FedEx and Walmart in 2019, along with the announcement of Facebook’s intention to launch a blockchain-based cryptocurrency, have encouraged more cautious players to investigate its value. Recently, the European Investment Fund also announced that it will invest 100 million EUR in businesses working in the blockchain and AI industries in 2020. Private investors are expected to bring an additional 300 million EUR to the fund.
Businesses are beginning to take blockchain seriously as an avenue to achieving greater transparency, auditability and data security. However, claims that the technology is immune to compromise and corruption should be taken with a pinch of salt. Understanding that all security technology is fallible to a certain extent, and incorporating that fact into a business continuity and disaster recovery plan, is central to ensuring an organisation is protected.
4) Vendors will need to provide value in new and innovative ways
In 2020, the ability to store, process and keep data available will no longer be enough to satisfy the needs of organisations. Vendors will be called upon to provide value in new and more innovative ways.
The continuing need to adhere to regulations like GDPR will result in an increase in data classification—the process of organising data by category so that it can be used and protected more effectively.
Businesses are increasingly concerned with mining their vast pools of data for actionable insight, which means AI-as-a-service is set to explode. AI will allow organisations to unearth correlations in unwieldy datasets, allowing for more intelligent decision making.
The ability to revert to a specific point in time using a continuous data protection system will also continue to be invaluable to businesses. True CDP systems record byte-level changes to data and copy them to a separate location, where all changes are stored in a log. This is especially useful in the case of a corruption event or physical system failure.
5) IT environments will continue to increase in complexity
The complexity of already intricate IT environments will be further compounded in 2020. Despite the sprawling nature of today’s infrastructures, companies are resorting to using two or more backup solutions, further adding to the complexity they’re attempting to tackle. It’s clear that a new approach is necessary in the new year.
Hyperconverged infrastructure is being touted as one solution to the complexity question but, in many cases, it introduces new technology and concepts that require time-intensive training. Only once the workforce has been equipped with the necessary knowledge will organisations begin to reap the rewards of hyper-converged infrastructure.
New market forces will drive significant change in the business continuity and disaster recovery industry in 2020. The evolution of IT environments and the threat landscape, newfound confidence in emerging technologies and ever-changing data protection needs will all play a role in its development.
In order to best safeguard and utilise business-critical data, organisations should look to implement an all-in-one approach that prioritises compliance and security. An openness to new opportunities and a commitment to optimising data processes will ensure that data remains secure and organisations capture the greatest possible value in 2020.