The Future of Data Protection Highlights
Predictions From Your Peers

Topics: Cloud Backup | Data Archive | Offsite Tape Vaulting

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Iron Mountain asked more than 200 IT professionals from a wide variety of businesses and industries to help predict the future of data protection. The results were illuminating.

Despite recognizing that data protection challenges will continue to grow, participants believe that few organizations will take decisive action to fortify their data backup and recovery practices in the near future. Why? Because without guidance and best practices for how to optimize their data protection infrastructures, uncertainty and inertia are holding them back.

Download The Cost of Inertia to see how your peers think the next generation of data protection will unfold in the following key areas:

  • Evaluating current challenges
  • Assessing high-level strategies
  • Reviewing policies and procedures
  • Determining the right mix of technologies

Evaluating Current Challenges

Data growth, compliance, a stagnant economy and flat budgets are just a few of the challenges facing organizations in today’s data protection environment. The predictions in this section show that the risks these challenges bring with them are top of mind for many organizations – and that they’re actively looking for strategies and best practices they can implement to mitigate them.

Key Prediction: As data and IT assets continue to grow, risk of data loss or inadvertent disclosure will be the most prevalent concerns of IT leaders.

Our Take: By proactively managing the lifecycle of all devices and the data that resides on them – from implementation to decommission through destruction – businesses can protect themselves from the risks of data loss and inadvertent disclosures, including downtime, penalties, a damaged brand reputation and other high-profile consequences that will immediately affect an organization’s bottom line.

Assessing High-Level Strategies

Information experts know that true data protection begins with a comprehensive, well-defined strategy that drives the policies, procedures and technologies comprising an organization’s backup and recovery infrastructure. The predictions in this section show that while participants understand the value of strategies, there is little agreement about what best practices are – and as a result, organizations will do little or nothing about them.

Key Prediction: Companies will choose to retain their data for a period of seven to 10 years or longer.

Our Take: There are a variety of industry, regulatory, legal and business reasons why organizations would choose to retain their data for extremely long periods of time, but uncertainty is a common motivator when it comes to making that decision (i.e., “I don’t know what’s critical and what’s not, so I’ll just keep everything forever”). The best way to overcome uncertainty is by developing a retention plan that aligns with each of these factors.

Reviewing Policies and Procedures

A good data protection strategy is worthless if it’s not accompanied with clear policies and procedures an organization can follow to enact it. The predictions in this section show that participants believe outsourcing will be a viable option for many organizations looking to implement various data backup and recovery practices – for example, when in-house expertise is limited or when it costs less to subscribe to a service than to make a capital outlay.

Key Prediction: Media destruction and restoration for litigation are two tape-related activities companies will be looking to outsource.

Our Take: For many organizations, the choice to outsource is a philosophical one – while some believe in handing certain tasks over to expert third parties, others prefer to keep everything in house. Regardless of which side of the fence organizations fall on, though, there are two things they should keep in mind: 1) the decision to outsource should always be made as part of a larger data protection strategy, rather than as a reaction to a trigger event, and 2) the right services provider will help them determine when outsourcing makes sense based on their budget and appetite for risk.

Determining the Right Mix Of Technologies

Once the strategy, policies and procedures are in place, organizations rely on technology to be the engine that runs their data protection machine. The predictions in this section show that participants believe cloud, disk and tape technologies will all have a part to play in a hybrid data backup and recovery strategy going forward. Each technology has its strengths, weaknesses and best-practice application in a data protection strategy.

Key Prediction: Enterprise tape solutions will be used as part of a hybrid backup strategy that includes cloud, disk and tape components.

Our Take: When thinking about embracing a hybrid backup strategy that includes cloud, disk and tape technologies, there is a smart, cost-effective way to approach it. Organizations should look at their current environments first and make sure they are leveraging investments in the appropriate ways. Once they have assessed what they have, they can add or subtract components based on best practices, which helps them extend the life of existing assets, avoid “rip and replace” scenarios and get the most out of their likely limited budgets.