Welcome!

Cloud Security Authors: Xenia von Wedel, Elizabeth White, James Carlini, Pat Romanski, Rostyslav Demush

Related Topics: FinTech Journal, @CloudExpo, Cloud Security, @DXWorldExpo, SDN Journal

FinTech Journal: Blog Feed Post

Data Backup and Business Continuity | @CloudExpo #DataCenter #Storage

Today, effective data backup encompasses far more than simply creating an extra copy of your most important files

The Distinction Between Data Backup and Business Continuity
by Brandon Garcin

Believe it or not, the first data backups were made on paper. Dating back as early as the 18th century, the "technology" was used in the form of paper tapes constructed from punch cards to control the functions of automated machinery such as textile looms. The concept of these cards was then further developed by IBM in the early days of data processing, where data input, storage and commands were captured using a series of hole punches.

In 1956, IBM introduced the 350 disk storage unit - the first ever hard disk drive. It was 60 inches in length, stood nearly 70 inches tall and had a capacity of 5 million 6-bit characters - or 3.75 MB of data. And although less than 4 megabytes may not seem like much (a decent cell phone can today take a picture with a larger file size), the 350 unit represents a more modern concept of storage and data backup that over time has become a critical element of business planning and strategy.

Today, effective data backup encompasses far more than simply creating an extra copy of your most important files for redundancy in case something is lost or corrupt. The Web has given rise to a new era of always-on, 24x7x365 computing - and businesses today simply can't afford to risk losing data.

The conversation now is about more than just data backup; it's about business continuity.

The Need for Continuity
If a server crashes and an e-commerce website goes offline for a few hours, what would it cost the company? And what if transactional records were lost, or shipping data was compromised and deliveries were unable to make it to their destination? If data is lost at a hospital or healthcare facility and patient records are inaccessible, how can doctors administer proper care?

As information across all industries and businesses becomes increasingly digitized, the importance of ensuring that this information is continuously accessible has never been greater. And as storage technology has evolved from floppy disks to CD-ROMs, DVDs, portable hard drives and offsite cloud backup, the expectation of 24x7 uptime and constant availability certainly hasn't slowed down.

Then there's the matter of compliance and regulatory restrictions, which have become increasingly strict as both IT and business best practices have progressed. HIPAA, HITECH, PCI compliance, and myriad related requirements around data capture, storage, transfer and processing have forced backup vendors and technologies to shapeshift both point solutions and integrated software and services.

This notion of continuous uptime is at the core of modern business continuity. It's about ensuring that in the case of a hardware failure, data corruption, or even a natural disaster that business operations can continue as though nothing had happened while recovery teams work to assess the damage and resolve whatever problem is occurring behind the scenes.

True business continuity requires careful planning and regular testing, and it's not something that businesses should look to cut corners with. An effective business continuity plan is measured using metrics such as recovery time objective (RTO) and recovery point objective (RPO), which represent how quickly data can be recovered and how much data is at risk following any unplanned downtime.

What's more, effective business continuity requires far more preparedness than traditional backup, and a more thoughtful approach than simply saying "we'll call our backup vendor and they'll take care of it". A good offsite backup provider will be able to handle physical data recovery, server virtualization and other technical functions, but continuity planning also requires an organizational plan that ensures all employees are informed of the situation, key stakeholders understand their roles and responsibilities during and immediately following a data loss incident, and that any service level agreements are aligned with your recovery strategy to avoid any contractual or legal disputes with customers.

The Cloud Conversation
No conversation about business continuity today is complete without mentioning the cloud.
Cloud computing and the ability to replicate data offsite have been absolute game-changers in the backup and disaster recovery market, and as the cloud becomes increasingly accessible - and more affordable - small businesses are able to tap into a growing list of benefits that were for a time available only to larger enterprise organizations. The cloud is also attractive because of its inherent flexibility and elasticity - it can be leveraged in a number of different ways, and resources can often be added or removed with the click of a mouse. Here's a quick look at the three primary cloud types that are available today as they relate to continuity planning:

Public Cloud - In a public cloud, you're purchasing storage capacity and resources from a third-party provider who's maintaining the facilities, hardware and infrastructure where data actually resides. Think of it as renting a storage unit in a secure facility, or tapping into the electric grid that powers your home - resources are being shared, but you've got a piece of the pie that's dedicated to your particular needs and can scale up or down as needed. An important note about public clouds is that because you're not managing them yourself, it's important to exercise due diligence to ensure that stability, accessibility and security requirements are all up to par before any data is uploaded.

Private Cloud - Conversely, a private cloud is entirely self-contained; storage capacity isn't shared with other organizations, and hardware and infrastructure are owned and maintained by whoever owns the cloud itself. Rather than renting a storage unit or tapping into an electric grid, a private cloud is more akin to owning the storage facility itself or using a standalone generator for power. Though often more expensive, private clouds can be an attractive option for businesses who already possess the necessary hardware or who have highly-unique storage, compliance or regulatory needs that can't easily be met by a public cloud provider.

Hybrid Cloud - As the name suggests, a hybrid cloud lives somewhere between its private and public counterparts. By leveraging a combination of on-premise, private cloud and public third-party services, with some level of connectivity and synchronization between them, hybrid deployments allow organizations to migrate data back and forth between private and public resources to respond to spikes in demand, evolving business requirements or fluctuating costs.

There is unique value and opportunity in each of these varieties of cloud, and no one-size-fits-all solution that's right or wrong - businesses should carefully weigh the pros and cons of each before making a cloud investment. This is particularly true for small businesses, who may be able to see the value and the benefits presented by the cloud and business continuity but aren't sure how best to tap into it; this is where managed IT service providers (MSPs) can step in and help.

The Managed Services Opportunity
Most MSPs are offering some form of backup today, and with good reason. The need for business continuity is clear, and businesses that understand and appreciate that need are more than willing to pay for it. A 2015 MarketsandMarkets report, for instance, projected that the Disaster Recovery as a Service market will be worth $11.92 billion in 2020.

And to be clear, there's nothing to stop a business owner from purchasing a cloud storage plan on their own. Off-the-shelf backup solutions are a dime a dozen today, and ongoing competition between giants like Google, Amazon and Microsoft continues to drive prices down. But unless an organization is equipped to handle 24x7 monitoring and verification of backups, proper continuity planning and data recovery following a loss, then they're really only equipped to handle backup - not true business continuity.

By offering business continuity and disaster recovery services, MSPs can offer peace of mind and hassle-free data management at a price that's more than reasonable when compared to the costs and potential damage associated with a data loss incident. With the right offering, service providers can alleviate business owners of the pressure of identifying the proper cloud strategy for their organization, ensuring they're adhering to all required compliance regulations, conducting research to identify which hardware and software solutions will best meet their needs, and executing each of the technical components needed to ensure continuity. By doing so, MSPs can help their customers focus on their own business goals and not have to worry about IT - and in doing so can win lifelong customers.

Conclusion
Not long ago, storing a copy of your most important files on a portable hard drive or running a complete backup to a secondary server every now and then was considered effective backup. Today, these practices simply aren't enough; businesses and their customers have grown to demand 24x7 uptime, accessibility and availability - and if an organization isn't equipped to support true business continuity following any unplanned downtime, chances are there's a competitor out there who is.

Organizations across nearly all industries today can't afford to leave their data to chance - effective continuity planning is a must, and for those businesses unable to manage the process themselves, MSPs are in a prime position to step in and provide robust data storage, replication and recovery services.

More Stories By Continuum Blog

Continuum is the technology industry's only channel-exclusive provider of fully integrated managed IT services, allowing its Managed Services Provider (MSP) partners to maintain both on premise and cloud-based servers, desktops, mobile devices and other endpoints for small-and-medium-sized businesses. For more information, visit http://www.continuum.net/ or follow us on LinkedIn and Twitter @FollowContinuum.

@ThingsExpo Stories
BnkToTheFuture.com is the largest online investment platform for investing in FinTech, Bitcoin and Blockchain companies. We believe the future of finance looks very different from the past and we aim to invest and provide trading opportunities for qualifying investors that want to build a portfolio in the sector in compliance with international financial regulations.
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
Imagine if you will, a retail floor so densely packed with sensors that they can pick up the movements of insects scurrying across a store aisle. Or a component of a piece of factory equipment so well-instrumented that its digital twin provides resolution down to the micrometer.
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settle...
Product connectivity goes hand and hand these days with increased use of personal data. New IoT devices are becoming more personalized than ever before. In his session at 22nd Cloud Expo | DXWorld Expo, Nicolas Fierro, CEO of MIMIR Blockchain Solutions, will discuss how in order to protect your data and privacy, IoT applications need to embrace Blockchain technology for a new level of product security never before seen - or needed.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
Nordstrom is transforming the way that they do business and the cloud is the key to enabling speed and hyper personalized customer experiences. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ken Schow, VP of Engineering at Nordstrom, discussed some of the key learnings and common pitfalls of large enterprises moving to the cloud. This includes strategies around choosing a cloud provider(s), architecture, and lessons learned. In addition, he covered some of the best practices for structured team migration an...
No hype cycles or predictions of a gazillion things here. IoT is here. You get it. You know your business and have great ideas for a business transformation strategy. What comes next? Time to make it happen. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jay Mason, an Associate Partner of Analytics, IoT & Cybersecurity at M&S Consulting, presented a step-by-step plan to develop your technology implementation strategy. He also discussed the evaluation of communication standards and IoT messaging protocols, data...
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Raju Shreewastava, founder of Big Data Trunk, provided a fun and simple way to introduce Machine Leaning to anyone and everyone. He solved a machine learning problem and demonstrated an easy way to be able to do machine learning without even coding. Raju Shreewastava is the founder of Big Data Trunk (www.BigDataTrunk.com), a Big Data Training and consulting firm with offices in the United States. He previously led the data warehouse/business intelligence and B...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
When shopping for a new data processing platform for IoT solutions, many development teams want to be able to test-drive options before making a choice. Yet when evaluating an IoT solution, it’s simply not feasible to do so at scale with physical devices. Building a sensor simulator is the next best choice; however, generating a realistic simulation at very high TPS with ease of configurability is a formidable challenge. When dealing with multiple application or transport protocols, you would be...
Smart cities have the potential to change our lives at so many levels for citizens: less pollution, reduced parking obstacles, better health, education and more energy savings. Real-time data streaming and the Internet of Things (IoT) possess the power to turn this vision into a reality. However, most organizations today are building their data infrastructure to focus solely on addressing immediate business needs vs. a platform capable of quickly adapting emerging technologies to address future ...
We are given a desktop platform with Java 8 or Java 9 installed and seek to find a way to deploy high-performance Java applications that use Java 3D and/or Jogl without having to run an installer. We are subject to the constraint that the applications be signed and deployed so that they can be run in a trusted environment (i.e., outside of the sandbox). Further, we seek to do this in a way that does not depend on bundling a JRE with our applications, as this makes downloads and installations rat...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
DX World EXPO, LLC, a Lighthouse Point, Florida-based startup trade show producer and the creator of "DXWorldEXPO® - Digital Transformation Conference & Expo" has announced its executive management team. The team is headed by Levent Selamoglu, who has been named CEO. "Now is the time for a truly global DX event, to bring together the leading minds from the technology world in a conversation about Digital Transformation," he said in making the announcement.
In this strange new world where more and more power is drawn from business technology, companies are effectively straddling two paths on the road to innovation and transformation into digital enterprises. The first path is the heritage trail – with “legacy” technology forming the background. Here, extant technologies are transformed by core IT teams to provide more API-driven approaches. Legacy systems can restrict companies that are transitioning into digital enterprises. To truly become a lead...
Digital Transformation (DX) is not a "one-size-fits all" strategy. Each organization needs to develop its own unique, long-term DX plan. It must do so by realizing that we now live in a data-driven age, and that technologies such as Cloud Computing, Big Data, the IoT, Cognitive Computing, and Blockchain are only tools. In her general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Rebecca Wanta explained how the strategy must focus on DX and include a commitment from top management to create great IT jobs, monitor ...
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
The IoT Will Grow: In what might be the most obvious prediction of the decade, the IoT will continue to expand next year, with more and more devices coming online every single day. What isn’t so obvious about this prediction: where that growth will occur. The retail, healthcare, and industrial/supply chain industries will likely see the greatest growth. Forrester Research has predicted the IoT will become “the backbone” of customer value as it continues to grow. It is no surprise that retail is ...