25 Data Protection Predictions from 14 Experts for 2022

Data Protection Predictions 2022

We polled 30 experts and received 60 data protection predictions for 2022, in an attempt to help you make the best business decisions.

As part of Solutions Review’s third-annual #BUDRInsightJam, we called for the industry’s best and brightest to share their data protection predictions for 2022. The experts featured here represent the top data protection solution providers with experience in this niche. Data protection predictions have been vetted for relevance and ability to add business value as well. These are the best predictions from the dozens we received. We believe these are actionable and may impact a number of verticals, regions, and organization sizes.

Note: Data protection predictions are listed in the order we received them.

Cassius Rhue, VP of Customer Experience at SIOS Technology

Multicloud Infrastructures Will Become Mainstream

“With the near universal acceptance of cloud computing as a core component of today’s IT infrastructures, companies will move away from considering only a single cloud for their cloud needs. Despite the added complexity of running different workloads in different clouds, a multicloud model will enable companies to choose cloud offerings that are best suited to their individual application environments, availability needs, and business requirements.

Concerns about the ability to meet 99.99% SLAs in the cloud for business critical applications will prompt companies to implement sophisticated application-aware high availability and disaster recovery solutions.”

Companies Will Reconsider On-Prem Data Centers in Favor of Cloud

“Many companies that moved applications into the public cloud are now considering a reverse migration – back to their on-premises data centers for three main reasons: cost creep, data sovereignty requirements, and IT management control. First, companies are moving back to on prem to avoid unpredictable cloud fees and “egress” fees charged for pulling data out of the cloud. Second, companies that are subject to regulations that require them to keep data within their company’s geographic borders may opt for on premises data center if cloud vendors do not have a data center in that country. Third, companies are moving to on-prem to regain some of the IT control that is given up to cloud vendors. For critical applications with high availability SLAs, excess or inconveniently timed planned downtime for maintenance can offset the efficiency benefits of cloud.”

Enterprise Reliance on Databases and ERP Systems Will Drive Higher Demand for Specialized Professional Services

“Powerful database and ERP systems, including Oracle, SAP S4/HANA and SQL Server have become so business-critical that tolerance for even momentary downtime or minimal data loss for these systems will soon drive to zero.  As environments running these applications and databases have become increasing complex, companies are turning to professional services teams with deep experience in subspecialties such as high availability, containers, and application-specific knowledge.”

More Investment in Disaster Recovery

Climate change and social unrest have moved the need for disaster recovery to the forefront of IT focus. DR planning is no longer factoring in the rare “once in 100 years storm” or “once in a lifetime earthquake” – disasters have become an increasingly common threat to business operations. Companies will spend more on DR in 2022 and look for more flexible deployment options for DR protection, such as replicating on-premises workloads to the cloud for DR, or multinode failover clustering across cloud availability zones and regions.”

High Availability Protection for Storage Will Become Standard

“Simple backup of data storage is no longer sufficient. Regardless of whether the storage is NFS, SAN, cloud-native shared storage, or replicated local storage, companies will increase protection levels for their data storage – both on premises and in the cloud – to include high availability and disaster protection.”

Danny Allan, CTO at Veeam

New Privacy-Focused Legislation Will Shift Attention to Data Sovereignty Clouds

“With increased focus on General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) regulating data protection and privacy in the EU and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) enhancing privacy rights and consumer protection for Californians, other states and countries are facing pressure to enact comprehensive data privacy legislation. As this continues in 2022, I expect we’ll see much more focus on data sovereignty clouds to keep data within nations or within a certain physical location. This is a far more specified cloud model that we’re starting to see in EMEA with Gaia-X. Some will see this as an obstacle, but once implemented, this will be a good thing as it puts consumer privacy at the core of business strategy.”

Containers Will Become Mainstream to Support the Cloud Explosion of 2021

“Businesses wrongly predicted that employees would return to the office, as normal, in 2021. Instead, remote working continued, and companies were forced to develop long-term remote working strategies to ensure efficiency, sustainability and to retain employees seeking flexibility. This remote work strategy demanded cloud-based solutions, resulting in an explosion of cloud service adoption. To meet this moment, containers will become mainstream in 2022, making the generational shift to cloud much easier and more streamlined for organizations.”

Avi Raichel, COO at Zerto, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company

“It shouldn’t be news to anyone that ransomware is the cybersecurity challenge of the moment. As we head into a new year, it’s important everyone gains a clear understanding of how attackers are evolving and how best to strategically protect organizations from attacks and the impact they have on business. Attackers are getting smarter, and the payouts are getting larger and more widespread. As a CEO or CIO of an organization, it’s irresponsible at this point not to have a proven ransomware response plan.

The ability to recover should be a focal point of any security plan. This will be defined by how quickly you can stand up your systems and get them running again. However, in our accelerated digital age, too much can happen overnight or in three to five days for the traditional back up model to be good enough. Recovery solutions need to modernize to fit what the world has become. They need to be continuous and able to keep applications running 24/7 even in the face of disruption or threat.

Data protection that meets the demands of the moment can’t just be an item on a checklist in 2022. It’s a must-have that is a critical investment for every organization. Unfortunately, the danger will continue to grow, but it’s on us to ensure that our resistance to it stays a step or two ahead.”

Ziv Kedem, CEO at Zerto, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company

“It shouldn’t be news to anyone that ransomware is the cybersecurity challenge of the moment. As we head into a new year, it’s important everyone gains a clear understanding of how attackers are evolving and how best to strategically protect organizations from attacks and the impact they have on business.

Attackers are getting smarter, and the payouts are getting larger and more widespread. As a CEO or CIO of an organization, it’s irresponsible at this point not to have a proven ransomware response plan. Any organization can fit the target characteristics for today’s cybercriminals, and it’s become simply a matter of time until your organization’s number is up.

The ability to recover should be a focal point of any security plan. This will be defined by how quickly you can stand up your systems and get them running again. However, in our accelerated digital age, too much can happen overnight or in three to five days for the traditional back up model to be good enough. Recovery solutions need to modernize to fit what the world has become. They need to be continuous and able to keep applications running 24/7 even in the face of disruption or threat.

Data protection that meets the demands of the moment can’t just be an item on a checklist in 2022. It’s a must-have that is a critical investment for every organization. Unfortunately, the danger will continue to grow, but it’s on us to ensure that our resistance to it stays a step or two ahead.”

Ziv Kedem, CEO at Zerto, a Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company

The Growth of Managed Services

“As the skills shortage continues to bite enterprises will be driven increasingly to the need to consume more of its core capabilities through managed services. Backup and DR as a service, security as a service, managed threat detection and response as well as the continued adoption of other as-a-service options that may not include a management wrap to them. The enterprise needs to use its internal resources more smartly and cannot do that while they are taken up by ‘keeping the lights on.”

Increasingly Intelligent Storage

“Storage can no longer just be storage, vendors are realizing the enterprise desires more and more delivered natively. Better insights into data usage, better automation of scale and performance, native security capabilities such as anti-ransomware protections will all become increasingly desirable. Leading vendors are already starting to do this and more will follow.”

Paul Speciale, CPO at Scality

Increasingly Sophisticated Cyberattack Solutions Will be Built Directly Into the Design of Storage Solutions to Counter the Wave of Zero-Day Exploits and Ransomware Attacks

“Cyber attacks, particularly ransomware, have reached record proportions. High value corporate data faces significant risk. Therefore, we expect commercial solutions will be designed with more sophisticated, integrated mechanisms for earlier detection, prevention and ultimately for recovery from attacks that delete, modify, or encrypt stored data. Storage solutions will be combined with advanced application-level, server and network security mechanisms to provide corporations with end-to-end solutions against cyberattacks across their IT stacks.

Since threats continue to evolve, preventing ransomware attacks from occurring entirely will be a false expectation. IT managers will need to deploy solutions that can help detect and recover from these attacks earlier and more efficiently.

New object storage systems have taken data immutability to even higher levels by implementing object locking, along with data retention policies. These effectively render data impervious to deletion or modification for the specified period. We predict these solutions will continue to rise in sophistication and become available from vendors in 2022 and beyond.”

AI/MLOps Will Become a Standard Part of Enterprise and Midrange Storage Products, Enabling More Robust Operations, Reducing Staffing Cost, and Improving Service

“For several years, the data storage industry has recognized a need for increased automation in storage systems management. This need is amplified by data growth, and by predicted shortages in skilled human resources needed to manage these mountains of data. IDC has published reports for “the Future of Work” that provide ominous predictions that a lack of IT skills will affect over 90% of enterprises and will cost them over $6.5 Trillion by 2025. Previous reports have predicted that storage administrators will have to manage 50 times more data in the next decade, but with only a 1.5X increase in the number of skilled personnel.

The integration of AI/MLOps into large-scale data storage offerings will increasingly emerge to help administrators offload and automate processes – and to find and reduce waste and increase overall storage management efficiency. MLOps can monitor and provide predictive analytics on common manual tasks such as capacity utilization, pending component failures and storage inefficiencies. These innovations wouldn’t be possible without the application of ML techniques, and their ability to consume and “train” from extremely granular system logs and event data during real-time operations.”

Technology and Data Sovereignty Concerns in Europe, the US, and Japan Will Create an Industry of Local/Regional/Sovereign Service Providers

“Global enterprises are growing increasingly concerned about their dependence on technology providers and cloud services based outside of their geographies. Since data is now a highly valued enterprise asset, there are unique considerations pertaining to independence of sovereign data – and we predict that this will result in the creation of new localized services to address those concerns.

With the steady march of cloud service providers, especially worldwide players such as AWS, Azure and GCP, it’s no wonder that companies struggle to keep track of the location of their data and the status of their compliance with local data sovereignty regulations they are subject to. Outsourcing and delegating IT services to global cloud service providers for the sake of economics, agility and flexibility does not absolve them of their compliance obligations. Turning a blind eye to their data sovereignty issues is just not an option.”

Gary Ogasawara, CTO at Cloudian

Object Storage Accelerates HPC Innovation

“As HPC deployments have become highly distributed and begun to exceed exabyte scale, it’s become clear that the storage component of HPC infrastructure needs greater focus. To continue making advances in supercomputing, organizations will require highly scalable, software-defined storage that can accommodate massive data sets while easily leveraging any hardware innovations on the computing side. Parallel file storage alone cannot provide this scalability and flexibility. As a result, more organizations will use object storage as the primary storage for supercomputing deployments.”

Deepak Mohan, Executive Vice President at Veritas Technologies

AI, Machine Learning and Generative IT to Drive Data Protection Initiatives in 2022

“The year 2021 brought us some return to normalcy after the global COVID-19 pandemic turned our world upside down, but a meteoric rise in ransomware attacks combined with an explosion of data – partly due to the continuation of hybrid working trends – will lead businesses to make data protection a major priority in the new year. As the enterprise looks to adapt, Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning will become a major factor – both in driving and combatting ransomware, as well as helping to lift some of the pressure off IT teams. Generative IT will also continue to gain momentum, creating a new category of data for businesses to store, manage and protect.”

AI and ML Will Drive the Next Wave of Ransomware – and its Protection

“Over the past year, ransomware attacks have increased dramatically across all industry sectors and hackers continue to get savvier. In 2022, we expect AI-powered security and data protection to take center stage for both hackers and the businesses that work to keep them at bay. As hackers introduce threats that can automatically adapt to avoid detection, organizations will respond by turning to AI and ML technology to secure infrastructures and protect data with tools that are continually learning and improving all on their own – much faster than humans could hope to update them.”

Generative IT Will Create a New Category of Data for Businesses to Manage

Technologies that take existing content and repurpose and recombine it to create new content are poised for an explosion. Gartner predicts that Generative IT will grow from creating 1% of all data today, to 10% of all data in the next three-and-a-half years. But this will create a whole new category of data for businesses to manage and protect. Setting in place the right classification tools to ensure that its lifecycle is managed and that it is stored in a compliant way will be critical to the early success of these projects. Otherwise, this could become the dark data of the future.”

Bill Richter, CEO at Qumulo

Big Enterprise File Data Workloads Have Not “Lifted and Shifted” to the Cloud Yet, But They Will

“Big enterprise file data workloads have not “lifted and shifted” to the cloud yet, but they will. Large scale file workloads are the last workloads to move to the public cloud because they are complicated, can’t be easily refactored for object, and are mission-critical (hence must be moved with care). However, over the next 3 years, file workloads will move to the cloud en masse. Cloud mandates will push organizations to move those workloads as customers seek the elasticity, global reach, and advanced services available from cloud providers. Customers will start with disaster recovery and cloud DR as a way to get comfortable with lift and shift by building safe second copies of their data in the cloud, but from there they will expand to primary workloads.”

Michael Lauth, CEO at iXsystems

Continued Disruption of the Storage Market (Including Backup Storage) by Open-Source Software-Defined Alternatives as Users Seek Feature-Rich Storage at a Lower Cost Per TB

“Any storage system today must offer a dizzying array of features and capabilities. Some features, such as corruption prevention, data/snapshot efficiency, and write persistence in the face of power outages and hardware failures, have traditionally been restricted to proprietary enterprise storage solutions with vendor lock-in. Open enterprise storage software is dynamically changing this industry by dramatically lowering the cost of true enterprise-grade storage. Software technologies such as OpenZFS, Minio, Samba, Ceph, HDFS are mature and allowing radical changes in storage costs.”

There Will Be a Greater Demand for Scale-Out Storage with Both File and Object Capabilities

“The flexibility of scale-out storage will underpin a growing number of storage deployments in 2022, especially throughout small and medium-size enterprises as solutions become more affordable and easier to manage. It’s important that file or object workloads can be easily supported together as the application needs can change more quickly than infrastructure.”

Eric Bassier, Senior Director at Quantum

The Resurgence of Tape as a Critical Component of Cyber-Resilient Infrastructure

“According to a recent study by ESG Research of more than 300 IT and line of business executives, two out of five respondents reported that their organizations had experienced successful ransomware attacks. Even more startling is the fact that more than 80% had paid ransoms to retrieve their data.

And the data landscape is changing, with exponential growth in unstructured data that is at the core of digital transformation, AI and machine learning initiatives. This “new” data is what is driving businesses forward. It has unique requirements, must be kept for many years and decades, layering on new challenges around cyber-security and protection of this valuable data.

In 2022 and beyond, enterprises will shift more focus and investment toward building cyber-resilient infrastructure for this type of data – in other words building infrastructure with cyber-security in mind. Tape storage systems are a critical part of these cyber-resilient infrastructures, particularly for long term data storage. The world’s largest cloud providers now use tape at massive scale in their data centers, and enterprises are quickly adopting a similar approach. This is a new way to use tape, not the old paradigm – with both the use cases and architectures looking fundamentally different. Over the next few years, every enterprise and every organization that is generating large amounts of data will need to leverage these same architectures and practices.”

Don Boxley, CEO at DH2i

“In 2022, my first prediction is that the use of containers to help drive digital transformation will skyrocket. This will be particularly true for stateful containers for databases such as Microsoft SQL Server. This in turn will generate a hard production deployment requirement for database-level high availability (HA) and disaster recoverability (DR) in Kubernetes.

For medium and large enterprise organizations running SQL Server, database-level HA and DR with automatic failover has traditionally been provided by SQL Server Availability Groups (AGs) on bare metal and virtual machines (VMs) deployments. However, SQL Server AGs with automatic failover have not been supported in Kubernetes. My second prediction is that these organizations will say ‘enough is enough’ and seek a solution that overcomes this challenge.

My third prediction is that channel solutions providers and end customers will seek a solution that enables them to deploy stateful containers to create new and innovative applications while also improving operations with near-zero RTO to deliver better products and services more efficiently and at a lower cost. 

My fourth prediction is that many organizations will leverage such a solution even further to generate new revenue streams by building distributed Kubernetes AG clusters across availability zones/regions, resulting in hybrid cloud and multi-cloud environments which can rapidly adapt to changes in market conditions and consumer preferences.”

Surya Varanasi, CTO at StorCentric

“In 2022, in addition to employees, data will remain the most valuable asset of any commercial business, nonprofit or government agency. What will be new however in 2022, is that what we thought to be a temporary situation – that is the work, learn and shop from anywhere model, will become the globally accepted paradigm placing an increased focus and level of complexity on backing-up, securing and protecting data.

My next prediction is that ransomware and other malware attacks will continue to increase in severity and sophistication, which will drive the need to likewise increase the ferocity and innovation of our backup and DR solutions. It will become a virtual life or death (unless you are a medical organization, in which case it’s no longer ‘virtual’) situation requiring an Unbreakable Backup solution capable of creating an immutable copy of data that cannot be changed, encrypted or deleted. By doing this, users can be assured that their recovery of unaltered files will be fast and easy, so there’s no operations disruption nor any need to pay even one cent of ransom.”

JG Heithcock, General Manager at Retrospect, a StorCentric Company

“In 2022, many BUDR professionals will finally find themselves recovering from the virtual overnight shift they had to make at the start of the pandemic to support remote work and to protect their organizations from the exponential rise in cybercrime that continued into 2021, which included an onslaught of phishing, ransomware, false domain names, and other malware attacks.

Unfortunately, in 2022 cybercrime will continue its exponential rise due in large part to cryptocurrency’s ability to protect the anonymity of extortionists, ransomware as a service options, and a rise in unemployment from ‘The Great Resignation’ trend.

In 2022, the savviest BUDR professionals will already know what’s coming and will have set strategies and technologies in place to protect their organizations, employees, and customers. These strategies will start with a robust employee training program in cybercrime avoidance. The strategies will continue with a backup solution that supports data immutability – i.e., an inability for cybercriminals to delete, encrypt or lock data for a defined time period. And last but not least, the savviest BUDR professionals will have set a 3-2-1 backup plan that includes having at least three copies of data stored across multiple locations: the original, a first backup stored locally, and a second backup located offsite, preferably in an immutable format and/or at an air-gapped location.”

Timothy King
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