Is Backup Dead? It’s the End of Backup and the Dawn of a New Era

Is Backup Dead?

This is part of Solutions Review’s Premium Content Series, a collection of contributed columns written by industry experts in maturing software categories. In this submission, CTERA CTO Aron Brand argues that today’s backup solutions are built on outdated standards which stop work in its tracks. Solutions Review editors then pose the question: is backup dead?

If I had my way, we would not have a World Backup Day. That’s because today’s backup solutions are built on an outdated standard of planned backup schedules and restore sessions that are lengthy and stop work in its tracks.

The backup and restore approach commonly in place today is laborious, prone to error, and can go down at the most inopportune times. Companies looking in their review mirrors often say that it was a ransomware attack that brought to light the weaknesses in their backup strategy. Often companies are surprised that once ransomware hits, the road back to recovery is complex and takes a great deal of time and effort to get back to business as usual.

Cyber-crime is everywhere today. We all know it and we all understand we must have policies and procedures and solutions in place to stave it off as much as possible. And as the attacks become more frequent, we see that legacy backup solutions are not enough, not by a longshot. The time is now for organizations to refocus away from backup and look for self-defending, intelligent storage solutions. This strategy revolves around data storage, specifically continuous data protection, instant disaster recovery, and proactive disaster prevention.

Protecting data around the clock

Let’s first look at the advantages of continuous data protection. Planned, scheduled backups, based on backup windows, are now being replaced by innovative storage solutions that provide continuous data protection in the cloud. Continuous data protection is a technique that continuously captures the changes in an organizations’ data, in real-time, and then directs them to an immutable, cloud-based repository. If a file is changed, it is the update that is captured and stored, immediately.

This contrasts with more traditional backup software that typically only reviews and captures a snapshot of modified files at daily intervals. Continuous data protection provides obvious benefits by providing granularity to allow an organization to recover data from any point in time. If ransomware damages an enterprise’s data, with continuous data protection in place, it can easily go back to a very recent previous version, and the amount of lost work is greatly minimized.

Restoring without the wait

Instant disaster recovery solutions can eliminate those long-running restore sessions, as they provide the ability to roll back data to any point in time without any perceived delay. Furthermore, they eliminate the need for systems to come offline to do so. It seems unlikely that large datasets comprising terabytes or petabytes of files can be instantly recovered from the cloud, but it is possible.  The recovery process takes place in the background, with users already accessing all of their data.

Whenever a user accesses a recovered portion, it is available immediately. When someone accesses unrecovered data, it is then streamed in real-time from the cloud. This is a completely transparent function as far as users as users are concerned and happens without any delay.

Proactive is the way

Finally, being proactive is always the best solution for an organization. Prevention is the best way to mitigate disaster. Next-generation storage solutions will be utilizing artificial intelligence and data-based insights to watch over data and notice incoming anomalies or potential threats. With such solutions, data is protected before ransomware infiltrates. With proactive disaster protection, organizations can quickly assess the scope of damaged or lost data, and easily remediate it.

Goodbye backup

As an industry, the time is long overdue to deliver storage solutions that support the requirements of the modern enterprise. The future of data storage lies in intelligent storage systems that proactively safeguard their data from ransomware, continuously protect data as it is changed, and keep organizations up and running in the face of disaster. It is the dawn of a new era.

Aron Brand
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