Guest Column | January 15, 2018

10 Questions: Is Your BDR Keeping Pace With Changing Technology?

By Gabe Gambill, Quorum


Every IT pro likes to talk about the changing technology landscape – it’s pretty much a cliché these days. What gets less attention is how radically the backup and disaster recovery world has changed in recent years. New threats and new demands for resiliency have changed expectations; new technologies have changed the potential for recovery and efficiency.

Because these evolving BDR dynamics don’t always get the spotlight, many teams out there aren’t prepared for 2018 demands. To health-check your backup and disaster recovery capabilities, answer these 10 questions to see how prepared you are to protect your data and your reputation in the New Year.

  1. Have you convinced your C Suite leaders of BDR importance?
    All too often leaders consider backup and disaster recovery a back-burner issue, until they run into a major disaster or outage. Even then they may simply blame staff instead of recognizing the need to invest in more advanced solutions. As an IT pro, you’ll need to convince your senior leadership of BDR’s importance by connecting it to data security, brand reputation and the successful execution of other business initiatives. Only then will you get the budget and organizational influence you need for an effective system that’s keeping up with the times.
  2. Are you using a unified solution?
    There’s no denying it any longer: using multiple vendors for backup and disaster recovery is detrimental to data protection. The complexity and resources needed to manage a collection of vendors and tools almost always leads to lost efficiencies and recovery delays. Teams are finding the fastest recovery and often the greatest savings come from upgrading to a unified solution.
  3. Are you able to focus on the business mission?
    Most IT teams are being asked to do more with less – fight off more cyberattacks and protect more data while having static budgets and smaller staff numbers. Chances are your CEO expects your team to devote their time and expertise toward manifesting the company initiatives – not on tedious administrative tasks. A BDR system that requires too much hand-holding and manual management is going to eat up too many staff hours to carry out the CEO’s wish list of business-critical projects.
  4. Can you offer 24/7 uptime?
    Yesterday’s legacy BDR tools were not built for today’s world, where users expect their apps and accounts to always be available – no matter what. If your team is still settling for long RTOs because that’s as good as it gets with your existing set-up, you’ll want to augment with a solution that can help you recover in just minutes.
  5. Has your small-to-medium business achieved enterprise-level BDR?
    If there’s a common refrain from small IT teams, it’s the belief that they aren’t ready for advanced BDR solutions. The brutal truth is that smaller IT teams can’t afford not to upgrade to modern BDR. Legacy solutions just can’t offer features like automated backup testing or deduplication that reduces storage and network bandwidth requirements – and without those benefits, teams will find their time and budget tied up in menial tasks and expensive requirements.
  6. Are you cloud-friendly?
    In addition to speedy recovery, cloud-based BDR solutions can deliver an additional layer of insurance beyond on-premise backups as well as a higher level of expertise. The right provider can handle upgrades and maintenance, and stronger storage, compute, and monitoring capabilities than you may be able to achieve alone. If you choose a Disaster Recovery as a Service (DRaaS) option, you can take BDR almost entirely off your plate and get back to more exciting projects.
  7. Are you secure?
    As an industry, we’ve collectively realized we can’t stop every threat or security incident. Our networks are too big, our applications are too numerous, and the criminals attacking us are too skilled. That’s why leaders are investing in secure BDR vendors, encrypted backups and faster recovery - it’s the smart move to protect data integrity and insure organizations against Ransomware attacksunencrypted backups are going to find themselves exposed when – not if – an attack happens.
  8. How fast is your performance?
    Recovery speed isn’t just about the actual minutes from failure to resurrection. If your replica environment is full of lags and delays compared to your production environment, your users will still complain, abandon transactions and saddle you with all the damage of regular downtime. By today’s yardstick, BDR is only successful when you can achieve the same performance and immediacy of your normal environment – or better.
  9. Are you able to scale?
    Your data has probably exploded in recent years. Almost every team’s data volume has. But if your backup and disaster recovery resources haven’t caught up, you may be running out of storage and capacity. Even without that pressure, you may struggle to accurately anticipate spikes and peak loads. By moving to a more elastic and scalable BDR solution, you pay only for the resources you need – without investing in additional hardware or expanding your data center footprint.
  10. Is your BDR solution meeting your retention policies?
    It wasn’t long ago that short term archiving - think 30-40 days – was considered a reasonable standard. Today’s data retention policies and compliance requirements typically demand much longer timeframes. Unfortunately most old-school BDR solutions are still maxing out at a month’s worth of storage, with only a menu of rigid archiving options. If you’re still struggling to quickly retrieve deleted files or retain only the data of your choosing instead of storing the entire server, it’s time to upgrade. Otherwise you’ll lose money storing irrelevant data while being unable to retrieve the data you do need.

We don’t know exactly yet what surprises 2018 will bring, but we do know data growth, cyberattacks and new technologies are on the horizon. To safeguard your organization, make sure your BDR ecosystem is ready for tomorrow’s demands. You’ll be ready for whatever challenges do arise, and be positioned for stronger and smarter performance.