IT infrastructure professionals continue facing rapid technology changes, in many cases hastened by the COVID pandemic and the growth in cyberterrorism.
Hybrid work dynamics mean supporting employees across a wide variety of devices. It also means introducing more resources that must be kept secure. This is no small feat given the proliferation of cyberterrorists capitalizing on this fragmentation
At the same time, IT operators are working to integrate new technologies or infrastructures that help minimize expenses and provide more flexibility for unique business needs.
It’s a challenging juggling act that will make 2023 a year where IT professionals face these issues head on. We’ll see shifts toward adopting technology and practices that introduce proactive problem identification and nimble infrastructures, all at the same time.
2023 Backup & Data Protection Trends
1. Cloud Backup Transformations Will Increase In Pace
While some organizations are well into migrating their backup and data protection infrastructures to the cloud, this transition will grow in pace, with cloud-only or multi-cloud environments becoming the norm. Bocada’s Backup Monitoring Trends Report shows this is already on most backup professionals’ radar. While 45% of backup operations are in the cloud today, personnel overseeing backup operations expect about two-thirds of their operations to move to the cloud within three years.
Cloud technologies are evolving to offer the same, if not better, benefits of traditional on-prem backup software without the classic on-prem challenges. Organizations can minimize the capex expenditures needed for complex IT infrastructures, a significant cost savings for those organizations that historically built infrastructures for data redundancy. Additionally, cloud backup infrastructures give teams easier, centralized access to the entire backup environment while allowing for faster data recovery in the event of a data restoration event.
The financial and operational benefits of migrating backup operations to the cloud make it an inevitable path for most organizations.
2. Cybersecurity & Ransomware Protection Becomes Part of Backup Operations
Cyberattacks aren’t just growing in frequency. So is their ability to extort significant sums of money from global organizations. On top of that, studies from IBM Security found that it takes an average of 196 days for organizations to identify data breaches. In essence, organizations should expect attacks to happen, and for them to likely happen under the radar. With this reality, it’s no surprise that 47% of individuals overseeing backup operations expect to incorporate backup monitoring within their organizations’ cybersecurity programs.
Compounding this challenge is the proliferation of device types. Between the growth of endpoint devices due to COVID, and the rise of IoT solutions which frequently fall under the radar when it comes to data protection, cybercriminals have more entry points than ever before.
This means making cybersecurity and ransomware monitoring part of daily backup operations. Forward-thinking backup organizations will leverage tools to proactively identify unusual backup activity patterns that are often signals of in-progress security breaches. In doing so, they will become yet another critical element within IT organizations to help protect data from cyber-attacks.
3. Backup Environment Heterogeneity Will Grow
Prior initiatives to consolidate technology and limit the number of software and hardware applications in use will come to an end as organizations accept the value of heterogeneity. It’s likely the reason 39% of individuals responsible for backup operations expect new initiatives in place to help them manage the expanding number of backup applications in their environments.
Venture capital funding of data protection and cybersecurity software will continue to grow, a response to not just specialized data protection needs but also the rise of cybercrime. This will afford organizations the opportunity to select applications that align with their specific needs without having to make compromises. As a result, organizations will eschew consolidation in favor of technological heterogeneity that gives them more flexibility and freedom to address specific data protection needs.
4. Backup Administrators Will Evolve Into Data Protection Operators
The move to cloud environments, coupled with technology heterogeneity, will require an evolution of the classic backup administrator role. Simply running backup jobs and ensuring those backups are successful won’t be enough. This once hyper-tactical role will morph into a broader data protection function.
They will come with expertise in optimizing complex environments and implementing streamlined operations across a variety of technologies. Further, they will be tasked with introducing proactive methods to get ahead of data protection holes and cybersecurity challenges. The back administrator role won’t disappear. Rather, the role with adapt into a more holistic data protection professional.
5. Data Protection Will Include AI Oversight
Machine learning powered AI will increasingly become a key tool to identify and solve data protection issues, helping close data protection holes far faster than human intervention alone.
This encompasses a broad set of capabilities like unusual backup or storage pattern detection or automated failure remediation path development. Over time AIOps will help professionals further streamline recurring activities while better pinpointing issues that warrant human intervention.
The emergence of AIOps will go together with the evolution of backup administrators into data protection operators. This new technology will support these professionals’ evolution into more strategic operators.