While the IT operations world is usually driven by innovations in technology alone, the past two years have seen external factors play a huge role in day-to-day IT activities.
Between the growth in cyberterrorism and the COVID pandemic, IT operations and IT Ops technology evolutions are moving at breakneck speeds. Employees are working offsite on personal or work devices in record numbers, introducing a new set of resources to keep safe and secure.
Compounding this asset proliferation challenge is cyberterrorists capitalizing on the growth of endpoints and COVID to penetrate enterprise architectures. Time-tested email phishing schemes now leverage fake CDC alerts or employer health and safety messages to target unsuspecting end users. This new dynamic heightens an already challenging cyberterrorism and ransomware situation.
2022 will be a year IT infrastructure professionals allocate time and resources to face these challenges head on. The adoption of technology that centralizes operations and introduces proactive problem identification tools are key steps needed to adapt to this new reality.
BACKUP MONITORING & DATA PROTECTION TRENDS FOR 2022
Cloud & SaaS Backup Technology Transformations Will Increase In Pace
Organizations are already transitioning to cloud infrastructures and SaaS data protection solutions. This transition will grow in pace, and we will see cloud-only infrastructures eventually become the norm.
Cloud and SaaS technologies offer benefits not available in on-prem systems, and directly respond to the inherent challenges of localized IT infrastructures. There’s no need to allocate capital funds to IT infrastructure build-outs, nor are multiple infrastructures in different locations needs for protection redundancies. These solutions safeguard organizations from technology obsolescence by putting the burden of innovation and upgrades directly on cloud and SaaS providers.
These operational and cost improvements have huge benefits on backup and data protection professionals. With data backed up to the cloud, team members have easier, centralized access to the entire backup environment. Further, cloud backups allow for faster recovery times in the event of a disaster or cyberattack. Cloud and SaaS infrastructures’ ability to scale with data growth also means backup professionals can stop worrying about running out of needed storage space.
Database Administrators Will Continue Evolving Into Database Managers
The classic role of a database administrator was to think about running backup jobs and keeping them secure. This is similar to storage administrators tasked with SAN switch management or array management. With the advent of cloud and Saas technologies, where third parties are responsible for managing these infrastructures, these hyper-tactical activities will be unnecessary. Instead, classic administrator roles will evolve into broader management and oversight roles.
Backup professionals’ success will be driven by optimized approaches managing complex environments, implementing streamlined workflows, and introducing proactive methods to get ahead of data health issues. The role of protecting data won’t go away! Rather, it’s the mindset and delivery that will evolve.
Faster Adoption Of Data Snapshots…And The Need To Backup Up Snapshots
Snapshots will become a greater part of data protection operations.
Snapshots offer a “picture” of your system at a point in time. Compared to a backup, they require far less data loads to produce and encompass a wider range of resources including files, software, and system settings. New snapshots quickly overwrite older ones and therefore allow users to revert to extremely recent server versions. In essence, they shorten backup windows, a valuable feature if you have a lot of updates on your system.
However, snapshots are usually stored in the same location as the original data. Also, they do not get stored long-term nor do they have checks in place for corruption or errors. As a result, they are not a standalone solution. Instead, they work hand-in-hand with traditional backups to decrease RPOs and RTOs while keeping data secure from bad actors. Teams get faster data recoverability while still meeting compliance and retention regulations.
Endpoint Monitoring & Protection Will Become the Norm
The number of cyberattacks isn’t just on the rise. So is their ability to extort millions of dollars from organizations across the globe. Many of these attacks start at endpoints, the PCs, workstations, smartphones, or tablets used by employees to connect into their organizations’ IT systems.
While the COVID crises led to more endpoints than ever before being used for work purposes, the confidence in antivirus software protecting these devices is lower than ever. A recent study from the Ponemon Institute surveying IT security professionals reported antivirus products missing 60% of cyberattacks. These professionals also cited high numbers of false positives and alerts as additional reasons behind their eroding confidence in antivirus products.
As organizations continue standardizing work-from-home protocols, they will need comprehensive, centralized solutions to monitor endpoint security and endpoint backup protections. Organizations adopting more holistic endpoint monitoring will be better equipped to safeguard their broader infrastructures from cyberattacks.
Adoption Of Proactive Monitoring For In-Progress Cyber Attacks
As we sadly accept that no IT infrastructure is impenetrable from cyberattacks, we’re also seeing a concerning fact about finding the attack in the first place. Data published by IBM Security shows that it takes organizations an average of 196 days to identify a data breach. That is a lot of time for cybercriminals to enter systems and steal or encrypt data for ransom.
Proactive cybersecurity monitoring to identify active cyberattacks will become the norm. This is monitoring that looks for unusual data patterns — unexpected file size growth or decline, the deletion of legacy or historical files — and brings it to data protection professionals’ attention. While this type of monitoring may not keep data 100% protected from cybercriminals, it affords organizations the chance to get ahead of bad actors before material amounts of data are stolen.
Introduction Of AI To Pinpoint Data Protection Issues
Machine learning powered by AI technology will be adopted at faster rates than ever before to get ahead of needle-in-a-haystack issues that no amount of manual intervention would uncover…or uncover in a reasonable amount of time.
This encompasses a broad set of tools that use AI to automate common IT operations tasks, detect problems when they occur, and identify unusual patterns in IT activity that warrant additional attention. In the context of the data protection space, this will likely mean using AI technology to recognize unusual patterns in storage or backup activity that could point to operational issues or, more concerningly, in-progress cyberattacks.
AIOps will enable backup managers to continue making the transition from tactical doers to strategic monitors. As a tool to improve holistic oversight of complex systems, AIOps will empower them with another way to optimize operations and get ahead of data protection issues.