James Phillips

Opinion piece:  By James Phillips, Territory Sales Manager and Metallic Leader in MEA, Commvault

With the rapid rate of cloud adoption, about 70% of CIOs globally currently have a cloud-first strategy, meaning that they prefer to have a cloud-based backup service rather than to own and operate software and hardware.

Flexera 2020 State of the Cloud Report states that 87% of enterprises today have a hybrid cloud strategy, which means that they use more than one cloud environment. At the same time, the majority of employees are now working from home and need access to different cloud applications, while not necessarily working from behind the corporate firewall.  

Unsurprisingly then, Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) applications have become prevalent over the past few years and are being adopted at a good pace. This has also seen the steady uptake of online backup services, or Backup-as-a-Service (BaaS) solutions.

With the rapidly accelerating move to the cloud, IDC predicts that 60% of enterprise data will reside at the ‘edge’ by 2023, with enterprises embracing edge computing and hybrid multi-cloud strategies. That means this data will essentially reside outside the corporate firewall, somewhere in a SaaS solution, a cloud or the end user’s device.

Liability remains with IT staff

In addition, an alarming 400% increase of cyberattacks since the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic have been reported, with ransomware seeing a rise of approximately 41%. Yet liability for customer and corporate data, even if it resides outside of the corporate firewall, remains the responsibility of IT staff.

Organisations often neglect to consider that while cloud vendors provide offsite infrastructure, they are not responsible for protecting a company’s SaaS data. Enterprises must, therefore, ensure that they partner with a technology provider with the right expertise and experience to implement a data backup and protection solution that fits the needs of the business.

A big misconception is that backup tools are provided by cloud vendors. While there are some basic tools available in the cloud, point in time recovery is not the responsibility of cloud vendors. As a result,  organisations are starting to look at protecting cloud workloads, as well as securing and being able to recover SaaS workloads through the deployment of third-party services and solutions.

Given the fact that most enterprises are now implementing a hybrid cloud strategy, some data management and storage vendors are developing solutions that cover many of the cloud workloads that organisations use, and that can be managed using a single user interface.

Mitigating against cyberthreats

Several of these technology providers are focusing on developing BaaS solutions that can be deployed in a matter of minutes and meet Service Level Agreement (SLA), retention and recovery requirements. Furthermore, they are much more secure than on-premises solutions in their ability to mitigate ransomware and cyberthreats.

Increasingly, technology vendors also provide storage as part of BaaS for many workloads, meaning it is easy to consume and easy to predict in terms of cost, as well as total cost of ownership. In the case of some workloads, customers have a choice to protect these using vendor-provided storage or customer-provided storage. This provides the flexibility for customers to choose their preferred level of service.

The right BaaS solution also supports hybrid workloads, including virtual and physical machines and even legacy applications that are still installed on-premises. These hybrid workloads are supported by the concept of a gateway. A gateway allows the customer to have an on-premises copy of their workloads for immediate recovery, as well as a cloud copy, whether located in the customer’s choice of public cloud or in vendor-provided redundant cloud storage.

Security remains top priority

However, security remains the number one consideration for most enterprises. When choosing a BaaS solution, or even a SaaS solution, organisations must consider whether it is secure and whether they can trust it.

By providing a SaaS solution that is isolated, a technology provider can deliver BaaS as a service on a completely isolated data plane with a zero-trust access control, multifactor authentication, and immutable data backups, thus guaranteeing that a customer’s data will be recoverable.

Increasingly, many customers are choosing to deploy BaaS solutions and IDC predicts that, by 2023, more than 60% of data protection will be rendered as a service, rather than as an on-premises solution.  It is up to data management providers to deliver a simple, cost-effective, mobile and nimble solution that provides the data security, compliance and governance needed by enterprises.

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