February 24, 2020

Complexity is a threat to data protection

Complexity is the enemy of data protection. The more systems you have in place to safeguard data, the more chances there is of something going wrong.

Yes, redundancy is important, but that should apply to your mission critical data and applications, not your data protection systems. If you want to avoid disruptions that come with data loss, malware, ransomware, human error and natural disaster, you need to simplify your data protection and reduce complexity as much as possible.

Data protection is complicated

It’s not easy to tackle complexity when you have so many different applications and systems to back up. Lines of businesses can easily spin up Software-as-a-Service (Saas) applications such as Microsoft Office 365 and Salesforce, and they often assume data is automatically backed up by the vendor. But there’s also physical and virtual machines to consider, multiple endpoints including servers, workstations and laptops, and remote workers and offices.

It’s not uncommon for organizations to incrementally add data protection as infrastructure sprawls and endpoints proliferate. Unfortunately, complexity tends to grow unintentionally because each backup process is done in a silo for each new system and device while neglecting the bigger picture.

By having multiple data protection system, you’re increasing your risk because there’s a bigger attack service for threats, malicious or not.

Complexity increases risk

Data protection is already difficult because your data is spread across so many different applications and environments. Having multiple systems to safeguard information compounds complexity and in turn raises risk of compliance and data breaches.

Just as all your business apps and other software tools each have different processes and maintenance requirements, so do data protection systems. The more backup solutions you have in place, there more work there is to configure, maintain and update them. You need people to be trained on each system and that means learning each nuance and user interface.

Verification of backups becomes a bigger task, too. As much as you want to have confidence in any data protection system you deploy, regularly double checking that all backups are working takes time and people, which is amplified when you have multiple solutions running, especially if they’re geographically dispersed. Not only do you need more people, you have more software licenses to manage and you may end up consuming more storage space than you need—this overprovisioning is an unnecessary expense.

More backup solutions not only mean you have more supporting storage infrastructure to manage, but there’s also maintenance work because you to keep on top of software patches, upgrades and hot fixes in response to the latest data threats. This puts a dent in your IT budget, and if you’re running multiple backup solutions with overlapping features and even backing up the same data to different locations, you’re not getting the best bang for buck.

While it’s not realistic to have a single solution to protect all data and applications, you need to have a strategy in place to streamline backup. There’s a balance to be struck—your best approach is to implement a select few data protection systems to meet user requirements. This will ensure your IT team is not overwhelmed by having to manage and maintain too many backup tools, which can lead to misconfigurations and ultimately, a data breach.

Even if you are able to whittle down the data protection systems and the resulting complexity, backup is not strategic IT activity, so it makes a lot of sense to see how a cloud backup provider can consolidate and maintain the right backup solutions for you.