• United States



by Sejuti Das

How secure is your small business?

Mar 20, 20167 mins
3D Modeling ToolsAnalyticsAnti Malware

Ganesh Kuppuswamy Director of Arcserve India & SAARC region, offers his views and insights on what actions SMBs would be wise to take before the next disaster strikes. 

Every organization is vulnerable to disaster, and threats which can come in many forms. Organisations are vulnerable to weather, fires, power outages, computer viruses, data corruption, disk drive faults, and everyone’s favorite—human error. Downtime after a disaster or data loss event is kryptonite to business continuity, so it’s critical for companies to restore full operations and recover their data as quickly as possible.

Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) can be even more at risk for the damages that can occur from extended recovery time after a disaster. Limited IT budgets, immature infrastructures and fewer personnel can prevent SMBs from having complete backup and data recovery systems in the first place, leading to an extended downtime, irreparable financial and reputational damages etcetera.

So what can SMBs do to protect themselves? Ganesh Kuppuswamy Director of Arcserve India & SAARC region, shares his views and insights on what actions SMBs would be wise to take before the next disaster strikes.

What do you see as the largest gaps in data protection and recovery space today? And what do typical SMB organizations fail to consider in the recovery of their data?

The journey towards ensuring comprehensive and reliable data protection is fraught with complexity, expenses and often confusions. For decades, the high costs of complete data protection and recovery solutions put them largely out of the reach of small and medium sized organizations. Without a robust IT budget they are left with gaping holes in their business continuity plans.

Having talked to our customers and partners, we have constantly heard pain points such as different RTO and RPO goals, increasing complex environments with on-premises, off-premises, public, private or hybrid cloud; scalability to meet business growth demand; IT skills shortage to manage complex solutions; and not having enough IT budget to manage everything.

Clearly, IT complexity will continue to be the keyword in the current scenario and every organization will look for a solution. However, amongst the trends that dominated last year involved certain solutions like adoption of virtualization and comprehensive data protection solutions for hybrid environments in order to reduce costs, risk of data loss and complexity.

There have been advancements in data de-duplication to address the permanent issue of over-expanding data, or the removal of multiple copies of the same piece of data via algorithms that identify and eliminate redundancy. Cloud for data protection has become a more widely accepted method with significant advancements in network bandwidth and lower costs.

SMBs are well aware of the inevitable constraints that their size dictates—less capital, immature infrastructure and fewer personnel than the big corporations at the top of their industries. But these SMBs are more than capable of using these constraints to their favor.

How according to you, SMBs can protect their data despite of the unfavorable conditions?

Cloud-based back up and disaster recovery is growing in popularity for simple and powerful reasons. For many organizations, it’s making enterprise-level data protection possible for the first time. It is an affordable alternative to the traditional and costly data protection plan. Cloud-based solutions have lessened the need to create data center space and to buy and maintain expensive hardware, power and IT resources.

And because small businesses are adopting cloud-based solutions at a high rate, even faster than their enterprise-level or even medium-sized counterparts, they can suddenly manage data more efficiently than their bigger competitors.

Alongside it also offers business continuity which means recovery time in a data loss event or disaster could be significantly faster than their peers. It also provides them the competitive edge. Lower cost and centralized management of cloud-based solutions could help them keep overheads low, allowing small companies to pass the cost savings to their customers in the form of lower prices/ costs than their larger counterparts.

What are the key differences between serving the large enterprise market and the SMB market?

There are both differences and similarities.  In essence, with research and own experience of talking to customers and partners paints a very clear picture. Recovery time objectives and recovery point objectives are stringent across the board. In other words, organizations of every size have mission-critical applications and data today, and therefore significant exposures in case on unavailability of these systems, whatever the cause may be.

What is different in the SMB space is that there are technologies and investments that can be leveraged to maintain service levels and ensure the highest levels of data and system protection. In the enterprise space, solutions require expensive hardware and software to handle the deluge of data and their recoverability requirements. In contrast, SMBs can fully benefit from right-sized appliances and unified data protection software, combined with cloud connectivity and services.

What are the top five actions any SMB would be wise to take before the next disaster strikes?

A thorough and well-tested plan takes a large amount of preparation and testing and a careful combination of backup technologies. Understanding the details can mean the difference between a company leveraging emerging solutions to achieve complete protection, or remaining vulnerable despite their investment.

To take optimal advantage of the benefits of cloud-based data storage and recovery, SMBs should understand:

The numerous cloud-based consumption models—private, public or hybrid.The critical disaster recovery “triad” of technology, process and people—and how to achieve it.The “gotchas” to watch out for.The important differences between BaaS, RaaS, DRaaS.Preparing a DR Planning book that lists all the steps necessary for data recovery.

What are the essential elements of a complete data protection strategy?

The essential components for comprehensive data protection stem from business point of view. A quick check list would be: What are the mission-critical applications in my organization; how are these applications associated with data protection; have we conducted a thorough disaster recovery test, and is there a plan; what service level agreements will we need (recovery points and time); are the teams properly trained; have we measured and understood our primary risks; and how many different solutions are in place today.

Working with a backup and recovery specialist is a great start to prioritize key infrastructure adjustments, solution evaluations, selections and budget.

Kindly explain the disaster recovery “triad” solution?

Successful disaster recovery requires a combination of technology, process and people, and IT personnel must attend to each aspects in the event of data loss, and adding to the time needed to execute a complete and successful recovery.

Traditionally, to restore backup data from an off-site tape storage location, a manual process is required, but using a cloud-based model, where the technology changes from tape media to online disk, the process of copying the backup data to the off-site disk is an automated process and requires no manual handling of data.

The same holds true for data recall, but now with cloud solutions answer the triad by providing more reliable technology, simplifying processes, and reducing personnel time. These benefits equate to critical time savings in the data recovery process.

What are the benefits of a cloud-based backup and disaster recovery?

Cloud adoption has grown and become a more widely accepted and established method of data protection and disaster recovery. Significant advancements in network bandwidth and lower costs have made it a realistic data protection option for organizations of all size. Challenges ranging from the use of multiple point solutions to strained resources will underscore a fundamental shift toward more measurability and a keen focus on recovery.

As a result, the rise of cloud-based enterprise applications will be driven by the need to protect cloud-based enterprise data—backup and recovery solutions will adopt new features to protect cloud-based applications for long-term retention and compliance requirements of the organization.

Depending on your needs, different cloud-based disaster recovery solutions are available. BaaS—a complete backup to the cloud; RaaS or a hybrid backup to the cloud; and DRaaS, which is a full disaster recovery in the cloud.

The net result is a full service disaster backup and recovery solution that performs as a secondary data center, with full compute elasticity to support your critical applications in the cloud, in the event your primary data center goes down due to a power outage or disaster.

DRaaS is truly the most exciting new model of cloud-based backup and recovery, but there’s much more to know than just spinning up virtual machines in the cloud from your backup images.